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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Hey, are you Megan from CBC?"

I am pretty sure I did a double-take the other day when someone asked me this. It has been three years since anyone recognised my voice, and it stopped happening regularly about five years ago. I almost said "no" to the guy.

Radio reporters usually don't get "recognised" in the same way TV reporters do. After graduation, about ten of us got summer jobs with CBC Radio, and I remember that one of my more obnoxious classmates bragged about being recognised all the time in PEI. I still think that if this was true (and I doubt it), he must have been wearing CBC T-shirts all the time and repeating his name constantly, hoping to catch the ear of innocent bystanders. He's now a producer for a national show, and he does a weekly feature that airs on the local station. Even if I'm exhausted, I always get out of bed right away when I hear his voice: I can't stand his smarmy accent.

There are people who need to know who reporters are to do their jobs -- I'm one of them. However, normal people in most parts of Canada do not recognise radio reporters. Most people wouldn't know Shelagh Rogers if she walked in the door. (Full disclosure: I turned into a screaming fangirl when she came to town. I almost cried. She was travelling with Jonathan Torrens, and I was one of the few people who wanted to meet her instead of him. Yes, I am a loser.)

Hmmm. Do you Americans know who Jonathan Torrens is? Do you get Trailer Park Boys in the States?

I will admit, though, that things are a bit different in the north. It's a small place with no media competition, and radio's a personal medium. People do start to feel like they know you. I worked for the station Up There for two years, and people called me "CBC". Yes, this is weird.

Get out of my way. I'm a celebrity now. You're blocking my access to my adoring fans.


Karen said...

Oh please. Radio people are in some ways the most recognizable, because we all TALK, at work and in the community. I used to (and still, rarely do) get recognized in weird places by total strangers solely because of my voice (which must be far more distinctive than I give it credit for being, considering I haven't been on the air since 1997 - hey, 10 years!)

It was actually a problem that got me into tepid water more than once, as I was in the habit of having frank political discussions with friends while doing Saturday chores like grocery shopping, and someone I didn't know would hear my opinion of why Person X was an ass this week, and that would get back to Person X, as something stated by Karen in the grocery store. It's a little hard to deny something when they have your name, date and place of comment cold.

Another CBC colleague used to always get recgnized in really out of the way places, by her voice. Like retying a hiking boot trailside in Tibet; or having a cocktail beachside in the Canary Islands. People in the North, and especially in Name of Town Withheld, get around, a LOT. And they seem to take our voices with them.

Jackie S said...

You'll have to tell me the name of your former classmate, now in PEI. I've done some work at that CBC and now I'm curious!!!!

Megan said...

His name is Pat. He is now one of the producers of a national show, and he has a syndicated weekly promo interview that our local show picks up. I don't know if you guys have it in Nunavut.