Vickie Van Dyke

BA '77

Radio DJ wins Broadcaster of the Year

Vickie Van Dyke.Vickie Van Dyke, BA '77 loves music and her job as a DJ on the Hamilton-based smooth jazz radio station, Wave FM (94.7 FM). Apparently her listeners and colleagues love her as well as earlier this year, Vickie was nominated as Broadcaster of the Year, by the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. Vickie was thrilled at the nomination and as the other nominees are male, Vickie is certain of her victory.

If it was meant to go to a man, they would have called it the GUYcaster of the Year Award.

jokes Vickie. Vickie and her fellow guy-nominees will know the winner later this month.

Vickie is a natural performer and is perfectly suited for her job as a DJ. She spent her youth acting in community theatre and high school drama productions and headed to Waterloo to study in the drama department.

There was no other option for me,

says Vickie proudly, as the University of Waterloo is a bit of a family tradition. Her father was a professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, her mother taught in the Department of English, both her nephew and niece are current students and she is rooting for her twelve year old son to end up on campus one day in the future.

Throughout university she sang and played in a band and after graduation she focused most of her energy on making and performing music, where she sang "everything from pop to rock to oldies to country rock." She recorded some country originals and began to tour Canada. To promote her music, she arranged interviews at radio stations whenever she could. During one visit a DJ told her she "gave good mic" and suggested if she ever was to give up on singing, she should think about a career in radio. While this natural chanteuse was not prepared to give up on music, she did use her charm and experiences in the music industry to find a way in through the back door to DJing. CKDS in Hamilton hired her as a part time DJ in 1989, and her career has been growing ever since.

Vickie has worked in both country and jazz radio, and is extremely passionate about her work. She quips,

I get to talk, play fantastic music, meet interesting people, sing the music I love, interact with the best listeners on the planet, attend cool concerts and events, and branch out into many other avenues. What's not to love?

Indeed.

There is an old stereotype that DJ's are just frustrated musicians but not in the case of Vickie. She performs regularly but focuses on jazz these days, "including old jazz standards, smooth jazz (like Norah Jones and Diana Krall) and pop jazz (like Van Morrison)." She sings with a quartet several times a month and performs at private parties and weddings. Vickie has even expanded her interests into writing and comedy. She has written hundreds of songs in several different genres, written a romance novel which is currently unpublished, has just completed a cabaret-style musical and is working on a semi-autobiographical work. She formerly wrote a newspaper column entitled "Country Corner" for the Hamilton Spectator (during the days she worked at a Hamilton country music radio station) and even wrote the script for the Canadian Country Music Awards one year. As for the comedic elements of her life, Vickie says she plays that role quite well in her radio show.

I don't take anything too seriously and you just never know what might fly out of my mouth, much to the consternation and occasional delight of my boss.

She believes that

radio should be a wonderful, relaxing and fun accompaniment to a person's day

and is doing her best to bring that to her listeners.

There are perks to a life in radio and Vickie enjoys the public relations work she does off-air such as introducing performers at concerts and attending award shows.

I love going to awards shows--such a great excuse to buy fancy clothes!

Her next awards show appearance and fancy-clothes-purchase excuse will be later this month at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, hosted in Oakville, Ontario. Vickie will be presenting the award for Best Male Vocalist in addition to possibly winning Broadcaster of the Year - an honour she would love to have. Whether she wins or not, her genuine enthusiasm and delight she takes in her job will continue, as clearly this is the job Vickie was meant to do - bringing music and witty commentary to listeners who love music. Our fingers are crossed for Vickie.

Written by Jude Doble, Office of Alumni Affairs.

This just in...Vickie was awarded Broadcaster of the Year. Congratulations Vickie!

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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