Foster returns to private roots at CKRW

After spending nearly 15 years with the CBC, first in Winnipeg and then in Whitehorse, Al Foster has found new freedom as the news director at CKRW. "I feel like I've added a couple years back onto my life, actually," he said.

After spending nearly 15 years with the CBC, first in Winnipeg and then in Whitehorse, Al Foster has found new freedom as the news director at CKRW.

“I feel like I’ve added a couple years back onto my life, actually,” he said.

He began his new job in late July, a couple weeks after giving his final sign off at CBC here in Whitehorse where he’d worked for almost a decade. He made the decision for a variety of reasons, he said. He had been reflecting on his career path. He loves being a “newshound,” meeting people and telling their stories.

At CBC, he got to tell stories about the man who photographed the black soldier experience on the Alaska Highway.

He and a colleague traveled to Hollywood with the mayor of Dawson City to learn about Victor Jory. The film and television actor who had roles in Gone with the Wind and The Miracle Worker, was born in Dawson City and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But his real passion was hosting on the radio. He had filled in when people were on vacation, but hadn’t had the opportunity to do more.

“I was starting to spin my wheels for a little bit,” he said. After all his time in the Yukon, Foster knows the news cycle here can get repetitive. That wasn’t a concern for him.

Though born in Manitoba, Foster came to Whitehorse intending to be a sourdough. He was “locked in” from the beginning. He left a family vacation here 13 years ago with the desire to return. Persistent contact with the CBC here eventually led to the job.

He’ll take nothing but positives away from it, and wishes the organization all the best, he said. But it was time for something else.

Working at a larger corporation meant there were more people who influenced what he could do: producers, anchors. It was good for quality control, but could be difficult.

And money was a factor. Whether in Manitoba or the Yukon, the possibility of budget cuts had always been part of his time with the national broadcaster. The pressures were taxing and sometimes made the work environment difficult. Recent cuts to CBC’s funding meant a full-time position in Whitehorse would be lost. There was the opportunity for someone to volunteer to leave, and he took it.

Still, his decision to leave the public broadcaster may mystify some, he said. Foster wouldn’t get into the specifics of the organizations’ differences in pay, other than to say CKRW has been “very fair and kind.”

This isn’t the first time he’s worked at a private broadcast company, either. He was at what was then A Channel in Winnipeg before moving to CBC.

This new role combines his love for news and hosting. Besides determining the news of the day, he also co-hosts the morning show. He still gets to meet interesting people, and is hoping to re-establish connections that have frayed over the years.

His involvement, whether in the arts community as the parent of a dancer or the sports community as a volleyball coach, and before that soccer coach, gives him an advantage.

In a transient city like Whitehorse, that’s key. “It’s the type of place that if you’re not involved, you’re going to be sunk,” he said.

Granted, working at a music station presents its own challenges. Stories need to be short. There are no documentaries.

He’s busy getting used to being the only cook in his kitchen, to shortened story meetings. They could take up to half-an-hour in the CBC boardroom. With just himself and reporter Tim Kucharuk working the news beat, meetings are quicker and more relaxed. He wants CKRW to become the epitome of a community radio station, the place listeners know they will hear local news.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in quite some time,” he said.

It doesn’t hurt he now works at a station named after his early musical idols, the rock band, Rush. He’s been a musician most of his life, and latched onto their music as a teenager. “It’s a pretty big circle, isn’t it?”

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read