Reach/Entertainment

The thunderstorms have stopped.  We didn’t have the power outages like Toronto had Sunday night luckily.

I would complain, but just for kicks I thought “maybe I’ll see what the weather is like where Toni is right now”.  She is the weather girl after all.

Costa Rica’s 5 day forecast: Scattered thunderstorms today, tomorrow and Thursday.  Oh, and the same weather for Friday and Saturday.  Damn.  When you cover weather, that’s some bad luck. LOL.

Today’s part of the interview starts off with the reach of NTV.  If you’ve wondered why their weather forecast always mentions Tampa Bay, Florida when they show North America there is a reason.

Also talk about when she started covering entertainment.  Originally she was a news reporter but you’ll read how that wasn’t suited for her.

—-
ROB:    Now for those who might not have the seen the station. You have several jobs. You are a news anchor, Sunday evenings and noon hour weekdays. And you do the weather reports, 6pm Monday to Thursday.

TONI:   Which are live. Actually they’re live hits in the community. And I read radio news still. I also write a bi-weekly column for our sister magazine called the Newfoundland Herald. That’s over sixty years old now.

We have a lot of viewers in Ontario and throughout the country.

A lot of Newfoundlanders moved to Ontario twenty, thirty years ago. I dare you to find somebody from Ontario who doesn’t know someone from Newfoundland.

We are on satellite, on Bell Express Vu and Star Choice. So, we’re seen by Ex Patriot Newfoundlanders across the country and in the United States as well.  They get to stay connected with home and see how Newfoundland has grown up quite a bit since they’ve left.

ROB:    I know at least in some cities that NTV has also started popping up on digital cable.  Ontario, Alberta among some places.

TONI:   The oddest thing happened to me several years ago. I was visiting British Columbia, which is a beautiful province. I was on Vancouver Island and with some people who lived in Nanaimo. We went into a big box store and in the television section, NTV was on. That was a little strange. But it was really nice.

ROB:    It’s also on in the Caribbean.

TONI:   Yes, and in Tampa Bay, Florida. A lot of people across Canada and Newfoundland winter in Florida.  Because of that I guess there’s a market for it.

ROB:    I found that station online, I think about a year ago. And they even have a live stream, you can technically watch NTV online. They show, the Noon news and half of the 6 o’clock news. I was here at the station one night, just before my show. And I thought to try the feed and I watched a half hour of the news here on the computer. I think it’s mostly Greek programming of all things.

TONI:   Yes, it’s a Greek television station.

ROB:    So NTV is all over the place.

TONI:   We are. I’m sure when Mr. Sterling, started this station many decades ago he never dreamed it would be seen around North America.

I’m sure he wished it would but it’s come a long way. And people are really embracing the station. We have fans across the country who have no real connection to Newfoundland. They stumbled on it and enjoyed watching our news.

Before stations went digital, when everything was still analog people could pick us up anywhere. We used to get fan mail from places like Montana and Kentucky.

We got a photo from a nudist colony. Because many years ago we would say, “If you’re watching us from somewhere else in the country or throughout North America, send us a picture of your group. And we’ll put it on TV.”

Well, that picture we couldn’t actually put on TV but we did mention it.

ROB:    I know you have won several awards for your other job you at the station covering the local arts scene.  You have also Entertainment News, which a program you tape during the week and airs on Saturday nights.

TONI:   That’s right.

ROB:    So, this must be one of the more rewarding parts of the job. Helping support music and the arts.

TONI:   Absolutely. I would dare you to find a person who at some point in their childhood maybe didn’t want to be a rock star, or an actress or a dancer. I wanted to be all of those things… unfortunately I don’t sing very well. I don’t act very well. And I really am not a very good dancer.

So, for me to be able to meet all of these artistic people is such a thrill. To be able to sit down with someone like Teresa Ennis who is such a talented and beautiful woman. To talk to her about her music is fantastic.

I remember when she and her sisters were first signed to Warner Music. We were at an East Coast Music Association conference. And they were very young girls at that time. They kind of looked at me like a big sister for that moment in time. We all kind of bonded during that weekend.

And then they were signing their first record deal. It was really exciting for me too, and emotional. Even though I’m supposed to be this hardnosed TV person, I do get caught up with the people I interview. It’s great to see how well Teresa has done. It’s a beautiful thing to have been able to watch her grow since the beginning.

Damhnait Doyle is another. The first time I interviewed her, I guess she was about eighteen years old. And I mean she’s another fantastic talent. And to see how far she’s come.

ROB:    What was it like doing your entertainment reports when you started? I know originally you were doing news and then moved over to covering the arts.

TONI:   Yes, which was great for me and for the station. We’re supposed to be these hardnosed kinds of people in many ways. You’re not supposed to become personally involved or care about the people you interview.

It was quite difficult for me doing news stories and having to ask people questions that made them uncomfortable or made them upset. I really wasn’t that great at it.

If I was interviewing somebody and they didn’t want to answer the question I wouldn’t ask the question another way like most smart news reporters will do. I would just kind of say, “Oh that’s okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ask you that question.”

That doesn’t fly when you’re a news reporter, at least not with the news director. They thought that I was a great writer and that I could read and speak well. That I had great creative ideas, but probably not for news.

They allowed me to explore the entertainment field. They didn’t have anyone covering entertainment on a full-time basis at that point. That became my new job, in addition to the anchoring roles and radio roles that I had. But it was great. I’ve been doing that now for many years. And I think it’s the best thing that ever could have happened to me or for the company.

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