General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsWAB honours the best of prairie broadcasting

WAB honours the best of prairie broadcasting

The Western Association of Broadcasters held its 2019 WAB Gold Medal Awards Gala Thursday evening at the Fairmont Banff Springs.

Hosted by Global Calgary’s Linda Olsen, the awards celebrated the best in Prairie broadcasting. 

The evening was highlighted by presentations to 2019 WAB Hall of Fame Inductees
Boyd Kozak and Bob Ridley.

Kozak’s 59 year-career started right out of high school in 1959 at CFSL-AM Weyburn, SK, quickly moving on to CHAB Radio & TV in Moose Jaw, CFQC-AM Saskatoon and then CKRC-AM Winnipeg where he landed in 1963. He then joined QX104 (CFQX-FM) in 1995 as news and community relations director. He has both participated in, and championed hundreds of fundraising endeavours. He continued as news director and morning newsreader for QX104 up until his retirement in 2018.

Bob Ridley just passed 55 years in broadcasting. Born in Vulcan, AB, Ridley grew up on a farm in the Morrin area. Given a choice between farming and his aspirations for a broadcast career, he chose the latter. He has been the voice of the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club since they came to town in 1970. In 49 years as the play-by-play announcer of the Tigers, he has only missed one game. Within CHAT Radio and Television, where Ridley has been sports director since 1968, he’s also mentored scores of young sportscasters over the years.

Here’s a full list of this year’s award winners:

2019 WAB Gold Medal for Digital Innovation
Jim Pattison Broadcast Group – paNOW
A New ‘NOW’ for Saskatchewan

The team at the Prince Albert bureau launched in 2011. Since then, the site has become THE most read local news source in the province and that success led to the launch of six other portals, including in northern Saskatchewan.  In 2018, they set a new goal to bring readers a more user-friendly site, enhanced with more video, bigger pictures and a less congested page that also offered clients an opportunity to display ads without competition. The team has mastered the ability to provide good news and good advertising on a site that keeps their visitors attention 10 times longer than its competitors. The site’s success is the model for all JPBG news sites in Western Canada. 

2019 WAB Gold Medal for Community Service

(Under 150,000 Market)
Golden West Broadcasting – 107.5 Bolt FM
Humboldt Strong

April 6th, 2018…along with the rest of the world, the team at 107.5 Bolt FM received word of the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus. This hit too close to home as details came in and the staff learned of the loss of two of their colleagues, Tyler Bieber and Brody Hinz. Bolt FM needed support, so Golden West Broadcasting brought in help from throughout their company for their team and their families. The next two weeks were tough. They knew they had to cover the tragedy and the stories that developed, but were also a part of that story. Bolt FM’s role was to lend a voice to the community, making sure that they were aware of the events, opportunities to help and that they weren’t alone. 

(Market 150,000 and Over)

Stingray Digital Group – 840 CFCW
CFCW Calves for Cancer

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute in 2018, CFCW launched a unique fundraising and awareness celebration called CFCW’s Calves for Cancer – a fundraiser that saw farmers donate the sale proceeds from their best calves to further the good work of the Cross Cancer Institute. On the designated sale days, the local auction marts became a place where people shared their cancer journeys and opened their wallets. In some cases, the calves were sold, donated back and re-sold up to four times with all of the money raised going to the Cross Cancer institute.


Global Calgary – Pride Without Prejudice

Pride Without Prejudice intended to share the varied experiences of the diverse LGBTQ community by elevating voices with honesty and empathy. This was a community collaboration based on equalized influence from all who participated. 23 Albertans took part in a sincere conversation about discrimination along with each participant’s hope for a future of less hate and more accepted diversity, highlighting the need for stronger allies. 

2019 WAB Leader of Tomorrow
Jenn Dalen
Stingray Digital Group

Jenn Dalen started with a summer gig at Sun Country 99.7 in High River in 2011. That led to working part-time at stations in Okotoks, Airdrie and High River, both on-air and behind the scenes. At the same time, Dalen was finishing her SAIT diploma, completing her degree in communications at the University of Calgary, coaching kids’ competitive swimming and announcing at swim meets. In 2012 she moved to Leduc, AB to help start a station “from the ground up” (93.1 The One).  A year later, Dalen joined Newcap Radio (Stingray) where she started as a program director for five stations. She has since grown the role to overseeing branding for two networks and 20 stations across Alberta. She also serves as vice president of the Association of Country Music in Alberta, nurturing and promoting Alberta musicians, in addition to sitting on advisory boards for SAIT and NAIT’s radio programs.

Vinka Dubroja

The Western Association of Broadcasters also recognized new Broadcast Order of Achievement recipients celebrating 25 and 50 years of achievement in Canadian broadcasting.  Accepting in person was Vinka Dubroja (Stingray Digital Group) for 25 years and Vic Dubois (Saskatoon Media Group) for 50 years.

The WAB is also pleased to welcome to the special club the following individuals:

Quarter Century Club – 25 Years:

Chris Myers (Harvard), Colin Lovequist (Harvard), David Drake (Pattison), Dori Modney (Pattison),

Doug Falconer (Harvard), Garth Kalin (Pattison), Grant Schutte (Pattison), Jodi Dunphy-Ranki (Pattison), Joyce Ross (Pattison), Lew Harrison (Pattison), Lyle West (Pattison), Steve McPherson (Pattison)

Half Century Club – 50 Years:

Bill McGee (Harvard)


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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