After 36.8 years in the local radio business, broadcaster Doug Jones tried to retire quietly, but Prince George simply wouldn’t let him.
After 36.8 years in the radio business, broadcaster Doug Jones tried to quietly exit.
Little did he know that Prince George wouldn’t let him retire without a fuss.
“It was overwhelming – the response I received after announcing my retirement,” Jones said with a small smile and a nod of disbelief.
He planned to quit the Rewind Radio morning show on 99.3 The Drive this summer to make him a 37-year-old peer.
“I call it 36.8 but I’m not sure that’s mathematically correct, but my wife, Lisa, said I wasn’t staying until June – we have places to go,” Jones laughed.
So he left.
Jones calls Lisa “the sexy lady,” so he’s happy to be with her wherever their new trailer takes them. She’s been retired for just over a year and has been patiently waiting for Jones to join her ever since.
“Whichever direction we leave the aisle is the direction we will go first,” Jones said of the travel plans. Not all of their trips will be this spontaneous, but for now, that’s how it is, he added.
“I haven’t been north of Dawson Creek or west of Smithers since I’ve been here,” admitted Jones somewhat sheepishly. They will therefore explore more remote parts of British Columbia right away.
But let’s go back to the beginning. To start his career here, Jones came from Ontario where he started his broadcasting career about 45 years ago in Wawa – no, seriously, it’s a real place. Then I went to Thunder Bay and Guelph, then took the radio job here in Prince George.
Like many who came here for work, the intention was to stay a year or two and move on.
The main inspiration for staying in PG all these years?
“The sexy woman,” Jones deadpanned. “That’s why I stayed in Prince George.”
And what will he miss most about this job?
“People, of course,” Jones said of his many colleagues and those he interacted with as listeners to his ever-popular morning radio show. “That was the best part about it. The camaraderie and the jokes, that’s what I’m going to miss the most.
Mike Benny, another station broadcaster, had a huge influence on Jones’ life before Benny died in 2021 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.
“It was all about PMA with Mike,” Jones recalled. “Positive mental attitude was his approach and he was a huge influence on me and just a great friend. He was always looking to bring out the best in something, never the negative. Working with Mike Benny was just amazing.
Until his last week on the job, Jones was known to bring muffins to station staff. He would buy them or bake them – depending on the day and he was going through a healthy phase when creating his muffins – stupid Jones – and when Benny bit one his response was polite but definitive.
“Not enough milk in the world…” Jones recalls Benny saying about the reduced-sugar muffin.
“As Christmas, Mike bought me a 101 muffin cookbook for Christmas, so every 10 pages or so he had put little notes ‘don’t forget the sugar! “”Jones smiled. “I still have that book.”
His latest recipe for his (in)famous bran muffins includes raisins, craisins and pumpkin seeds – much better.
Jones fondly remembers the couches outside broadcast booths where co-workers would gather after work to debrief, brainstorm and just throw the breeze.
“It’s been so much fun working with so many different people,” Jones said. “It was a community in the building.”
And listeners, Jones added. Ah, listeners.
“It just blows my mind,” Jones said. “Having this relationship with the listener – you don’t see them, you don’t know their names, and they’re driving the car and it’s a one-way conversation and you want to include them so you try to say something that they think and make them go ha-ha-ha (giving a chuckle) and if you’ve done that, you’ve done your job.
And it has seen so many technological advancements over the years.
Whether it’s literally cutting and recording an audio tape to edit a copy or digital advancements that have shifted the focus from physical content creation to focusing instead on its quality as a priority.
It was never clearer to Jones that it didn’t matter what bells and whistles and other sound effects were used when he was trying to make a fun pre-recorded track.
He put this piece on the airways, so proud of what he had done. But while waiting for a reaction, there was only radio silence.
Shortly after, Jones told a silly, off-the-cuff story about how his son sneezed at the dinner table and the resulting hilarity. He was bowled over by the reaction from his audience – people even stopped him in the street to tell him how much they loved the story.
Take-out? Relevant content is king.
“Lesson learned,” Jones said.
Jones is almost 67 and looks back on his professional life with great fondness.
“And my whole career has been about slipping up – just being clumsy,” Jones smiled. “And it’s been awesome.”