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And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?"

        There was a time in radio when knowing and caring about the music you played really mattered, especially at campus radio. We felt a responsibility to the audience. That tenuous connection was dissolved slowly by the forces of the marketplace. Not many noticed the gradual devolution but I did. Back in 76 though, we were drowning in music and attitude. The thrill of radio is most sweet when you do things for the first time. It’s chilling, and it’s raw because the chance of failure is so outrageously high. I got used to the failure bits since I was having so much fun trying stuff out. It was trial and error in service of being a better communicator and getting to know the gear. That's my excuse and I am sticking with it. After a few years of this type of thrill riding and a few CKCU-FM On Air awards, it was time for me to ditch my real job. At the time I was a sad clerk at a liquor store afraid to let go of his first serious job. But one day I got a call. It was a monday, the day we received our liquor shipments. We were pilling up the Smirnoff 40's near the conveyor belt in the basement. It was THE out of town major Rock Radio station on the line wanting to talk to me! CHOM FM!

        I was asked after a little bit of awkward chit chat if I wanted to work in big league radio (for about half the salary I was then earning at the liquor store.) Alas, some aspects of radio never change.



     Anyway, it was the sign I had been waiting for. I said no thanks to the low ball wage but my heart shouted a life changing YES!

- Back to school days

         I quit my job and went back to school. Algonquin College was an important transitional experience as it threw me headlong into something I had only flirted with at campus radio. It was 1980 and I was back in school studying Radio & Television.

Michael Anthony on the lawn of Algonquin College 1980
Clio Award awarded to Michael Anthony in 1981

       Norm Wright who was a tough old piece of broadcast gristle and one of the profs then, sensed that my 4 years at CKCU had obviated any need to spend time in first year radio and suggested I help him with the other students on the radio side and an A grade could be arranged. Fair trade I thought so I focused my energy on the Television component and helped out as best I could on the radio side. Funny how life is sometimes… I produced the Central Canada TV Broadcasting award winning show that second year at college and had a part time tech job working at what was known as Skyline Cablevision on weekends. I hyper focused on the television component. A group of us used to videotape and interview the latest bands too as I kept my involvement in campus radio on simmer… bands like XTC, the Jam, Stranglers and many more kept us hopping and editing.  MTV and MuchMusic still didn’t exist.  Nearing the end of second year I applied for a director job at Global television but lost out to Don, a good friend from my grad year. It was decision time. I was graduated without job prospects. Fortunately a collection of CKCU mates had started a creative production agency and they needed a sound engineer. They were willing to hire me even though they knew of my desire to get into TV. The best way to describe our group is to say we were an alternative ad agency; no white shoes or shiny suits. Sound Venture Productions was a great testing ground for me. Once in a while, usually when the main voice was off, I would step behind the microphone. I produced an ad that won a Clio award which was a big deal for us at the time. As intense as this time was, it was obvious when it was time to move on up.

-The Clio Award from 1982

          My voice got noticed and one day I got a call from another CKCU colleague who now worked upstairs in our building. SVP was creating on the 2nd floor at 126 York St. CHEZFM was on the fifth floor.  CHEZ was the progressive 100,000 watt FM powerhouse looking for on air staff. I was a tough negotiator ( or so I delude myself into thinking) and made sure that I didn’t have to “sell out” and play the music I didn’t like. What a quaint idea when i think of it now,,,playing the music you liked.  Somehow it was agreed that I got to pick my own music and in fact that was the case more or less, for about a decade.

          Back then I would start my afternoons with some new vinyl which gave me about 3 minutes to find and cue up the next song. And on it went song to song… it was my own seat of the pants party and it worked mostly! It was the kind of flow you could never imagine in most jobs. I had it going on slipping from song to guest interviews, to live news, to spot clusters to live promos…and on it went for a decade.  I got comfortable in the afternoons and CHEZ-FM  was the right thing at the right time for Ottawa and for me. About 5 years in, I began hosting a television music show with the local CTV affiliate for a few seasons and did many interviews with acts coming through town both live on radio and for television…sometimes at the same time. The list of people I got to speak to was a who’s who of 80’s and 90’s bands : SR Vaughan ,Tears for Fears , Bryan Adams , R.E.M. , U2 , Midnight Oil and all manner of up and coming acts. I remember one schizo day I talked to Kajagoogoo and Dee from Twisted Sister on the same day!

-Huey and Me

               CHEZ gradually gave the competitive market more credit than it likely deserved and it was decided we would reduce ourselves to one area of the music sandbox called Classic Rock. With the passing of time I can appreciate how this made perfect business sense but to someone who still loved discovering and supporting new music it was tough to get fully behind the decision. All at once my incredible passion was more like just a decent job. I was still busy voicing more than my share of ads for the radio station and at this point was popular enough as a voice artist that I was approached by the top agency in the city. I started working with all kinds of different creative people outside of my radio gig. One of the best parts of radio then was the diversity of the day to day. I was kept very busy representing the radio station in the 15 years I was on air. 

Michael Anthony interviewing Huey Lewis at SuperEX during the Sports Album tour


           Public speaking and making conversation became second nature.  One night, introducing Ozzy Osbourne at the Civic Center and the next morning part of a grade 8 classroom discussion at career day. Radio today is a shadow of what it was. Many peers back then had to move around a lot to hold onto their gigs and today many college programs that feed the radio talent pool are simply closing down. I was one of the lucky ones to have landed at CHEZ-FM when I did. All things must pass though and pass they did, The family foundation and feel of CHEZ, forged over 2 decades gave way to market forces.  Consolidation came as a relief for me in the form of Rogers Inc. Truth was, I was quite bored with what we had become. By this point another opportunity had made itself known to me. I was creatively rescued by a small group at the CBC where music discovery was to be valued and my love affair with music could be rekindled. Galaxie was just an idea when I joined them. It was an embryonic concept that our tiny team developed into 30 channels of music. It was to be sold to carriers like Bell, Videotron and Shaw cable. Galaxie was well outside the traditional media silos at CBC and became part of "business affairs". In hindsight, what a lucky stroke that was. We would have been crushed by the rigidity and power dynamics of CBC Radio. Galaxie had a year’s grace to conceive, then test, then grow a team to support the ability to build a  catalogue of music of many genres and the protocols to program all this correctly for our customers. When I think back, it was my good fortune that CHEZ turned  “corporate” when it did. It forced me to get very good at automated music scheduling through software called Selector. I was initially very resistant. In fact, the more I resisted, the more the GM at CHEZ, Chuck Azzarello pushed me to get better at it. He was right. It was the future and I ended up being a bilingual consultant for Selector years later. Selector became a key component of the success of Galaxie. Personally, it's an example of how opportunity lies inside every moment. Adversity can be your teacher. For the next 15 years, Galaxie gave me the freedom to love music and work with like minded people across the country from my home studio. It also afforded me the flexibility to delve deeper into voicework. 

Michael Anthony and veteran CHEZ staff in skeleton of building designed by Michael Anthony before the Rogers takeover

-Mike the builder

Michael ANthony in tudio filing and listening to music for Galaxie

    -Mike the listener

           The most fulfilling things I did while I worked in radio was to design and project manage the building of  the CHEZ Radio group complex. We had grown to 5 stations when we were forced to relocate by a greedy landlord from the long standing 126 York Street in the colourful Byward Market here in Ottawa. I have always loved architecture and I am also a reasonable handy man so I was taken off the air and entrusted with the responsibility of design and project management of the new facility. To this day I am proud to say we built the most comprehensive broadcast facility in the country on time and on budget. It was a crowning achievement for me. But, within 3 years CHEZ Inc. was purchased by Rogers Inc. who then decided to sell the property to a condo developer. I remember watching the wrecking ball tear down my beautiful building. It was a type of karmic closure for me...the end of my radio adventure. I have the love and trust of Chuck Azzerello to thank for my great years at CHEZ and for giving me the chance to build an incredible media campus. Even though our building did not survive the Rogers accountants, it gave me the courage to build our own family home afterwards. Colleen and I thought about it for a long time and after a few false starts, we were able to find the right lot and come up with a design we could both love.  By the time this home project began I was a few years into Galaxie. It was a hugely busy time in my career  as I got to be the live OnCam announcer for the 2003 Juno Awards with Shania Twain, which turned out to be my audition to be announcer for the Ottawa Senators.

Michael Anthony as the voice of the Ottawa Senators

Go Sens Go

Michael Anthony's AERIE Communications studio.

Aerie studio

         I was with YOURRRR OTTAWAAAA SENATORSSSS for 4 years. In the same period I was the host of a popular television show called BUY ME out of Montreal which ran for 10 seasons on HGTV. Looking back, I don’t know how I squeezed it all in. By this point in my voice work career I had also built up my imaging/promo base for radio stations across Canada to 25. Clients included TheEDGE , Toronto and TheFOX in Vancouver. I was also travelling out of market to work on richer audio projects for National Geographic, Discovery, the IMAX movie platform and other International clients. With my CHEZ years behind me and now as Director of Programming at Galaxie, I had built credibility in the music industry. I began to serve as judge/jury for the Juno awards, the Polaris awards, the Governor General Performing Arts award, Rising Stars, CMW panels and many more. It was all completely joyous and all consuming. 

Michael Anthony and family at Red Pine Camp Ottawa

Mike @ RPC

Michael Anthony MC for United Way Campaign

Mike is MC

         In spite of the busyness, I made room for family and community although if I am honest Colleen carried a lot of that responsibility. Career will gobble up all your time if you let it. I do have some fond memories that I will always treasure of our beautiful 3 kids as they flashed through their childhood, into their teens and beyond... I did have a life outside of career, and was part of many charitable institutions in the city. I am Past President for ABLE2 in Ottawa. I still support many charities locally and internationally including SOS Children’s Villages, Can GO Afar, UNHCR and the local United Way. Family and good friends provided the balance to a busy work life. 

Michael Anthony and Galaxie staff say goodbye to Alain Pineau

-The Galaxie Fond Farewell

        After radio, Galaxie was part 2 of Mike's Music Adventure, The steady growth and solid team of people at Galaxie led by Alain Pineau made that possible, The overwhelming success of Galaxie led to its purchase from the CBC by Stingray in Montreal. I joined Stingray as VP of Content.  I had great hopes for the next iteration of this amazing music enterprise we had built. In any case, enthusiasm got ahead of the reality.

          After 18 months of intense transitional work and forward thinking technical development with a great group of programmers at Stingray, it became obvious that product quality was not going to be the corporate priority so it was time for me to move on. It was 2012 and time for something new. I did have a second shot with CBC. This time as the Executive Director of Music for the CBC. Sounds fancy and all, but it really was not. The reprise was mercifully short. 

         Since graduating from Algonquin, I had had the time of my life, and now, I had time in my life. That was a new vibe and initially it caused anxiety for me and the people I love. But, I came to realize at some point that free time was a luxury I had earned. I got over myself eventually. I saw  how lucky I was and settled right down. I could now help a friend negotiate her home building project (which I did). I might get to a nagging reno at home or swing a hammer for family and friends (did that too!). Maybe I would cycle to the Gatineau Park lookout if the weather looked promising or listen to music I loved instead of music I should listen to because of the incessant need to stay on top of what's hot. I started reading books in the middle of a sunny day with Satie or Eno bubbling in the background or taking a long paddle on a wild river with good friends. I also studied, certified and then joined the Canadian Ski Patrol for a few years which brought me in contact with a great group of people. I got involved in many things that my former life would never have allowed for simple lack of time. Between the cross country skiing regimen and the cycling with my new and old friends I am probably more active now than ever. After a few years of doing it on my own, I completed the Canadian Ski Marathon with my son Cal in 2013 and then with my daughter Marley in 2016. She is a budding real estate entrepreneur now and busy mother of 2. Our eldest daughter Wallis is following her passion for singing into a  worldwide Opera career. We love to see her do her thing and it's a great excuse to travel! Macallan has jumped from camp councilor into a busy life post University as a geomatics wiz for our federal government and an excited new dad. He is launched and ready for takeoff. So yes, Colleen and me have done our job.

Michael Anthony and Marley Giunta at CSM 2016
Michael Anthony's daughter Wallis Giunta on cover of Opera Canada Magazine January 2017
Michael Anthony's wife Colleen Wrighte teaches yoga in Tuscany 2014
Michael Anthony's son Macallan has a cold dip at Camp Ponacka in Bancroft Ontario

          My love, Colleen and I continue to extend our life adventure together post kids.. We two are one in so many ways. She leads yoga retreats so we travel wherever her many and varied retreats take us. So far she has organized group trips with fascinating people to Bali, Scotland, Italy, Spain, the Caribbean, India, Ireland, the Azores, Croatia and other exotic locales.                                                          Today, my main purpose is to serve others, which may include carrying a yoga mat or reading a story to one of our 5 grandchildren. It could also be to tell your story or communicate your message...I've gotten real good at that.

         As Ian Anderson said on the first Jethro Tull album, "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all".... so get out there, ça va tellement vite !

Michael Anthony serves a cold soave in Tuscany in 2014 at Colleen Wrighte's yoga retreat.
Michael Anthony and his family travel the iceline trail in Yoho National Park in 2010

 - The adventure continues....

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