Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Torch

I must admit, the Olympics don't interest me a whole lot. When the Olympics are on TV, and even though they're in Canada, I probably won't watch any. Unless there's road biking of course!

I guess the Torch Run is a promotional thing to create interest and hype and I'm good with that.

My wife came running into the house this morning at 8 o'clock. I was still in bed and she says "the torch is coming down the street right now - get up!"

So, I pulled on the clothes lying on the floor, jumped into my winter boots and went out to the road - and about one minute later, a young girl, doing a slow jog, was carrying the torch.

I thought there would be hundreds of people in a crazy fanfare but it was very calm.

I'm glad I saw it. When the Torch comes to your town, it's sort of like bringing a piece of the Olympics to you. And there's a sense of Canadian pride in the whole revelry.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll spend ten bucks and buy some red mittens.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wasting My Day

Yesterrday Pastor Wayne talked about the trapeze artist, who jumps into the air, with his feet wrapped around the bar as he swings to the other side of the tent, waiting for the catcher to catch him. The "flyer" needs "the catcher". He trusts the catcher.

God gives us gifts and talents or whatever you wanna call them to get the job done. But Wayne says, "if we go beyond our gifts and talents, we're in a place where we're the "flyer" and we trust the "catcher" to catch us.

The time it takes for the jumper to jump until he is caught is mere seconds, but the mental wait could be much longer.

It's like waiting for God. It's so hard to wait. Wait for our diseases to be healed or the relationship to be restored or the money to come in. We do what we can do in our power and trust God to do the rest.

I found myself in church thinking three things.

Depression - when is he gonna heal me. I have no motivation to do something new, or even get out of bed.

Faith - The more I learn the more questions I have. I ask my Christian friends for their answers, which are seldom satisfying. Leaving me with more questions and feeling alone in my faith.

What's next? At LIFE? In my life? Is God going to ask me to jump and I'll be afraid he won't catch me?

I feel unsettled. I wonder, wait and waste my days - waiting. Today, I feel useless. Today sucks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chocolates For The Dog

We got our silver Christmas Tree up and decorated but I think this is the last year - it's on it's last legs.

When I was a kid, my parents put up the Christmas tree and each day there would be a couple more presents added around the base. I mean there were hundreds of presents. By Christian eve there was close to a million! Sure seemed that way - I was just a kid!

Now, my wife is "Christmas crazy". She plays Christmas CDs at home and in the car. I have to pull out the cd and turn the "radio" back on quite frequently! Everything in our house is Christmas-related. All the nicknacks are in the spare room to make room for Santa and wreathes.

I recall one Christmas, many years ago, with our dog Moffat. My wife thoughtfully wrapped a box of maraschino cherry chocolates for me and put the wrapped gift under the tree. Mmmm my favourite! Well apparently they were Moffat's favourite too because when we got home from work that day, the wrapping was all over the living room and the box was devoured - there were chocolates were all over the floor- along with a lot of dog vomit.

Lesson to all: don't leave food gifts under the tree if you have pets!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wall-To-Wall Christmas Music

LIFE 100.3 is wall-to-wall Christmas all week so we'll hear lots of chimes and sleigh bells to remind us of this season that focuses on the birth of the Lord, family and friends, turkey and presents.

"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by All Star United came out a compilation CD "Happy CHristmas Volume 2". There's also a killer version of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" that you gotta hear to believe! Here's a reason to not judge a record by its chessy cover!

One of my favourite Christmas carols is by Relient K - "The 12 Days Of Christmas". The same carol we all know off by heart but Relient K has recharged it with exciting power chords in just the right places!

Admittedly some Christmas songs are just plain cheesy. I think that's only because they're out of date. Probably in their day, they were full of life. But, many artists have put their own personality into those Christmas standards, and that makes the old carols sound fresh.

"Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" either by Anberlin or U2 would be near the top of my list. "Hot Christmas" came out in 1992 by Eric Champion. You won't find it in the stores, not even in the discount bin, but you can still order it on line. I think he named it "Hot Christmas" because he lives in Florida. Eric's probably never seen snow!

This year To Tell released "Here Comes Christmas" - no album, just the single release you can get thru iTunes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Worth Reading

I got an early Christmas present from a co-worker - "Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl" by N.D. Wilson. I’m not sure what this is about but the person who gave it to me, knows me well, so I trust there is some meat in here that I need to hear.

Another book I just bought for myself - "Comeback 2.0" - of course it is about Lance Armstrong. It’s more of a pictoral hardcover with detailed captions. The photos are amazing. And once again I see that Lance is more than a bike rider and a survivor of cancer - he is a superstar. He lives in a different world than I. Which will make this book part fantasy, except for the bike!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scott Jackson - The Weapon

Well, I’m up for something new.

LIFE’s producer Tim Van Dyk, invited me to his workout gym that specializes in self-defense. For months he’s been nagging me, shadow boxing in the hall of LIFE, pretending to knee people in places that you wouldn’t want to be kneed.
Appealing huh? Obviously Tim is a Krav disciple.

It’s called Krav Maga. Their website says "You may be human, but are you - a weapon"? Haha! A

Well I checked in, waiting to see how many punks would be there half my age, getting a kick out of me. Get it - kick out of me? Ya, well we did a short floor workout of running and crunches and push-ups, then got into the actual self-defense fighting system for the Israeli Defense Forces.

The instructor said, "this is not boxing, or MMA, or UFC. This is street fighting. It’s not about courtesy and there are no rules." Huh, no rules?
My partner was Shane - a 20-year old tank of a kid who works with the OPP.

For one routine, I held a pad against my chest while Shane pelted me with jabs for a minute, absorbed by the pad. Then I held the pad down, a little lower than my crotch, and with brutal force Shane brought a kick up toward the pad. (Very blessed to have the pad in position.) The last technique taught us how to remove an attacker who grabs you by the throat.

An hour of sweat, a sore neck and thankfully no broken bones. But ya, I think I’d go back.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brett Baird Soon To Produce Relient K

I thrilled to hear that my son Brett has graduated from his course in Nashville. Whoo Hoo!

He has been attending SAE in the audio engineering course. What that means is - he’ll be producing CDs and giving Mark Lee Townsend a run for his money! Haha!

According to Brett’s wife Gretyl, "people at the school apparently think he's going to make it because as you can see in the pic he won the award, "Most likely to be like Alan Shacklock". Alan was one of his teachers. He's a producer, composer, musician, has received three grammy nominations, and has produced at Abbey Rd. Pretty cool. The teacher always told the class that he wants them to exceed his success. For the class to give him this award I feel like it really shows that he wants this."

I gotta be a proud Dad. Brett told me that Alan would tell the class some classic recording stories like the time he set up mics and cables at Abbey Road for the Beatles. Gasp! I like those stories.
Congrats Brett!
I miss Nashvegas.
I miss the Gulch! I wanna call the Icon home!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Musical Chairs - Great Day!

Saturday, the LIFE 100.3 contestants met at the Bayfield Mall for a massive game of musical chairs. You know how it works - everyone walks around the rows of chairs, we have less chairs than people - the person on the last chair is the winner. Our winner won a trip to Jamaica, all inclusive - mmmm. Sounds good.

As the Station Manager, it’s so cool to stand in the audience and watch the Mighty LIFE team in action, doing their parts. Everyone knows them so well.
The "Jet To Jamaica". Great contest!
But wait til you see what we do next!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


A snowy Thursday.

Thinking About - God giving me new vision; first Christmas without Mom and Brett
Listening To - "Halfway Gone" by Lifehouse and "Rain" by Creed
Reading - Nothing. Too bored. Can’t focus.
Praying about - My Dad’s life without my Mom

Wishing the sun would come out.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Blind Side

Saw another good movie - "The Blind Side" - starring Sandra Bullock. She plays a Christian woman who takes in a street kid, feeds and clothes him and inspires him to become a talented high school football player.

I love sports movies that motivate character. But it’s not really a movie about sports - it’s about bad situations that turn positive through Godly characters. And as the reviewer from "Focus On The Family" said, you’ll leave the theatre smiling.
I think the last Sandra Bullock movie that I liked was "Speed" and that was years ago. She really climbs into this character.

I’m not sure if this would be "Pastor approved" but I’m sure it’s close. Check it out.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dare You To Move (part 2)

I had six amazing days back-to-back! And then...Sunday.

The entire week I felt great! Amazing! I had a friend in Nashville pour into me spiritually. I went to the gym everyday and worked out with two different people - punks trying to crush me. I went to church Wednesday night. I changed my meds. Had an amazing Board Of Directors meeting yesterday.

Not to mention, last week on-air I've felt like 125%, everyday. (Very unusual)

Then came Sunday. Today. Our church dinner is tonight (Sunday). We had planned to skip the usual morning service because two trips to Alliston is a bit crazy so we prepared for the drive tonight for dinner and service.

But this morning I was lying in bed, feeling unmotivated. 9am. Didn't feel depressed but didn't feel like getting up. The sun was pouring through the window but it wasn't enough to lure me out of bed. I put my iPod on and listened to some soft Christian hits. Back to sleep and woke up and 11. Pushed repeat. I could hear Janice downstairs setting up the Christmas tree and I went back to slumber with "slumber Christian hits". Woke up 2 and as I contemplated blowing off the rest of the day, Switchfoot played in my ears.

"Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go? Salvation is here"

Then -

"I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor"

Enough!!! I got up. I felt great! Got dressed and ready for church Christmas dinner!

Hey "spirit of depression - you can bite me!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mom...I Miss You

Thinking about my Mom who passed away last month. It's weird to think of my Mom being dead. (I believe she's alive with Jesus, and only dead in my world.)

I visited my Dad last week at the retirement home. Mom, of course, wasn't there. He must be so lonely, seeing all the photos and nicknacks that remind him of her.

(I know this isn't the most flattering photo of my Mom, but it the one that reminds me of her most recent days.)

In the retirement home I swear I could hear Mom's voice say "Scott do you want a Coke?" She always had a cold coke ready for me. Imagining her voice I froze in my footsteps. I couldn't move. I started to cry. I looked over at the couch where she always sits - and she wasn't there. Just the space where she used to sit.

Mom always gave me a dog cookie to take home to Callie. No cookies today.

Dad and I went to play pool. Mom always watched the game from the side. The chair was empty.

No asking, "So how are Brett and Crystal doing?"

She's gone.

And while her passing was not a surprise, what is surprising me is the overwhelming feeling that .... she's gone ... and she's not coming back. Not even to say "good-bye".

I can't imagine how my Dad must feel.

I don't think I can write anymore right now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Last night I went to the gym with a 20 year old punk. We were on "his routine". I nearly died. But - ahem - I kept up! Haha!

Today - a bit sore.

No pain, no gain, right? R i g h t ???

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

American Thanksgiving

Spent Thanksgiving in Nashville with our son Brett and his wife Gretyl. The "big American dinner" was held at Dianne's house - Dianne is a music publicist and she puts on mega- thanksgiving meals and I've come to believe that my American Christian friends express their gratitude in a bigger way that we do in Canada, where it is just a day off work. Dianne brought in a table for 20 people and a extraordinary buffet that went on for ever!

A couple of bands were dining across from me so as expected we all gabbed about the music business and getting songs on the radio - how very Nashville! It was very social and lots of business!

The singer of "Onset of Demise" is Leif Macaulay. Leif has some tasty tattoos - two sleeves. Here we are comparing my puny ink blotch to his dazzling exhibit. After dinner Leif and the boys drove back to Allentown, PA from Nashvegas.

Matt Rogers was another guest. Matt has started his own record label. Matt's all about business and he's absorbed a ton of industry connections since I last saw him in 1997. I believe he has 7 bands on his label, all funded by him. (He says his stocks paid off! Haha!)

Meanwhile back "In The Gulch" condo, Brett and I had some father/son time. Brett is taking an audio engineering course that teaches him how to record bands, select the right mic, add effects, mix and produce. Somewhere inside me is a passion for working with bands either directly as a manager or in-directly so I guess you could say that Brett really schooled me on audio techniques.

Later that night, Brett and I headed off the to the famed "Rocketown" - a Christian nightclub and skatepark owned by Michael W. Smith. This is "the place" to play if you're in a band. There's three stages of varying sizes. This night we were in the dark dungeon below the big stage where we discovered some really loud, young bands.

Ah Nashvegas. I miss you lots. Yes, I'm "ready to call Icon home".

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shut Up And Fly

Flying back from Nashville last nite. Good flight - thanks for asking. But what is really making me crazy when I travel by plane is all the chatter over the PA. From the second you get on, for the next 15 minutes they talk and talk and I just want to relax and throw on my ipod.

You know what I mean?

First they tell you how to put on a seat belt. Like why? Everyone knows how to put on a seat belt. Everyone has flown. We get it. For anyone who hasn't flown before, I'm sure the person next to them can show them how to strap in.

Then they show you the oxygen mask - just incase the cabin pressure bonks out. What are the chances of that? Is it a strong possibility?

Then they tell you about the illuminated light strip on the floor in case we go down and the lights aren't working.

And then the floatation device.

And then - the emergency exit that you're sitting next to. I really don't want to be the one who says "ok, we're pulling open the emergency hatch! Hold on to your hats!"

And then, after all that chatter - they do it ALL OVER AGAIN in another language.

Good grief. If the plane is going to crash, we're all gonna pray. Nobody's thinking about the instructions.

When I give my friend a lift in the car, I don't give them a list - seatbelt, airbags, directions for the radio, the heater, the blue tooth - check check. And thanks goodness I only speak one language!

Airplanes. Great to fly. But please, shut up. Let me enjoy the flight - while they little kid sitting behind me wails.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Day With A Bike

Yesterday I got a "bonus ride". Ya! After church, the sky was blue, the temp was (almost) warm. So I bundled up and hit the road.

I have a biking jacket that is wind proof, rain proof and I think resistant to bullets and all I need is a t-shirt under it and I'm cooking. A plastic pair of windpants and a toque. That's it.

The ride was short - 25km to Shanty Bay. But I always say, "a day with a bike ride is better than a day without a bike ride".


Friday, November 20, 2009

Scott's Jukebox

I'm doing a new feature on the radio called "Scott's Jukebox". Basically, it's me, picking one of my favourite songs and telling a personal story about the song.

Like, today I played "Sanctuary" by Kevin Max, and I happened to mention that he's "the Michael Jackson of Christian music" because he's weird. I think he tries to be weird. He likes the attention. Well whether he does or not, he's got an amazing voice. Since this was a bit on the radio I didn't bother to mention that during his performance he pretended to urinate on the back wall of the stage. What an idiot.

The other day I played "Every Moment" by Degarmo and Key. I saw their farewell tour in 1993 and it was fun. I realize I missed their best days, but at least I got to see them before the break- up. Then, two years ago, I was in Nashville and got a private invitation to see the D&K reunion. I was so excited! And - awwwww - what a yawnfest. Eddie and Dana barely spoke to each other. I don't think Dana broke a sweat. So sad. Two classic musicians, together and again, with a catalogue of hits - and not caring.

Also this week I featured a song by Relient K - "Sadie Hawkins Dance". Not exactly a spiritual song but, so what. Not every song has to be about Jesus does it? I told this story of how my friend in Barrie booked Relient K for a concert in his backyard. The mosquitoes were the size of a Buick, chomping massive bites out of everyone - the audience (of 40 people) and the band on stage! Matt Thiessen was complaining about the mosquitoes, putting a damper on the show. My first time seeing Relient K was a let down. I'm glad I've seen them since coz they really are amazing. I love how Matt Thiessen writes fun songs that are about forgiveness and humility and dependance on God. Good themes. Good songwriting.

I'm liking this feature.

I hope you'll tune in Monday at 10:45. I'm playing Guardian! LIFE 100.3. Ya man.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Don't Care

I'm confused.
I'm unhappy.
I'm unfocused.
It's raining.
I feel blah.
I don't care.
I feel burdened and I don't know what from.
I think Jesus is taking a day off from listening to me whine.
Hope you're having a better day than me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kris Allen CD Release

Kris Allen's first post-American Idol album was released yesterday.

I've been listening to his version of "God Of This City" that he recorded with his church friends before Idol even started. And I downloaded a couple of his Idol performances from iTunes - "Come Together" is the old Beatles song - love playing drums along with Kris singing.

The new CD is just named "Kris Allen". Is it Christian? Honestly, I'm a little tired of that question. What does it mean? If he sings five spiritual songs and five non-spiritual songs, is it a Christian album? Beats me.

All I know is he's a Christian. And I like to think that we support other believers' ministries, especially when they purposefully reach out to unbelievers.

Well, Kris co-wrote eight of the songs. He does a cover of "Heartless" by Kanye West. Kris puts some soul into it, where in the original it's more of a thug song.

The first single is "Live Like We're Dying." It's not original either. It was recorded by The Script - an Irish band - but when Kris sings it, knowing he's a Christian, it has a positive, encouraging message. We're playing it about every five minutes on LIFE! Well, not quite.

The rest of the CD is a pop/rock/soulish CD - a bit of everything but not so much that you feel like it lacks direction. Since I'm still a "buy the CD" kind of guy, I read the liner notes before listening to the song, and see that Kris says "Thank you God for always being the same. I know I can always count on You."

Have you heard it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen

It's been two weeks since my Mom passed away. Up until yesterday I didn't grieve her passing. Mom lived 93 years - a full life - and as I watched her health decline over the last month in the hospital, the end was not a surprise, but a relief.

I was in Dad's retirement condo yesterday. He showed me how he re-arranged their bedroom so it reminded him of Mom. All Mom's favourite teddy bears were sitting on the pillow of the bed. Older family pictures were re-framed sitting around the room. A picture of me about age 9 with my brother, Mom and Dad. The leopard skin bedspread Mom made was folded neatly on the bed.
The tears began to squirt out.

I took Dad for a car ride and dropped him off at his retirement home and waved goodbye. And as I drove out of the parking lot, I noticed Dad didn't go inside. What's he doing? Instead he walked out to the road to the sidewalk and began a short walk. I watched him in my rear view mirror and I could only see his back as he walked away.

I wonder what he was thinking.

It was the saddest thing I'd ever seen. Everyday Mom and Dad would take walks together. Now my Dad was taking an afternoon walk without his lifelong partner. She's gone. Now it's just him. Alone to think about what was, and how he will get through it.

I think that's enough for now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Dark Place - A Hopeful Song

Not feeling great today. My friend says I whine and complain too much. He's right. Nobody wants to hear about depression.

But who can I talk to about the dark days, the endless nights when you feel like you don't want to wake up. Sometimes it feels like there is no hope. I know there is hope in Jesus, but He doesn't seem to be taking this disease away. Why?

Part of depression is the fantasies in your mind and if you could make those fantasies come true, you could end the pain.

Today on the radio I'm playing a song by the Sidewalk Prophets. Had I been gifted as a songwriter this is the song I would have written.

Three in the morning,
And I'm still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I've already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My iPod

I love radio. But there are a couple of occasions that I will listen to my iPod.

Going to sleep. I have a playlist that is instrumental worship songs. Very low key and soft. I turn my iPod volume down to the minimum and let the songs wash over me.

I also have a "Soft Christian Playlist". I call it "EZ Rock for Christians". This is the music you would not expect to be on my list.

At the gym. My iPod is better than any gym partner. Partners talk too much. The music keeps me moving. I have a couple of playlists - new and old. Although on occasion I will listen to praise and worship at the gym while the other guys are listening to Metallica! Haha!

This week, my "hot gym songs" are:

Antidote - B. Reith
Mock The Music - Children 18:3
Rain - Creed
Shadows - David Crowder
This Too Shall Pass - The Fold
Dance Or Die - Family Force 5
A Map To The End of The World - Light Division
Down And Out - HK and To Tell
Sometimes - Matt Brouwer
Unknown Caller - U2
New Skeptic - The Fold
Rascal - Gretyl Baird
Come Together - Kris Allen
My Sweet Escape - Run Kid Run

What's in your iPod?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Karaoke Superstar - Super Night!

(Ben Davy, Ed, Levi, me, Miranda (winner), Aleysia and Cherie - the five finalists at LIFE's Karaoke Superstar Finales last night!)

As I pulled into the Opera House parking lot about 6:30, the LIFE Street Team tent was lighting up Mississauga Street. People were squeezing onto the main floor, filling the entire orchestra section. The performers brought their families, their church friends, their fans. A venue full of cheerleaders! Everyone came!

As I took my chair at the judge's table, a cold Coke was waiting for me. Ahhh. I knew it would be a great night!

After a reminiscent slide show of Karaoke Superstar auditions and trivia, Ben Davy introduced Aleysia who came out first to sing a Natalie Grant song. Next it was Levi. Levi's got that "I-just- fell-out-of-bed" kind of "How To Lose A Life" sound. A very cool tone. I can hear him recording songs for LIFE.

Ed was next to sing a Nicole C. Mullen song. "Redeemer" - a big song. But Ed's got a big voice. Unfortunately, it was an off night for Ed. I've seen him sing many times before - he's a pro performer, but the magic wasn't there last night. Miranda was next, nailing a Natalie Grant song and Cherie wrapped it up with a note-for-note version of a Francesca Battistelli song.

Backstage during intermission Woody, me and our special guest judge from Atlanta John Waller compared notes and wrestled out our choices and the rationale for who deserved the Karaoke crown. Two of the three judges picked Miranda to win.

Great to have John Waller in town, singing "The Blessing" and "While I'm Waiting" from the "Fireproof" movie.

I hope you enjoyed the show. Any thoughts? Did you like the judges pick? Leave a comment.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Headphones Are Dead

Today I will hang up the headphones. No - not for good! Come on... I still have some stuff left in me.

My Optimus Nova 71's are at least ten years old, maybe more. I bought ‘em cheap. Cheap headphones - for a professional broadcaster? Ya. Let me tell you the story.

Back in the early days, at CKLC in Kingston, I bought an expensive pair of AKG 121's. They were awesome! Blocked out external sound. Great tone. And for a DJ, the sound and the volume have to be exactly perfect. I mean - exactly. If the volume isn't exactly the same every day, you don't feel right. If you have to use someone else's headphones - wow - that's the worst, because the tone is different from what you're used to. Which means the sound isn't perfect and your show feels "off".

I bought really expensive AKGs in 1978. A month later, the cord got wrapped around the chair leg and pulled the cable out of the headset. There was a short in the ear piece which, as you might guess, totally wrecks your show.

So, I bought another pair of AKGs. They lasted about a year. Same thing happened. Busted. So ever since, I've only bought cheap headphones, and settled for the "somewhat ok" tonal quality. The cheap ones lasted forever.

The Novas I am retiring today have been with me for over a decade. This week, after many songs have plowed through the earpieces, the right side shorted out. I bought a new pair at the Source for $45.

I know, I know - you get what you pay for. It's unusual that the cheap ones will probably last til my last show - I mean, the very last show.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Texting While Driving

I'm not sure about the hand-held cell phone law. I think it's a bit extreme. I mean, talking to the person sitting next to you can be more distracting than talking on the phone. Or changing CDs, or blowing your nose.

But I do agree that texting while driving is utterly ridiculous and I think it's an appropriate law. Texters (which I have done while driving) spend more time looking at the text message and keypad than watching the road where ittle kids and skateboards and really bad drivers can appear in front of you in the blink of an eye.

Today I watched a You Tube video about texting while driving. It's a recreation of an accident. It's bloody, just to warn you. But I bet you never text again after you see it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Burial Was Yesterday

Yesterday was the burial for my mom. Even saying those words sounds weird.

Because my Dad wanted no fanfare there was no service, no wake, no visitation. The burial was simply a ten minute gravesite memorial with a few words.

In attendance were me and Janice, my brother and his wife, their two daughters whom I have not seen for at least 10 years, AJ, Crystal, and of course, my Dad. It was raining a bit but that was ok.

My nieces read a condolence card sent to my Dad from his retirement home. They each read half, crying through most of it.

I read the eulogy.

AJ read Proverbs about a good wife and a good mom. My dad liked that.

My Dad dropped a velvet bag in the hole which contained her ashes, wedding ring and other jewelry. As we all walked to our cars I saw my Dad kneel at the hole in the ground and cry. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose your life-long partner - the person who enjoyed all the great moments of life with you - and then they leave you behind to continue your last few years, alone.

Yes, I do find it odd that I'm not grieving heavily at the loss of my Mom. I think I'm feeling more of a relief combined with God giving me strength. Or, perhaps, the reality has not hit me yet.

Thanks for your thoughts, emails, phone calls and flowers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Burial

Today is a special day for me. Today we put Mom's ashes in the grave. So, my wife and my brother are I are taking my Dad to the cemetery in Toronto. My mom was 93 so she had a great, long life.

For the last few years, I'd been thinking about the day she passes away - and how might I deal with that situation. How painful will it be for me? Will I get over it?

My wife and I were at a concert by Kathy Troccoli a few years ago and Kathy told us that when these big events happen, and you think you can't handle it, God gives you the strength to get thru. And I totally feel that way. It must be God because otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd be falling apart. I'm sure there will be a few tears, but I do feel strong.

Last year during Sharathon Mom and I shared a short moment alone in my office. We talked about LIFE 100.3, our mission and her thoughts. Mom told me "I know who my Lord and Saviour is" and that gave me immense peace knowing that Mom knew then that Jesus awaits us on the other side.

The burial is at 2pm today. I would appreciate your prayers and thoughts.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tattoo You

Tattoos are not addictive. I only have two.

My new one was designed by my friend Gideon Courtney and inked by Andrew Batten at Lucky Devil.

Tattoos are permanent.

People tell me "when you get older, your tattoo will look all blurry and saggy". Well, maybe if I got it when I was 20, but I'm older now for crying out loud! It won't have time to get blurry. And it won't get saggy if I stay in shape.

After I get age marks, and lose my hair, and get short and get ugly, I'm pretty sure a tattoo will be the least of my worries.

"But you may not care about it in a few years". Well, this tattoo is the Tree Of Life and inside are the initials of my wife (JB), daughter (CJM) and son (BJB). I'll still care about all three for a long time.

Besides, it makes me look tough at the gym. Hahaha!

Do you think I should have gotten a larger tattoo to fill the large space? (Joking!)

Next, I'm thinking of getting Matthew 7:21. You know the verse? "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven." I want the whole verse. I love that verse. It's a warning verse. I'm getting it on my left ribcage. It'll hurt like hell.

No, tattoos are not addictive. Hahaha!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mom Died

Mom died yesterday. She passed away after four weeks in hospital at RVH. A year ago she told me "I know who my Lord and Saviour is". I guess that's why I feel peace about losing my Mom. 93 years is along time. (Norma Baird)

I took this photo of Mom and Dad about a year ago. They both look so happy and comfortable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cell Law - It's Dumb

The new cell phone law became effective on Monday. It's now a $500 fine if you talk on the phone while you drive. People are madly buying a blue tooth or other device. Personally, I use an earphone plugged into my cell. No one can tell the difference.

There are a bunch of other things, that I think are worse than talking on the phone and driving,

I've made a list - The Top 10 things to do while you drive instead of talking on the cell phone

10 Browse thru your cd collection and change the cd.
9 Talk to the passenger.
8 Eat a donut and drink a coke.
7 Change the radio station back to LIFE 100.3.
6 Pick your teeth in the mirror. Or pick your nose if you need to.
5 Yell at your kids in the back seat.
4 Change the air conditioning, the heater, the back window defroster and the fan
3 Put on your make-up. But only if you're female.
2 Turn on the seat heater.
1 Roll the windows down so your dog can stick his head out.

All of these things are just as dangerous as talking on the phone while you drive. If you think a cell phone is distracting, wouldn't anything on my top 10 list also be distracting? I wonder if the ministry of legalism (?!) will outlaw any of these?

It's not a free country.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Two days in Calgary.

Hanging out with radio and artists. And my friend Ryan who works in secular radio.

At dinner, Ryan told me about the street evangelism he's involved in. Well, not involved. It actually is what makes Ryan tick. He isn't afraid to go to downtown Calgary, unload some Bibles and preach on the street.

And, he told me about door-to-door evangelism. I said, "You mean like knocking on someone's front door and talking about God?" "Ya man".

I said, "do you ever get people slammin' the door and saying, "no leave me alone". "Ya." He says he gets to share with about one in ten people he approaches.

Door to door. Wow! I guess Ryan is more bold about his faith than me.

Ryan and I headed off to Thursday night Bible Study, hosted by four young couples. Ryan parked the car on the street in the residential neighbourhood somewhere in northern Calgary. I noticed we were early for Bible study by a few minutes, and with the extra time...well I couldn't resist. I challenged him to "do it". (Door to door) He popped open his trunk which was loaded with Bibles and tracts and other evangelism stuff. He grabbed a pen and made a note of some opening questions and then - we did it.

We visited three homes. I wondered how the homeowners felt, seeing two strangers at their door, after dark, and me wearing a long, black jacket. I probably looked like Dylan Klebold. I wouldn't have opened the door!

The first two homeowners "didn't have time" for us. The third house was owned by a Christian so that visitation ended nicely. Well, at least we didn't get punched out.

Hmmm. I've considered myself to be an evangelist, or at least have an evangelist's heart. I'm not afraid to bring up "Jesus" in a conversation with non-church people, but going door-to-door is way beyond my comfort zone.

Ryan stretched me.

Then we went to Bible Study.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Calgary. It's GMA week. (Gospel Music Association)

Me and Steve Jones are hanging out with other radio people from SHINE-FM in Calgary and Edmonton for seminars and artist showcases. In the seminars we shared 75 ideas in 75 minutes of cool things we've done to make our stations buzz. It's a great list and we all have it.

Over lunch it was fun seeing old friends like Stephanie Israelson - our Karaoke Superstar winner in Season 3. She's since moved to New Brunswick so we haven't spoken much recently. She had lunch with us and we whined together about the stale bread and powdery lasagna.

New artist Chris Bray hung out as well and I'm really happy that our friendship is growing. He's a good performer and he understands about marketing his music and networking with other industry people. We connect well. His producer Andy Horrocks is always fun to hang out, mostly because he has great, crazy stories about recording sessions.

The highlight of the day was the performance of To Tell, featuring Zach Havens. Zach is my new discovery from London, introduced to me through Dale Elliott at GRACE-FM radio. Zach's songwriting is a pop-like, hit-based, Rocket Summer soundalike, which is unique because most rock performers don't rely on piano as the lead instrument.

I bailed on sticky lasagna to watch Zach showcase before judges in a private room. The pressure was on for him to muster up excitement for the one song on which he was being judged. He explained his vision for To Tell and the boys in the band. Then....BLAM! The music started. "Closer To You" kicked in - powerfully. It's hard to put into words what energy looks like but Zach has it, pounding the keyboard, groovin' and movin', laying down hooks and musical accents that feel soooo good I could barely stay in my seat. Then - it was over.

A good day at GMA.

And a better night at Bible Study. Just ask Ryan!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last Ride?

I think I rode my last bike ride of the season.

October has been pitiful. Less than 100km over three rides. A bit embarrassing. I'll blame it on the weather. And we all know what a crappy summer it was.

I think the worst part is finding the time. If the forecast is good, I'll aim to get out of the radio station by 2pm, which seldom happens and before I know it, it's nearly 4 o'clock before I click in my shoes. Still, even with the cool temperature it was a good ride. Triple layers of shirts and a toque kept me warm.

Most of my rides this year were solo. Janice joined me on some shorter rides to Shanty Bay or around the Bay to Minet's Point. Janice rides a European work-bike; I'm on a Fuji Pro road bike.

Last year was a record year for me in terms of mileage. I didn't have a goal this year so clocking in at 3,604 is still good. "Any day with a bike ride is better than a day without." Pass it on!

I guess I can look forward to the stationary bike at the gym. Ya. Swell.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Really Big Church

Yesterday I had lunch with Greg Neuman. He pastors "big church" in Barrie.

I like spending time with him because he's a visionary thinker. He thinks outside the church. And his thoughts turn into actions.

I wouldn't want to misquote Greg so I'll do it as best as I can - "God is big, so go big or go home." That applies to everything he does, all the time.

Yesterday he told me about this downtown ministry he and his big church team did in the summer. It was a one hour presentation for street people who probably wouldn't go near a church. There was rockin' worship music and a salvation message which resulted in 35 salvations. Wow! Greg hopes to make it a permanent weekly event and situate it in the heart of the nightclub district because "those are our people."

He told me about another project he's involved with in Rwanda where his team wants to minister, farm and provide solar panels.

He told me about the ongoing prayer that happens once a month inside city hall council chambers where anyone is invited to join for prayer.

Greg rallies his people together and plants the vision. He empowers them to carry it out. And most of all - he cares.

Greg, you inspire me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Ah Chooo!

That's been my week. Most of it. Kleenex, dristan and snot everywhere. Not a pretty sight. I guess that's the funny part.

Jen's fiance has been laid up with leg injuries and their wedding is only weeks away.

Steve Jones' mother-in-law passed away.

My mom is in hospital after a fall that broke her pelvis, hip, thumb, and she has Alzheimer.

It's given me time to reflect on a bunch of things, like priorities. Memories. Precious moments of time that I cannot get back.

Additionally, I've been in and out of my psychiatrist and psychologist offices for treatment of moderate depression. I would like to think I'm handing it better recently, but when it gets bad, it's really dark. Some days I can fake it on the air and push it through for the short 15-seconds that the show must go on. Other dark days, I just can't get to work.

Today I spoke at Glenwood Chapel in Port Carling - a super-supporting church for LIFE. They bless us ridiculously! WE love you guys! I think I spoke through the message with enthusiasm, but after that, I found myself sitting in the secretary's office, alone, in silence, waiting for things to disperse.

In the last two months there have been such a busy agenda of LIFE speaking engagements that I have not been to my home church once on a Sunday morning. Thankfully Pastor Wayne has made time for me on other days where I've asked him to pour into me, which he is very good at.

So here I am. Blogging. Thinking about what lies ahead. Emptying a box of Kleenex and thinking about tomorrow's show.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Picture In The Masthead

You asked ... so I’ll tell you.

The second photo on the left (above) was taken in 1998 in the studio of B101 in Barrie where I worked part-time as the weekend DJ, just filling time until LIFE was approved by the CRTC. At this point in time, the research was done and the application was at the CRTC waiting for approval.

What I find quite funny, is that in this picture, I am doing my show on B101 and as the songs played (8 in a row), I was composing various thoughts for LIFE 100.3 - promos, music lists and so on.

I had told B101 management that I had filed an application for a license. The Station Manager Tom Aikens laughed off my idea. Then came the CRTC hearing date. I got a phone call that day telling me I was no longer needed. I smiled. God is moving.

This photo reminds me of the days before LIFE 100.3. It was a hard time - not knowing my future. A humbling time - working for $9 an hour at B101 and living in my parent’s basement. But I anticipated LIFE and knew if we got the license, Barrie listeners would love it, just as Nashville listeners loved WAY.

Only a few months after this picture was taken, LIFE 100.3 was on the air.

Meantime, I’m excited about the semi-finals of Karaoke Superstar this Saturday 2pm at the Bayfield Mall in Barrie. (This photo is Levi denBok and Ed Seymour - both contestants from Wasaga Beach.)
See you there!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Light Division

The Light Division - new band from Hamilton. Last night they played held a CD release party for "Oh, So Close" in Stayner at the Missionary Church. It was great. And loud! I think they were louder than any KISS concert I've been to! I didn't think church PAs could blow that loud!

There were four bands prior to Light Division. Levi den Bok, who is a LIFE Karaoke semi- finalist, was on the bill with his band. This guy is obviously a worshipper. He loves the Lord. It's clear through his songs, his lyrics, and what he says on stage. It's refreshing to hear a young person who passionately loves Jesus and feel so comfortable about it. If Levi doesn't make it in music, my guess is he'll get into modeling. He's a good-looking guy. (Well, he is!)

Fire And Sound were next up. Three guys with a really full "wall of sound" sound, a bit like a Blink 182 or All American Rejects. When Tyler, Colin and Mickey they hit the stage, it just blew up! Tyler Chapman processed his vocals through an on-stage auto-tuner or vocoder - I'm not sure which - but his voice was compressed and phased making it, obviously pitch-perfect, but also really thick. It's a cool trick that isn't really new, since Cher started using it 1998 on "Believe". It's an effect saved for the studio but with Tyler using it live, it certainly made his vocals the hottest of the night.

Arriving late from Ottawa, after a 9-hour drive, through the rain, on a holiday weekend - gasp! - with no sound check, was Benefit Of A Doubt. These guys have done some good shows and are getting their name around thru a bit of radio play and some showcases. It was surprising, that a band of this caliber, would come so far as a support act. Nice work.

Lastly, The Light Division. My friend Shaun Gowman invited me to the show. So it was a personal mission as well as a Street Team event for LIFE 100.3. LD has a mini-cd with seven songs, two of which we play on LIFE - "Clockwork Magic" and "A Map To The End of the World". Both songs are spinning in my iPod while I'm at the gym. Unfortunately they lost a guitarist and they played their CD release party as a foursome. But still, this was exciting music. They reminded me of Anberlin both in music style and stage presence. Shaun is a monster on drums! And Brad van der Woerd is a class act behind the mic and on guitar and keyboard. He quickly mentioned his faith, enough for us to know he's a strong Christian performer and then let the music take over. I told Brad and Shaun that I found the music "exciting". Awesome night.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Surviving Training Camp

Hey to everyone at Trillium Resort and Spa in Port Sydney. Me, Steve Jones, Ben Davy, AJ, everyone on the LIFE staff - we had a training camp over the weekend. All the DJs, all the sales people, behind the scenes people, our wives (and husbands) - we all went up to Trillium. Had a guest speaker come - a radio guy. Chris Bray led us in worship yesterday.

Kaj Ballantyne from Harvest Bible Chapel in Huntsville shared a message during Sunday morning chapel. He talked about Jesus and the disciples in the boat when the storm came. Kaj gave us such a detailed verbal presentation that it was better than any video there might be! He was that good!

Good opportunity for our staff to hang out, away from the radio station, get to know each other on a different level. Learned that Ben Davy's wife is really good at charades. We played Family Feud - just like the TV show. We surveyed our LIFE staff and put the top 5 answers on the board. And after the games we got a little vision casting done - set goals for the new year. Got some good stuff planned, new contests and stuff.

Thanks to Trillium Resort - they looked after us real well. In fact, the staff were practically invisible all weekend - I mean that in a good way. They brought out the snacks and moved around tables without any distractions to us. So two thumbs up for Trillium resort.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Training Camp

Big weekend ahead. It's our training camp for LIFE staff.

It's not a retreat. Arrrrg! When you go on retreat you're "getting away". In this case, we're not getting away from anything. We're "going" away to a resort, but not to rest. Training Camp is just that - training, motivational, restoration, focus, setting goals. All that stuff that owners and managers love, but the staff hates.

I've tried to put together an agenda that, in the end, will have the entire staff in a rave! Guest speaker from WAY-FM, music with Chris Bray, chapel with Kaj Ballantyne of Harvest Bible Chapel. And lots of free time to walk, wander, kayak and hang. Lots of food. Cool chalet accommodations.

The book "Inside The Postal Bus" by Toronto cyclist Michael Barry (from Toronto) was my inspiration. Hopefully the LIFE staff feels the love.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


My friend tells me that God doesn't do miracles in these "last days". No miracles?

Most of my Christian friends constantly ask for God's intervention. We ask for healing of cancer, or money to meet our needs, or the restoration of a relationship or that a celebrity would discover God and make Jesus their Lord. Man, I ask for that stuff all the time.

But my friend says the major miracles aren't part of our culture. He says, God can do extraordinary things - He did before and the event was recorded in the Bible so that future generations would believe. And, he says, that's why big miracles don't happen today.

Am I wasting my prayers?

I don't ask God to do miracles to make me believe more. (Well, maybe once in a while!) But generally, I'm just asking God to intervene in my life because I've done all I can do - the rest needs to be supernatural or the situation won't change.

A few major events in my life have happened because of prayer. I'm convinced God was there. He acted and my prayer was answered.

I guess I'd love to see a major intervention in an aircraft that doesn't crash or a tsunami that abruptly ends - all by the hand of God. It would increase my faith. It'd hit CNN and the whole world would know. And for my friend, it would show him that God is active, today.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Karaoke - Audition Week

(photo of Ben Davy with Newmarket qualifiers Katherine Cooke and Robin Cowen)

The marathon week for Karaoke Superstar going city to city is underway!

Monday night we visited Heritage Place Mall in Owen Sound. We arrived at 5:30. Man was it quiet. Hardly any shoppers. Junky and Tony were nearly finished setting up the backdrop, the P.A and lights. We broke for a quick bite at Subway and our auditioners arrived.

In Owen Sound, one competitor didn't show up - guess he chickened out?! At the judges' table was me, along with Phil Johnston from After The Anthems and producer and former TFK guitarist Jamie Aplin. They all had great insight and advice for each performer. Jamie was checking his blackberry all night expecting to hear from his "any-minute-I'm-going-to -have-a- baby" wife. Fortunately, he didn't have to skip out early.

Newmarket was packed out. Two levels of fans watching the performers. Andy Taylor from Season 3 was judging with me, along with the owner of the Treasure House bookstore Bob Fitzgibbon. A neat advisory board - a radio guy, a retailer and an artist.

Last night we were in Huntsville. Again, packed out in the food court. Probably 100 people and standing room only. One contestant was a no-show; another was a walk-up. Only one guy performed! Hey guys - come on! Let's lay it down for the boys!

I've seen some stand-out performances already - an edgy Barlow Girl style and a Relient K style. I'm glad we have variety. It's going to be a great semifinal October 17.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Good Time

Last night, Trooper made their annual visit to Barrie. Always great to see my favourite band perform. You might know their songs "We're Here For A Good Time" or "Boys In The Bright White Sports Car". Canadian classic rock at its best.

Singer Ra McGuire (from White Rock - the fish and chips capital of the world) and guitarist Brian W. Smith (also from the Van area) are the founders and have been in the band for 42 years - I really admire a partnership that can last that long. Through all the touring, record company junk, airports, wow. Marriages are probably not as strong as these two guys.

The set list hasn't really changed over the last ten years. In fact, I can recite it to you. I can also recite Ra's song introductions. But here's the attraction - the showmanship and accuracy are dead on. Ra's voice continues to deliver. Brian - "the czar of the guitar" discharges power chords with that stat sound. Scott Brown on bass seems to be hanging in and lovin' it. Gogo, on keyboards - I'm not sure what's up with him but Ra's intro for Gogo gets longer with every show. And stomping out a seriously heavy beat is Clayton Hill. Wow! As a drummer, I was fixated on Clayton for most of the set, watching his aggressive fills and splashes that were certainly more complex that the original radio hit, mixing up the beats, all for the better, and gosh he is amazing!

Next month, Ra gets to play his favourite venue - the Vancouver Commodore Ballroom - and for the first time he'll perform with his son Connor. According to Ra's online blog, he and his son have a strong music bond and I know he's pretty excited about the dad/son performance. I understand. I can't wait to see my son Brett perform with his new band "Handsome and Gretyl" - hopefully soon. Maybe he'll need a drummer?!

Trooper. Ra. You still rock, man! Mmmm. "The boys are really rollin'...."

(Photo - me and Ra from my archives)

Monday, September 21, 2009

They Get Us

Yesterday I was the guest speaker at Lighthouse Community Church in Wasaga Beach. Thanks to Pastor Paul Bailey for the stage-time. Lighthouse is one of the churches that really "gets us". They understand the mission of Christian radio and how we support the work of the church. I wish all churches understood the vision rather than isolating themselves. Thankfully, our base of church support continues to grow.

Janice and I drove in early and I biked home to Barrie. Summer returned for the day. Sun, 25 degrees, little wind. A great day in the saddle, logging another 55km to my summer odometer.

This is a crazy busy week. "Karaoke Superstar" is LIFE's new talent discovery showcase. Every night we're in a different city, looking for the next great singer. Several showcases are staged in malls, where LIFE and Christian music have a chance to be heard by non-church people. A crowd of people always stop their shopping and watch the action.

Then Sunday, the speaking tour continues - but for a change I get to attend my home church. I have not spoken at APC for at least two years, choosing to let Tim Maassarany and Ben Davy be the guests while I sit in the pew. APC is a great church for LIFE. The people genuinely care about LIFE 100.3. They cheer me on; they're great listeners and big givers. For ten years Pastor Wayne has invited LIFE to share about our radio ministry and after five of those years I made APC my home church.

Looking forward to Sunday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Really Big Show

From yesterday's post, you know I was excited about the Toronto U2 concert. U2 is not my favourite band but what I like is "a big show" and U2 are masters of "going big". Big sets. Lots of scaffolding. Live videos. Moving stages. Ramps and runways bringing the singer into the crowd. Any band that does that, wins me over.

Last night at Skydome the lid was open and looming over us was the CN Tower which displayed its own light show! Red and yellow illumination spun up the tower and swirled around the pods. It was a light show bonus!

On the south side through the Dome roof were the waterfront condominiums. From the stage, Bono looked to the condos and said "hey if you're listening to the show, flash your lights" - and a bunch of them did!

Musically, the songs, especially the really Christian songs, brought about an a auspicious idea. Sometimes I felt like I was part of a 50,000 voice choir, as we sang:

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

It was like voices of unity ascended thru the Dome roof into the Heavens with God looking down on this tiny earthly spectacle. I wonder what that would be like.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm going to see U2 tomorrow night. I'm excited! None of my friends wanted to go with me so I bought one ticket on the floor. My seat will be great but I won't have anyone to share the experience with.

From what I've read, the U2 stage is double the size of the stage used by the Rolling Stones on their last tour. Crazy big! And it's the "360" show so there's a clear view of the band from any side with the speakers flown in the roof.

I already googled the set-list so I know the order of the songs. I guess that spoils the fun for some people, but I like to know in advance so I can look forward to it. Some of the new songs I'm not familiar with so I'll listen to them on line and be able to recognize them at the show.

Another thing I like to do is google "the meaning" of songs. Fans get on a forum to post their thoughts of what the song means to them and the varying opinions give you a perspective that, perhaps, you hadn't considered. All of that helps me be familiar with the new songs.

I confess I used to be very anti-U2. I didn't really get them. Bono has said and done things that led me to believe he wasn't real about his faith. But that's just external stuff - I've got lots of that going on, too.

Then, I went to the Vertigo show a few years ago. It felt like the most Christian show I had ever seen. I left feeling spiritually uplifted. Optimistic. More tolerant. More understanding.

You don't have to go far to hear about Bono's compassion for people in horrific, inhumane circumstances. In an interview I heard him say, "our politicians aren't doing their job at feeding the homeless so rock stars have to get involved and get the job done."

Recently, I heard that U2 auctioned off 600 tickets for each show on the tour and are giving the proceeds to the Aids Foundation. That's about 8 million dollars.

I see Bono making a big difference in the world. As a spokesperson. As a political activist. As a fundraiser. Demonstrating love and compassion. Who knows how many organizations he's financially helped or spoken on behalf of.

So, Thursday night in Toronto ! Ya!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Biking In Barrie Sucks

I love Barrie. But as a cyclist, this is certainly an un-friendly city.

I can't think of one road in Barrie that has a lane devoted to bikes. Not one.

Ottawa - what an awesome city! Lanes strictly for bikes, help the biker to feel safe and the traffic to anticipate other traffic.

Peterborough - not as bike-friendly as Ottawa, but not far behind. A number of roads have bike- only lanes.

But Barrie - yikes! Even the bike path that shadows the Bay is strangled by the high volume of unleashed pets or pets on extremely long leashes. And there's the people who wander aimlessly on the bike side of the path, instead of the walking side. (There is a separate path for walkers) Not to mention the outrageous curbs that would easily flatten your tire if you took them head-on. Of course the lakeshore in Barrie has been under construction for three summers - 3! Why? Because they want to move Lakeshore Drive ten feet away to the old rail-line. Ten feet! Millions of dollars to move a road ten feet!

Meanwhile, up in the east end, Nelson Street is cut up with choppy, replaced pavement heaped over previous replaced pavement, that's cracked from harsh winters and obviously neglected by the City Of Barrie.

Biking in Barrie is lousy. Sometimes I wished I lived in Ottawa. (What do I mean "sometimes"?!!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Heart LIFE!

Is it ok that we market our radio station? Are you offended?

I've met people who think that our world manufacturers too much stuff about Jesus. Goofy stuff. A fish for the back of your car. A dangley angel for your rear view mirror. Bumper sticker with your station because it's all about Jesus.

Is that using Jesus name to get publicity?

Or is it using our name to give Jesus recognition in "the world".

Our mission is to talk about things Christians talk about. Movies we went to, restaurants we ate in, ball games we went to, and the pastor's message last Sunday. Christian radio is only Jesus - it's our lives. "Our" stories, filtered through the eyes of a Christian.

We buy gas from non-Christians, full well knowing that some of the profits to go support terrorists camps. But we still buy gas.

So why would a button or bumper sticker with a company logo on it be bad? We think of LIFE as the connection to all churches in our community.

So we put up billboards, in high traffic areas all over Barrie, Peterborough and Owen Sound to remind people to listen to "Christian radio". Look around. You'll seem.

No, we're not shy about Jesus. And we hope he likes the billboard!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"A Psalm in the morning and a Psalm at night". That's what my friend told me to read.

I haven't had a good structured devotional time for years. Years ago I bought study guides from the bookstore and followed them in a group. You know how it works? Read the study guide, read the Bible passage and answer the questions. That was ok. But it seemed like "homework".

Looking for ideas, I asked a bunch of guy friends what they do for devotions. Of the six I asked, only one has a devotional life. And his devo is hardcore, putting me to shame. But he inspired me, knowing that at least one guy is connecting with the Lord every day.

My devotions are part-journal. I note something good happening to me, or some place I went, or my emotion for the day. Then I have three categories:

Reading: I write here the Bible chapter, or another non-Biblical book I'm reading.
Listening To: I write here a specific song I'm hooked on.
Thinking About: I write a few things that are on my mind.
Praying: I write a list of requests and I always try to include something to be thankful for.

This format can last half an hour if I'm soaked in it, or if I'm rushed, it can be embarrassingly short. I journal a few times a week but I tend to skip it on those days when I'm cranky.

When I refer back to the journal I see my times of pain and my moments of thrill. Kind of like the Psalms, right? Days filled with praise. Days feeling attacked.

So - "a Psalm in the morning and a Psalm at night". No matter how tired, no matter how rushed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back To School

First day of school. My family had just moved to Nashville. We were familiarizing ourselves with Brett's school and Crystal's school.

I remember a scarey moment on the first day of school. Crystal was taking the bus to school. We're telling her, "ok Crystal, you don't get off the bus until you get to YOUR stop. Mommy will meet you at the bus stop."

So I'm at work. It's after 4:30. School's been out for an hour. My wife calls me at work - panicking - "Crystal didn't get off the bus!" So, was she ON the bus at all? Did she get off at the wrong stop? Or, did something worse happen?

I remember feeling frozen and helpless. Maybe ... someone KIDNAPPED OUR KID WHEN SHE GOT OFF THE BUS!!!!

So my wife is freaking out on the phone. She had already called the school and we were told that Crystal did in fact get on the bus.

And, in walks Crystal. Late.

"Crystal! Where were you?"

"I forgot to get off the bus and had to wait until the end of the route and he drove me home."

Ahhhh. A memorable day. First school day in another country and we thought we lost our kid.

So, if it's your kids first day on the bus - don't panic. It's gonna be a good day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Molitor Wins!

Friday night was fight night!

A fight? Whaaaat? Is it a Christian fight? Hahaha. Not exactly.

They call it "Rumble At Rama". Steve Molitor is the hero in the featherweight class (122 pounds) and laid a whoopin' on Dario Azuaga from Argentina. Having seen Steve a few times already, I don't think Azuaga was much of a competitor. Maybe because Steve lost his world title in November they are matching him with less worthy fighters. If that's the case, that's lousy. I hate fixed stuff.

Steve is amazing to watch. He bounces around the ring like a rabbit. And his punches are real fast. It's evident that he's a trained professional because of the speed and concentration.

It's gotta take a lot of fortitude to climb in a boxing ring and take blows to your head and torso, over and over, until you, or the other guy, can't take it anymore. From my boxing club last year, I felt totally spent at the two minute mark and ready to pack it in. I can't imagine how these guys have the stamina to go 8 or 10 or 12 rounds of three minutes, hammering away at the other guy as your power decreases and all the while trying not to get the snot knocked out of you.

But it was fun. And Steve won. So we all left happy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The Top 10 Things I Love About Ottawa

10. Elgin street - busy! Professionals hurry to work by day; a club scene of
partiers by night

9. The Byward market - a congestion of pedestrians

8. The Rideau Canal - barely a ripple as it coils through the city, pouring into the Ottawa River. The bridges connecting Ottawa U to downtown. The late afternoon joggers and walkers enjoying the uniqueness of the canal through mid-town.

7. The red maple leaf on the OC Transpo buses. So patriotic in the capital!

6. The view of Parliament Hill and downtown skyscrapers from Gatineau

5. The hot air blips hanging in the blue sky over the city

4. The guys have man-bags!

3. Smoked meat at Dunn's.

2. Rendezvous with friends at Zakk's.

1. Really fast cyclists screaming with speed through the city streets and stick-handing the stalled traffic on Bank Street!

Mmmmmm....I love this town!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blogging From Ottawa

A vacation week. One of my favourite things to do is hang out in Ottawa and spend my day biking thru the city. Yup. And the sun's out!

Listening to: CHRI
Thinking about: biking along the Rideau Canal for 3 days.
Reading: Psalms and "Teamwork" by Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Elvis Costello - "My Aim Is True" - 1977. It was the beginning of the new wave era, which was a softer branch of punk. Not today's pop/punk, but real punk. Punk like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols.

Back then his act was a bit angry, a bit Buddy Holly, and a bit mysterious but over the years, he's mellowed and almost, debonair. His stage character is a little less enraged as he's branched out to become a connoisseur of music appreciation. While I have not followed Elvis since the early 80's, I have known him to dabble in country, big band swing, jazz and indie rock. He's played with Burt Bacharach and Alison Krause.

Friday night, Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes played Massey Hall in Toronto - the same venue where I, as a 20-year old, watched him play "Alison" and "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes."

This show was without a fancy set, no video, no pyro. Just solid craftsmanship.

Elvis walked out at 8pm - no opening act. In the middle of the stage waited their instruments - a fiddle, an accordion, a mandolin, a flute, a couple guitars, double bass - no drums. It was all about the music, played by masterful musicians who backed-up Elvis, yet still let him have the spotlight.

So the set opened with "My Resistance Is Low" made famous in 1948 in a film by Jane Russell followed by a similar sounding but new Elvis song "My All Time Doll". The old hits "Blame It On Cain" and "Red Shoes" were re-vented by the impeccably tight 6-piece Sugarcanes that left me with the feeling that this was a band of polished musicians.

Always one to know the set list before going to a show, I was not expecting to hear "Happy", written by the Rolling Stones. And I was half-hoping that Elton John would appear during an encore, since Elvis and Elton are close friends, and Elton spends a lot of time in Toronto with his partner David Furnish. But that didn't happen.
In the encore, Elvis gave me what I wanted - "Alison" - but it was the new track -"Sulphur To Sugarcane" - that I'll remember most.

Elvis is 55. He's musically inventive. He knows a lot more than a 4/4 new wave beat. And that inspires me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's All About The Bike (sorry lance)

Considering this summer has been cloudy, rainy and, for the most part, kinda cool, I've gotten some good miles on my bike. I make a note each day of my mileage and I seem to be averaging about 200km a week, often more. I'm pretty happy with that.

Sadly, I haven't been part of any organized rides this year. I'm not much for early mornings and most group rides start at 8am, and most are out of town. Maybe I'll do the Lindsay "A Place Called Home Ride".

As someone who likes doing things differently all the time, it's odd that my biking route is predictable. Same route, almost every day. I wonder if the residents in Shanty Bay and Hawkestone set their watches with my routine.

In the saddle - which by the way IS comfortable - I can put the rest of the ride on auto-pilot. The ride is therapeutic for me - I get a lot of stuff sorted out mentally. New ideas for LIFE. Sorting out problems. While I ride, I make audio notes in my cell dictaphone. Then, when I get home, I have a major "to do" list that I gave myself! Haha! Well, I'm a detail-type of person so that's how I keep it all straight.

Here's a quick video of my on the bike.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I've had a couple of crappy days. Down, lonely, unhappy and a bit disconnected with God. A friend told me to re-charge by reading one Psalm in the morning and another at night. Sounds like a good plan so I'm doing that.

After my 40 km on the bike, I went to workout at the gym. (Stop bragging!) I usually listen to a mix of Christian songs or some classic rock but last night I selected my "praise and worship" playlist. I know - not exactly gym material! Guitars and rockin' band - that's real gym music.

My playlist went something like this:

"Everyday" Hillsong
"God Of This City" Kris Allen
"Banner Over Me" Vineyard
"Arise" Don Moen
"Hallelujah To My King" Paul Baloche

I bet the 20 year old gym-rats would be surprised! Haha! Anyway, the songs picked me up. Oh ya - doubling the meds is helping too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


In the halls of LIFE, we're still pretty stoke about the 10th Anniversary concert. Tons of email "congrats" are coming in from listeners and advertisers. It's neat to know that this celebration isn't confined to employees, but shared by - well, everyone.

After intermission, the show paused while the staff ran a tribute to me. I wasn't expecting it. Somewhere about halfway through this 9 minute video, I realized, "uh oh... this is a tribute to me!" However did they pull this off without my knowing about it?

Thanks to the LIFE DJs for their kind words. Nice to have a greeting from my friends who make the music. And to those people who are part of my radio history. And especially the greeting from Ra McGuire - whom I pray for everyday.

If you missed the vid, here you go.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


As a radio guy, I've lived in a bunch of different cities and, although I've been a member, I've never stuck with one denomination.

I think it's funny that Christian regard their denomination more than simply being a Christian. Baptists ONLY go to a Baptist church, even if they move to another city and Pentecostals ONLY go to a Pentecostal church.

Alot of stuff confuses me about God, partly because of denominations. They each believe something slightly different - and neither are willing to budge on their beliefs.

So who's right? They tell me they are both right and the other church has "it all wrong". (I've actually been told that by pastors.)

One Christian friend attends a church that claims their church is not a denomination, and they told me they don't approve of "denominations" because denominations aren't doing what the Bible says. But THEY are.

I've been part of a few churches. A Pentecostal church, vineyard church, missionary church and alliance churches. I feel like I have a good perspective of Jesus and I like the fact that different pastors and friends have poured into me. I'm not a one-denomination type of guy. But, I still have a lot of questions about how God moves. Is it just me? By asking these questions, I feel like a heathen.

Like, how come we keep praying for the same thing every day? A salavation. A healing. A relationship. Didn't God hear us the first time? I know he did - so why be a pest? Ya I know - we pray for our benefit, not His. Ya ya.

We pray for healing of cancer but people die anyway. I know they're eventually going to die, but if we prayed for healing and God didn't heal, why do we make excuses for God, like, "oh He answered the prayer in His way. We don't understand His ways". Uh huh. What does that mean?

Why do churches disagree about the role of women in the church? I'm told "it's very clear. Just read the Bible". Ya right - then why do you guys disagree?

I won't even mention tongues. Who's right on that issue? Well, one church is right and one is wrong. It can't be both.

Why did Jesus speak in parables? Why didn't he just explain it? Now we all argue about what He really was really saying.

Like the final words of Jesus the three gospels "the final words" are all recorded differently. If they were FINAL words, how can they be different? Wouldn't the saviour of the world want his final words remembered accurately? Or did the writers of the Bible mess it up? Listen, if I was on my deathbed and my kids were by my side, I'm sure they would both want to remember MY finals words and not a misquote from someone else. Instead, we have a variation of his final words.

We each read God's stories with a different interpretation. Even the church denominations (including the church that doesn't think its a denomination) disagree on these subjects.

Is it ok to have questions, after being saved for 20 years? I think I have more questions every year and I don't really get any answers. Am I being irreverent?

Monday, August 24, 2009


Friday night was the LIFE 10th anniversary/Lincoln Brewster concert. I could write a series of blogs about my favourite moments - the audience, the songs, the video surprise, our very good looking staff (haha!). And from what I heard backstage, I could probably write another blog all about our visiting rock star's requests. But I won’t pop any illusions you may have.

Two big surprises. The appearance by my son Brett - on stage. Brett and his wife live in Nashville and to my knowledge his immigration green card was not approved. Little did I know, it was!

My daughter Crystal was on stage at intermission talking about our family days in Nashville where there are many Christian stations to choose from and our relocation to Barrie where there was a Christian radio void. From the stage Crystal said, "too bad Brett can’t be here..." and then - he walked out on stage! W-H-A-T??!!

My first response was "the U.S. border control isn’t going to let you return!"

Then I thought.... "how did they hide you from me?" Apparently, he had been in hiding all day, avoiding my usual routes. During the concert my wife had Brett sitting in the car, at the side of the road for the entire first half of the show, waiting for a cell call. I didn’t suspect a thing.

After Brett took his seat and Lincoln hit the stage, I noticed about three songs later that Gretyl (Brett’s wife) was also in our row!

God has done so many amazing things through LIFE 100.3. It’s not an overstatement to say that listeners have grown in character and faith because of LIFE’s ministry. That’s why we do it. Thank you, everyone, who affirms me and my staff of our ministry’s impact.

I was so very proud of four particular people. Luke Langman, Paul Turner, Jody Cross and Andy Horrocks.

Luke, Paul and Jody were the three artists who opened our show and warmed up the crowd before Lincoln’s performance. We asked each guy - Luke, Paul and Jody - to sing two songs that were familiar through radio airplay. Each guy was more than amazing! Each song came "alive" on stage.

Luke - He’s probably the newest radio artist of the three, yet he looked so comfortable. I was so proud to see him perform "Change The World" for such a receptive crowd.

Paul - "Earthquake". I have loved this song since it was released and everytime I play it, I crank the studio speakers.

Jody - Maybe the most seasoned of the three - but he’s the oldest! Haha! Hearing "Bigger" made me think, again, about how big God is, how much I don’t know or will ever understand.

Luke, Paul and Jody - I am so proud of you guys! Thank you for sharing your songs with us on this special night.

Andy - I chose Andy Horrocks to be the band leader. He’s the guy who arranged the songs, picked the back-up musicians and kept the first three artists running a tight set. Andy is not only the producer of all three Karaoke Superstar artists - he has also become a great friend of LIFE 100.3. He gets us. He knows what we want and he always delivers! I value our relationship very much.

Lincoln was the "star" performer. He rocked the house for 90 minutes with "Everlasting God" and "Love The Lord" and sharing stories about his family.

I will take this moment to thank Pastor Rick Buck, the senior pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, for allowing us to take over the auditorium for the day. A great, comfortable, well-equipped venue. Thanks Rick!

Tomorrow, the video replay of "the surprise greeting" from my staff, to me. Haha!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Tonight is the LIFE 100.3 10th Anniversary Party with Lincoln Brewster, Luke Langman, Jody Cross and Paul Turner. A great line-up of music.

Last night there were four tornados reported in our listening area. Lots of rain. Crazy winds. I was thinking today, had last night’s weather come today, it could have affected travel plans of people coming to town for our anniversary concert. As it was, the plane carrying Lincoln and his band sat on the tarmac in Toronto for three hours, waiting to get to the gate. Apparently they didn’t get to Barrie until 2am.

I don’t think I slept last night. This morning I rode 20km to get some energy in my body.

It’s hard to believe the result of an idea. The idea of starting a Christian radio station. The result being thousands and thousands of people’s souls being touched. I see LIFE bumper stickers on cars owned by people I have probably never met, and may never meet. Yet, they have a bumper sticker on their car that, at one time, was just an idea in my head. I’m touched by those bumper stickers every time I see one.

I hear stories of how Christian music has inspired people. Songs that provided reassurance during the storms of life. While the storm is raging and our troubles are many, the songs remind us that God is with us through our troubles and we’re not alone. All that, from a song on the radio.

Tonight, Lincoln will be singing many of those songs. "Every day it’s you I live for...." I can’t wait!*!*!