26 / Winter 2013 / RECORD
not imagine doing it for the rest of her life,
so she signed up for a one-year post-graduate
journalism program at a local university.
"When I started, people said, `Oh, the pro-
gram is so busy,' but after going to school
part time and working full time, it was no
problem. I worked two part time jobs there
besides," she says.
After graduation she landed a summer job at
CBC Fredericton, then a one-year contract
in Prince Rupert, BC before moving back
to Fredericton. Six years ago she signed on
at CBC Moncton. Although a Commerce
degree may seem an odd fit for a career in
journalism, Blanch says much of what she
learned is applicable to what she does now.
"Any education is helpful in this business,"
she says. "Our job is to take something and
quickly learn what it is, then boil it down,
and accurately, and hopefully in an interest-
ing way, share that with listeners. A Com-
merce degree is a lot about case studies and
boiling them down and marketing is a lot
Beard has a degree in history and went on to
do a Master's in journalism.
"I feel Mount A offered me a lot of leader-
ship skills," she says. "I was really involved
at Mount Allison in a lot of different clubs
in different capacities. Plus the writing
skills I learned there were invaluable for
my career today."
Like Beard, Khalil Akhtar ('03) developed
his love of radio behind the microphone at
"I got my first job at CBC in the summer of
2002, fresh out of school for the summer," he
says. "I think I was expecting more of a cleri-
cal job, making coffee, photocopying things.
I was on air within a day, and a month later I
became a news reporter."
Akhtar never looked back. He worked at
CBC Moncton until 2008, then pitched a
radio program about food he called
to the network. It did not get picked up at
the time -- though it did turn into a pro-
The Main Ingredient in 2010 --
and it did land Akhtar a weekly syndicated
radio column on food issues that airs across
"English literature may not be an obvious
path into journalism... but, English litera-
ture, at its core, teaches critical thinking and
critical writing and that is central to good
journalism," he says. "Aside from the aca-
demics, I credit CHMA for my path to
journalism. Walking into the CBC and say-
ing, `I've done radio,' is a big step up. There
is something to be said for the basic logistics
of being able to use a microphone and being
able to tell a story on the radio."
Akhtar now calls Victoria, BC home. He
hosts the morning show
On The Island as
well as the afternoon program
West, and fills in for regional hosts across the
country as needed.
One of the top jobs at CBC Radio is the
newscaster for the
World at Six, a job Bob
Oxley ('59) held for a number of years before
his retirement in 1996.
"I worked in Toronto from 1973 until I
retired," he says. "I did a bit of television and
several different radio programs and then
ended up in the news department. I had
never read the news in my life, but I worked
on the morning newscast formerly called the
World at Eight then on the World at Six."
Oxley says public broadcasting is something
he deeply believes in.
"I'm not sure it is understood as well as it
should or ought to be," he says. "I liked the
fact that I could be reading the news right
across the country. I did it live five times
every night and I always felt that I was
in Manitoba or BC or Newfoundland and
Labrador, or wherever."
Blanch also says that link with listeners is
what keeps her getting out of bed at 4 a.m.
"I love being on the radio," she says. "It is a
real connection you have with people even
though you don't know it at the time."
University Chancellor Peter Mansbridge and CBC personality Shelagh Rogers (LLD '11)
tweet from 2011 Convocation ceremonies.
Mount Allison alumni at the CBC
Suzanne Blake ('85)
former CBC sports
broadcaster; first woman to host a
national hockey broadcast on CBC; first
female host of national morning sports
Nina Corfu ('05)
producer Maritime Noon,
Janna Graham ('01)
current affairs reporter, CBC Yellowknife
Brian McHugh ('84)
co-host, West Coast
Morning Show, CBC Corner Brook
host, All Points West,
CBC British Columbia; former host of
Information Morning, CBC Moncton
Matt Tunnacliffe ('96)
Q with Jian Ghomeshi
Christine Manore ('90)
former producer Radio Canada Moncton