If you listen to Barriere’s own radio station, 93.1 The Bear you’ll be no stranger to The Fitzy Show that has been airing five days a week, Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m to 10 a.m. over the past few months.
Fitzy, aka Rob Fitzgerald, has grown quite a dedicated group of listeners within the fairly short period of time that he has been volunteering to host his show at The Bear in Barriere.
Fitzgerald, or ‘Fitzy’ as he is known, grew up in the Fraser Valley and has always been into broadcasting.
“I went to Broadcasting School in Vancouver, then worked on cruise ships for about six years, so I have been doing this for about 12 or 13 years now,” said Fitzy. “I really enjoyed the cruise ships and would like to go back on a holiday. It’s a great way to see all those places.”
He stepped back from broadcasting for awhile on a hiatus due to his mom being ill, and returned home to Edmonton to spend time with her.
Fitzy says he came to Barriere to visit a friend.
“When I was ready to come back – COVID! Now everyone who has been laid off in radio is looking for work, so I’ve got some time, so I thought I would come and hang out with friends in Barriere.
How did he end up broadcasting at the Bear Radio in Barriere?
“Through my friend Michelle Rutske. She’s done some voicing and stuff for Ken Brown, and she is the new imaging voice of The Bear radio station. She’s the one who says, ‘You are listening to The Bear’.
“You know what, it’s a volunteer position, I’ve been in radio, and I’m between radio jobs, and I thought while I’m here why not call Ken and say, ‘Hey I’ll volunteer for a little bit, have some fun, and keep my wheels greased’.”
Is he looking elsewhere for employment?
“Yeah, I’m currently looking, and I’ve got resumes out, and of course the pandemic kind of rocked our industry.”
Is he seeking employment in broadcasting?
“Absolutely, I’m hoping to get back into radio again. It’s a passion of mine. It’s like a painter who isn’t painting but is pining to paint. I’m pining to talk into a microphone. It’s addictive, and it’s in me!”
Fitzy says he especially enjoys radio that involves the listeners.
“The radio station I was at in Edmonton we had a very interactive show. We would pitch conversation ideas and then allow listeners to text in or call in about what we were going to talk about. For instance, someone would text in about their experience with gardening and we’d read it out, and it was really cool.”
Is it the same format on The Bear?
“Keeping it casual. Just playing some tunes, and in between songs talk about what’s happening locally and in the world. Anything that kind of provides a quick piece of interesting content.”
A band called the Carbons are booked to play in Barriere on Aug. 20, and excitement is growing in the community. Hopefully the show will be able to continue if the current evacuation alert due to the Sparks Lake Wildfire is rescinded.
“We had the lead singer of the band call in when he was in Whistler recently, and we chatted about that show. Pretty exciting for Barriere to have live music back,” said Fitzy.
What can we tell people who are going to read this story and want to participate with your weekly show on The Bear?
“Tell them to go to our Facebook page where I post conversation ideas there. People can comment there, and I’ll read them out.”
Fitzi says he would love to be able to get employment in B.C.
“I have some opportunities on the Island that I am exploring right now, and a few others as well. Unfortunately, not the Barriere area, but I would love to stay here if the opportunity arose.
“I think that Barriere is such a cool little town, and while I am here it’s a pleasure to be on the radio and learn about the town. I’ve never really lived in a small town before.
“I’m a member of the Barriere And Area Facebook page, and the other day there was a missing dog for a few days. Then this morning there was a missing little horse, like a mini horse. So I was thinking ‘what should I say about this?’ And then someone else posted and said it’s their neighbours horse and it’s home safely now. It’s just so cool to watch how everyone just looks out for each other.”
Fitzy heard a story about an escaped pig that took place many years ago in the community. The large porker had escaped from a property in the heart of town and was eventually spotted outside the Legion. The lady who owned the pig put a rope around it’s neck but it wouldn’t lead home so another lady got behind it to make it move forward. However, the pig screamed loudly all the way home and drew quit a bit of attention from area residents. .
“Seems like he enjoyed it at the legion,” laughed Fitzy, “I love it. The ‘Day The Pig Went To The Legion’, it should be a children’s book.”
Will Fitzi be introducing the Carbons band to Barriere on the 20th of this month?
“If I’m still here, but I don’t want to commit to anything as I’m waiting to hear on a job I applied for.”
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