Sudbury

One on One with Markus - Gary Beech

Toward the end of high school, Gary Beech didn’t exactly have a plan as to what he was going to do after graduation.

Beech started his career at CHNO in 1981

After decades on the airwaves in Sudbury, Gary Beech will retire this week from working in radio. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Toward the end of high school, Gary Beech didn't exactly have a plan as to what he was going to do after graduation.

He was in the middle of grade 13 when he met up with a friend who was attending Canadore College's radio and television course.

She expressed her love for the field and Beech asked her a very important question: "Is there a lot of homework involved?"

She said there wasn't so that helped Beech decide what he would do next. After more than 30 years on air, Beech is retiring this week as one of the morning show hosts on Roger's KISS FM in Sudbury.

He managed to land his first job as a reporter at CHNO in 1981 in Sudbury. His passion for the business was evident from the start as they offered him a starting salary of $8,100.

"And I said, 'Wait a minute, and I get to go on the radio?'" he recalled saying.

"I couldn't believe that I would actually be getting paid for this."

Throughout his career, he's seen many changes in the business, including the number of people he works with.

"Look at the newsroom that we had at that time, we had 13 people in the newsroom," he said.

"[There] was a union reporter, you'd have your school board reporter, you'd have your city council reporter, the police beat reporter — all of those areas were covered because, don't forget, at that time at 8 am we'd have a 15 minute newscast."

In 1993, he left the newsroom and went into the host chair. Since then he's shared the booth with many co-hosts, including Rich Griffin. In 2015, Griffin died at the age of 52 due to a brain aneurysm.

Beech and Griffin co-hosted for 14 years.

"It's still tough," he said.

As for what's next, Beech says he's looking forward to retirement and not having to get up early for the morning show.

"Sleep [will] be a big part of it," he said with a laugh.

"I'll be volunteering. Maybe a little bit of travelling."

This week, One on one with Markus features an interview with a private radio broadcaster. Gary Beech has been in the business in Sudbury for 32 years. If not from the radio, you might know Gary for his community work or as a play by play commentator for the Sudbury Wolves on the local cable channel. This is Gary's last week before retiring. He joined Markus Schwabe for an extended chat about his youth, his education, his work... and family. 16:01

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