Well I don’t know about the rest of you, but the Morning News isn’t going to be the same to me anymore without the smiling face of Chestermere’s own Bruce McAllister bringing the news info our home every morning; sharing it with us like a friend talking over his cup of coffee at our Tim Horton’s.
For about the past six years I had got pretty used to spending my first hour of the day watching Bruce McAllister and the rest of the morning news team bring me up to date with what was happing in the community and around the world while I had morning coffee and got ready to go to work. I quite enjoyed the family type banter that the news team displayed, keeping the news both interesting and understandable.
I noticed as Angela Kokott, Todd Gallant, and Josh Grobberman all vanished, and when I found Bruce gone too, I contacted him to see if I could get the scoop.
McAllister has become a very familiar face in Chestermere. In the course of covering Community Events Anchor staff, including myself have noticed him pitching in as a volunteer at most of the major community and social events and charities so he wasn’t very hard to track down.
When I reached him by phone he said “Hey this day is great, I am dropping off my daughter for her first day of kindergarten because I’ve got the time now, but I’d be happy to meet you for coffee after.”
When we did meet up, my first question of course was “what happened”?
McAllister told me that he could not really talk about specifics, but he had been in contract negations with Global when they opted not to renew his contract.
“You always know you can never be sure of the outcome of contract negotiations”, McAllister told me. “I was really trying strike a better balance between my work and family life. Starting at 5:30 am and working the Morning News and then doing the Noon News kept me from participating in a lot of things with my family. I needed more balance.”
“We weren’t that far apart financially with regard to the contract, but our family life is built on our faith and principals; I stuck to my principals and ultimately we couldn’t come to common ground”
When asked, McAllister told me that he would have liked to stayed with the show, but that was just not to be.
“I would have really liked to say good-bye to my viewers”, McAllister commented, “I wasn’t given the opportunity”.
“There are some great things happening in my life at the same time”, McAllister was quick to point out. “Our 17 year old son Mitch just made the Calgary Canucks and played his first junior game last week, our daughter started kindergarten this week, and Lisa [my wife] is going to have our new baby in a week and a half”.
When I asked McAllister what he was going to next, he told me he wasn’t sure yet.
“We love Chestermere”, he told me. “This is our home. We got here via broadcasting jobs with Global in Halifax and Victoria, and when we got here we fell in love with the community. We want to stay here in Chestermere, but if I stay in broadcasting, that may not be an option. I really have to look at all my options first.”
I know that this writer is not the only one who would like to know more about what’s going on. A quick peruse of some facebook and twitter feeds show a groundswell of disappointment and well wishes to McAllister and the other members of the staff that have left this year. Global morning news is still worth watching, its just “not the same”.
This paper was going to cover the story of McAllister running for Chestermere council in the last round of municipal elections, but the story stopped short of press time when had sadly told us that his employers at Global deemed it a conflict of interest with his position and he ended up not filing papers to run.
I wonder if politics might be a place where someone with the well being of his community, and a real caring about what goes on in the world might end up?