No, it was a corporate misson labelled by one colleague as "Operation Dolphin Trainer." See, I was invited by the company to fly out to Calgary to take an existing radio station -- and flip 'er.
As of 6 o'clock this morning (local time, which is way different than the clock I finally got used to), oldies station CFFR became 660News, All News Radio.
My sincere apologies to anyone who was left out of the loop or kept vaguely in the dark on this one. Orders were for secrecy on this project, though I've since been told that, aside from the specific timing of the flip, this was the worst-kept secret in the industry. I hope anyone back home who found out about this at the last minute will understand the hush-hushedness of the operation.
I also had mixed feelings about the karma of station format flips. I'd always felt that gassing radio staff in the name of ratings is cruel and sad, and was wary of the bad voodoo that participating in such corporate bloodletting would mean to my karmic future. I was relieved to be told that the oldies outfit was mostly voicetracked and very lightly staffed, and that nobody would be canned. (In fact, the news format is so staff-heavy, it'll result in many more new hires). I hope that's true, cuz even though change is inevitable, I don't wish to be part of suffering.
I'm flattered to have been asked to participate in this launch with some great people from Vancouver, Kitchener, Saint John, Halifax, and the pros from Toronto, where it all began. Nice to see some familiar faces again, and some talented folks from other markets.
I can't say much about Calgary, the city, so far, as I've pretty much just seen the airport, the ride from the airport to the hotel, the hotel, the ride from the hotel to work, work, and a nearly sidewalk-free 40-minute walk through industrial parks on my way to buy fruit, juice and Carnation Instant Breakfast. And one trip downtown for dinner (nice place called Murrieta's). Hoping to see more over the next three weeks. I know this is work, not vacation, but I'd feel better being plugged in to the city I'm talking to and about.
All my love to the folks back home! And congrats to everyone who got 660News on the air today. They say launches are the most fun, and I'm excited to have now been part of two.
(PS ... There's a donair place a block away from the hotel. Go figure.)