Bell Media made headlines at the start of February when it was reported that the company was laying off swaths of their staff.
The union representing some Bell Media workers reported that around of 210 employees lost their jobs in the Toronto area alone in the wake of the announcements. The layoffs extended across the country, affecting Bell radio in Hamilton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Bell has not confirmed the total number.
Closer to home, Bell owned station 106.3 EZ Rock based in Golden lost its longtime local host, Chris Cameron, who found out on Thursday, Feb. 4, that it would be his last show.
“I found out after my show that that was going to be my last day. It’s difficult because I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye,” said Cameron.
“Working in radio, you become a part of people’s lives and I always had a ton of calls and people texting in to request music, sometimes you end up being their only contact and only person they talk to that day.
“That’s the hardest thing, is the immediacy, but it is what it is, that’s the radio business.”
Cameron originally came to Golden in 2012, fresh out of broadcasting school at Columbia Academy in Vancouver.
Taking over from Gary Irving and Dallas Matheson, who had both been at the station for years and had become staples of the community, Cameron said at first it was tough to fit in.
But he pushed through, quickly meeting people and enjoying his job.
It only took eight months before he was snatched up by a bigger station in Edmonton, leaving Golden only to come back in 2016 to take up his old post at EZ Rock.
“It can be a tough community to move to, but I really enjoyed it and had a great experience during my first short stint and that’s what really brought me back,” said Cameron.
“I thought I could come back and hopefully duplicate my success. It was like I never left, I jumped right back in and made my old friends back and some new ones as well.”
Cameron says that it was the community and lifestyle in Golden that eventually convinced him to leave the city and come back.
“I really liked working in Edmonton, but I liked small town living more and everything that Golden brought to my life.”
He’s held the job ever since returning in 2016, interviewing anyone and everyone from the performers brought in by Kicking Horse Culture, to politicians during election season.
His real passion was giving a voice to the community and shining a light on the issues that the people of Golden cared about.
“I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the community and being a microphone for that community,” said Cameron.
“I always enjoyed working with the Women’s Resource Centre, Little Mittens and the Food Bank, being able to help them out with cheap or free advertising that they couldn’t otherwise afford to help get the word out for them.”
Without Cameron, the radio station will be run out of Salmon Arm temporarily, with Cameron saying that the plan is to have Sean Aquline in Revelstoke taking over the station to try and keep it as local as possible.
Cameron himself isn’t sure if he’ll stay in the radio business or what the future holds for him.
“It’s a really tough industry, just like any media industry, it’s becoming smaller and smaller all the time and now there’s even more competition with people looking for jobs,” said Cameron.
“It’s really hard to be a part of a community when you don’t know how long you’re going to be there.”
While Cameron is going to miss his role at the radio station, the community will miss him right back, with an outpouring of support on Facebook following the news that he would no longer be with the station.
“It was good for my ego, It was really nice to see because some days you never know if anyone’s listening,” said Cameron.
“It was nice to see that and that I may have touched a life or two and maybe made a little bit of a difference.”
If he has one parting message, it’s to keep supporting local and supporting the community, and to thank the community for their years of support.
“I just want to thank the whole town, it’s been such a great experience and I’ve had such fun getting to know everybody.
“I just wish everyone well. I wish I could get on there one last time just to say thank you.”