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

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read