By Chad Ingram
That voice. That unmistakable, instantly identifiable voice.
For nearly 18 years, Mike Jaycock has been a foundational personality and ubiquitous presence at Canoe FM, the county’s volunteer community radio station. In short order, Mike and wife Jane are moving from the county to be closer to family in southern Ontario. And while that’s undoubtedly exciting news for their family, it’s less exciting, perhaps bittersweet, perhaps sad for listeners of Canoe FM.
It is difficult to overstate Mike’s contributions to the station, and the community of Haliburton County at large, during the past many years. As I reported a couple of weeks ago in a story about his departure, for a decade, Mike hosted Canoe FM’s morning show five days a week. With a professional background in radio, Mike brought a level of professionalism to that morning show that one might not necessarily expect from a volunteer radio station. I remember his initial stepping back from the morning show very well, because I happened to be on Canoe FM’s programming committee at the time. I’m not going to call it an “oh **** moment,” but there was certainly a sense of, “what do we do now?” Where do you find someone willing to get up early enough to volunteer their time to host a morning program every weekday, let alone someone with a professional background in broadcasting to boot? It’s like looking for a unicorn.
In subsequent years, Mike continued to remain heavily involved in the station, hosting a Friday afternoon show, interviewing local politicians, and returning to the morning show chair. We’re talking about thousands of shows, folks. Thousands of them. Thousands upon thousands of hours spent on the air, and countless more researching, writing and preparing. All volunteer time. Let that sink in.
Then there were the contributions off the air, not just mentoring and coaching other volunteer hosts at the station, but lending his public speaking abilities to essentially any organization that asked for his help. I can’t even begin to guess the number of concerts, auctions, galas, award ceremonies, events of all kinds that I’ve seen Mike host over the years.
Mike was also one of the founders of the Haliburton Highlands Christmas Shindig, an annual variety show that is a fundraiser for Fuel for Warmth, which helps Haliburton County residents heat their homes through the winter. Mike’s alter ego, the magnificent Dame Beatrice, hosts the show and its most recent incarnation set a record, raising more than $60,000.
I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in the Shindig a couple of times as a performer, and while this year’s show was obviously different in its setup because of the pandemic, I remember a Shindig from a few years ago, which took place at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. I remember Mike, dressed as Dame Beatrice – in a wig, bejewelled glasses, dress and high heels – backstage before that show, yucking it up with and giving pep talks to performers. That’s certainly a memory I’ll carry with me for a long time.
Thank you, Mike, for your incredible contribution to this community. To throw your own catch line back at you, “Without you, it just ain’t radio.”