Recent History – 2000
March 10, 2000, By Mark Nielsen,Daily News Staff
She came as the Governor General, but it was the old broadcaster that emerged when Adrienne Clarkson visited Chetwynd Thursday.
The former television show host was there to open the renovated and enlarged studio at CHET radio, a station that relies largely on volunteers to operate.
“I do have to commend you, because as a former broadcaster, I know how much teamwork is involved in getting a broadcast for television or radio,” she told the hundreds who packed the Pine Valley Exhibition Hall for a luncheon after the opening.
The fact that it involves 38 volunteers in addition to the three paid staff makes CHET special, Clarkson said.
“I think the local things are what make our communities what they are,” she said.
CHET provides a training ground that young people might otherwise not have, she said, and just as important, it gives people a chance to express themselves and to communicate.
Arriving at CHET at noon, Clarkson was greeted by a throng of Cubs, Brownies, and Air Cadets. Inside the station were the staff and local dignitaries.
Along with shaking all their hands and touring the facility, Clarkson was also interviewed live by the station’s morning host, Mark Planiden.
Topics covered included her trip to the far north — Clarkson was en route from Whitehorse to Vancouver when she stopped in Chetwynd — and some of her favourite stories while in television.
Clarkson also recorded a station identification announcement that CHET can continue to play long after her visit.
Getting Clarkson to come to Chetwynd was something of a coup for the station’s impresario, Leo Sabulsky, who wrote a letter to her simply telling about the progress CHET has made in three years.
After starting out in an eight-by-eight-foot studio, CHET now has a full-fledged facility from where they’ll also be able to broadcast television.
Currently, only a rotary bulletin board is broadcast. “As we make more money, and learn how to do it, we’ll add cameras, lights and the whole bit,” he said.
The radio station broadcasts for as long as 18 hours on some days. Students, seniors, Christian groups, and music buffs put on their own shows on a volunteer basis, and the format is wide open.
“The only rule we have is there’s no swearing, no racism, no bigotry,” Sabulsky said.
“We’re community radio at its best and sometimes it’s hard to control because people extroverted,” he said. “We had one kid sing so loud he blew a mike.”
Clarkson was showered with paintings and other gifts. And she also helped unveil a sign that will be put up at Chetwynd’s new sports fields this spring.