The media world has been a hot topic in the North Bay region recently with multiple layoffs with our media friends at Roger Radio and we sincerely wish them the best.
With the topic very sensitive in our small media community in North Bay, it got me thinking about the very unique path I have taken relating to layoffs.
I drove by the old MCTV building on Oak Street recently. As many of you know, that building is now vacant and the current CTV staff here in North Bay are now working from home.
In 1996, I made my journey to a new reporter job at MCTV in North Bay. It was a great, buzzing facility with over 50 employees in the building back at that time.
Jeff Turl was the boss back then. It was two fantastic years with CTV until the summer of 1998 when I got to face the reality of downsizing head-on.
I remember Jeff asking me to go to the old Mr. Sub on Fisher Street to break the news to me that I was going to be part of a layoff plan. He was thoughtful and kind, but I know breaking the news to me was not easy.
I remember that helpless feeling being a single guy from Lethbridge, Alberta, now thousands of miles away without a full-time job any longer. I tried to stay upbeat and honestly got inspiration from a song back at that time called "Tub Thumping" by Chumbawamba. (See below)
The line that hit home was "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never going to keep me down."
Thankfully during that tough time early on in the layoff, Jeff was able to pull some strings and get me some part-time work at MCTV for a few months in the summer before I was going to be officially let go.
I appreciated it.
With some help from Andy Bryce, the former MCTV North Bay News Director, I had found a job later that summer as a northern freelancer for ONTV out of Hamilton which was approved by the CRTC to have its signal pumped province-wide.
That great opportunity which took me across Northern Ontario lasted about 18 months and during that time Jeff had asked me to come back on board part-time to do some more reporting.
When Global purchased the company that ran ONTV, there was duplication in freelance services in the north so once again I was seeking full-time employment.
Jeff Turl came to the rescue again. I applied and was ended up getting the new reporter position cropped up in the Muskoka office in the summer of 2000.
Another couple of great years at CTV and then came the big cut that occurred in December of 2001. I remember that meeting vividly, and how upset Jeff was to have to give me the news that I was laid off one more time.
It was not easy, but I don't believe in burning bridges and never felt any resentment toward Jeff because these decisions were made far above his head.
We stayed friends, he luckily beat me in a few of our media hockey pools but we did end up going our separate ways and then re-connected at Canadore College in 2007 where Jeff was a professor and I started doing some teaching and technologist work with his students.
However, again changes impacted our jobs collectively in 2013 when Canadore College cut its Broadcast Journalism program.
But, just like they say, "with one door closing another door opens."
That was the case in 2014. I had been working part-time since 2004 covering sports as sports editor at BayToday.
With the talented Steve Hardy deciding to leave BayToday, an opportunity opened for Jeff Turl to come on board. Not long after that did I take on a full-time new reporter/sports editor position with BayToday as well.
The rest is really history.
So through three layoffs with two different companies, we still work well together and I thank him for that.
And for anyone feeling that helpless feeling like I had. Here's that song to help inspire you too.