Monday, December 31, 2012


In no particular order, there are the events that I remember as "great" in the last 12 months.

This year I put less miles on the bike than last year but I love it every day. It clears my head when it’s just me and the bike.

My creativity soars and I end up with a cell phone with of “to dos,” but that ok.

Any day with a bike ride is better than a day without.


There was a radio conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland in September and I took a side trip to see the sights, the best being the location where Terry Fox dipped his artificial foot in the water to start his Marathon of Hope.

I've been to Thunder Bay where his journey ended, and a couple years ago to his grave site in Port Coquitlam.

I am a big Terry Fox fan and those moments, there in NFLD, brought me to tears.

It's a TV series that ended a few years ago. I never watched it until my son introduced me to it this year. It is four seasons of addictiveness. The characters are wild. The actors are brilliant. The storyline - clever. The downside is that the addictiveness kept me up very, very (very) late, with me arriving at work with dark circles. It doesn't stop there. Four months later, I watched the whole series again, with the same side affects!

It was LIFE 100.3's Air Raid 20, headlined by House of Heroes. After watrching HOH perform “So Far Away” is has become one of my favourite songs. When I hear the opening notes in my iPod I actually get excited!  It reminds me of a very big, expensive and detailed show that came together with one single problem. "So Far Away" reminds me of a great night and a backstage chat with Tim Skipper. I felt very blessed.

The song is by Laura Story. It’s a soft song, great for our daytime LIFE listeners but a song this big could be enjoyed by young people, if only there was a Top 40 version. Hmmmm. I asked my son Brett to create it, by using the original track and adding instruments and speeding it up to a dance-mix. He did. We aired it, and still do on LIFE, and I shared it with 15 other radio stations. The best part was with Brett, as he brought up the tracks on the computer, showing me the visualization of each track, so I could “see” the instruments, their placement in the song and the hours of work he put into it, that a listener would never comprehend. I learned so much. My kid is so smart and talented.

We applied to bring Christian radio to Toronto. The CRTC denied our application but our 20 minutes of fame before the Commission and our radio peers, was a fabulous moment in the spotlight, talking about Christian radio and presenting a very slick video about Christian music and how it encourages a special group of people. The journey was exciting and it kept me feeling up and optimistic about everything.

Before Dan Bremnes started his summer tour in Ontario, (for which I booked about a dozen or so dates), he and the band came to my house for the afternoon before the tour started.

We spenT a wonderful day eating, swimming, racing the seadoo over the waves of Lake Simcoe and talking about music and God, in the sun on the dock. Just us boys. I’m reminded how much I need male fellowship.

It’s a studio in Seattle, owned by Tooth and Nail Records, where Anberlin, the Classic Crime, Underoath, the Fold and several others have recorded. My son Brett worked there on occasion, producing and mixing for artists. Says Brett as we walk through the live room, “That’s the drum kit they used on most of the records.”

Man, it was a total rush to be there before the studio was sold and dismantled.


Chris Bray has become a really good friend. He invited me to play djembe with him for a show in Barrie.

Being a frustrated rock star I went into radio thinking, this would be as close to the music I will get.

Performing with a professional recording artist was a very high moment. Thanks Chris!

Mmmmmm..."more each day!"


It is good to speak into people’s lives; to encourage them. Other times, they encourage us. At a radio conference in Vancouver, a well-known radio entrepreneur was in the audience.

He took the microphone for a few moments, and in front of everyone, he spoke into my life, affirming the work I do at LIFE 100.3 with specific references he seemed to be aware of. It was a special moment.

My church, Living For Jesus in Orillia is very different. The people who attend are generally out of work, homeless, both, or worse.  Attending is a lesson in compassion. One day, there was a physically and mentally challenged fellow worshipping God. One of the women at church went to dance with him. I watched, amazed, at her compassion, as she led him in a slow, gentle dance, in front of everyone, including her husband who watched proudly. I was thinking “Most people wouldn’t even say hello but this woman acted like Jesus and danced with him.” I hope I never forget that moment.


We moved to Oro Station over a year ago to the beautiful house that is "our dream home". It may not be special to other people but it is to us.

There are so many amazing things about this house. One thing we decided on immediately after moving in, was that we wanted to use the house for hospitality - parties, meetings, bible studies, company and anything social.

We do, and it’s awesome!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Rarely do I like an album the first time.  I let each track burn thru and over time, certain tracks win me over.

So when “Vitals” by Anberlin was released, actually before it was released, I had my copy and I let it burn through, despite the fact that upon first listen, I really thought it was 45 minutes of clamor. Why? Well, I’ve never become tired of “Never Take Friendship” or “Cities” so with each album that followed, I keep my expectations low.
I’ve read four reviews of the new album - all of them loving it, so I’ll be the odd guy out.

I’m not a big fan of the new electronic sounds on “Vitals”. It adds to the clamor. "Vitals" is a great production but there's too much of it. It's not just a wall of sound - it's like several walls with no room to great a music pause.

Many of the songs sound like previous tracks and that's ok - why change directions when you have something that works. But these new songs don’t take me anywhere new.

“Somebody Somewhere” was the first single.  I couldn't wait to hear it.  “The brand new, long-awaited song” by this band we have all come to love was just “ok.”  A radio-pop song, yes.  But for the lead-off single on the new album?  Ooops.

I have always felt that Stephen Christian's lyrics are overly clever. He's a smart guy. He spends time on each song's message to the point where they are not only deep and profound, sometimes, well, a lot of the time, I really don't know what he's talking about.  Combine profoundly deep lyrics with a double wall of sound, I'm left wondering - did anything happen?

I gave "Vitals" a chance, on repeat for the last 6 weeks and I know the songs. So what songs rose to the top?  To be honest, there’s only one song on the album that I really like and it’s the ballad, “Innocent,” which is funny because Anberlin is a modern rock band.  When I think of Anberlin I think of “Godspeed” or “A Day Late.”  The ballad on each record is kinda like an extra, but, really they’re all pretty good.

Stephen Christian’s vocals are great on “Vitals.”  Probably better with every album. But when other reviewers call it an essential album I wonder if we’re listening to the same record.

Anberlin is an anchor artist in Christian music, even though they don’t seem to be singing spiritual songs anymore. They're an artist that modern art rock fans know well, beyond the songs.  Because they progress musically with each album we expect big things.  Really, Anberlin is the band that other bands love.

I’m an Anberlin fan. I still am. But who's kidding who?  There’s no way that “Vitals” is going to replace “Friendship” or “Cities.” Let be honest.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


God takes me on a journey. Sometimes I wonder where He is and what He’s doing while I stick-handle all the junk in my life.

Most of the "junk" is business, as in “LIFE 100.3" but there's the family and health issues, as well.  Since a few people on our staff read my blog I can’t reveal specific issues but I can generalize a bit.
In my role as the Station Manager, there are three functions on the top of my job description. One is to look after the staff. The second is to cast vision for the future. The third is to make sure the income is greater than the expenses.

The combination of having responsibility of these things and clinical depression can be a really bad recipe.  To be honest, the depression has been brewing a little more often in the last two months. This isn't the pitiful state of hopelessness like in the past, but it feels like the negatives seem bigger than the positives and the weight of that feels heavy.

I was at the gas station yesterday filling up, looking at the grey sky and thinking about the lousy day ahead - the junk, the silly people issues, and the shortfall of revenue at LIFE with only days left in 2012.  I realized that I can look at it all in one of two ways. And I get to choose which way.

I can think about all the things I need “to fix” and let that negativity weigh me down, and take that negative mood into the office and probably bring everyone else down, OR, I can go to work choosing to feel positive, encouraging people and confronting the issues from a positive point of view, expecting solutions are near.

The choice was easy, of course. I smiled.

The sky was still grey but inside of me the sun was shining.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012


The fan reviews for the new movie "Lincoln" have not been good. Most complaining about the length of the movie and lack of action.

When I saw the trailer on TV I knew I had to see it. Daniel Day-Lewis is made up to look exactly like the famous image we've all seen of Lincoln.  The make-up alone is worth the price of admission.

In short, it is the story of Abraham Lincoln trying to have the Senate pass the 13th amendment, for the freedom of slaves.

I'm not one to follow politics, especially American politics. (Arrrrg don't get me started on these so-called leaders who name-trash each other for four years!)  In Canada, we know little about our own involvement in wars, let's be honest. Where as in the States most Americans know their history of battles like their times tables. So as a Canadian, much of the script went over my head.

The movie is long - nearly 2:30. And, there isn't much action after the first scene - the rest is court room drama. Still, the long roster of stars, some who only have one or two scenes, and many faces you've seen but maybe not recognize by name, was enough to keep me interested.

Perhaps, aside from the stellar make-up, it is the personality through which the character is portrayed that really steals the show.  Day-Lewis plays a character who is gentle, kind, humourous, strong-willed - but mostly, kind, which makes the Lincoln character quite endearing, even to a Canadian.

Would it be a spoiler to say he dies in the end? No, you knew that, right?!