ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Jayson Baxter is the co-host and producer for CTV News at 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Jayson has been working in the industry for nearly three decades and has covered sports, entertainment, and breaking news, but what captivates his heart is his love for the maritimes and the people he serves.
Episode 100 · 10 months ago
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Episode 100 · 10 months ago
#100 Jayson Baxter - CTV News at 5 - Broadcast Journalist - BrianVee WhyWeWork
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Jayson Baxter is the co-host and producer for CTV News at 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Jayson has been working in the industry for nearly three decades and has covered sports, entertainment, and breaking news, but what captivates his heart is his love for the maritimes and the people he serves.
...welcome to why we work with your hostBrian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world as wetogether dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seeminglymissteps, hopes, warnings and advice which will be an encouragement to usall to get up, get going and keep on working. Working is tough, but working is good. Now here is yourhost to why we work. Brian V. I'm Brian V, and this is why we work today. Havethe great pleasure. Speaking with Jason Baxter, Jason is the co host andproducer at CTV News in Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been coveringentertainment, sports and news for over 20 years. I want to find out today howhard it's been to go through the ranks to put in the time and dedication alsowhat he has learned about the people in the Maritimes. Join me today in myconversation with Jason Baxter. I'm Brian V, and this is why we work today.Have the great pleasure speaking with Jason Baxter. Good day, Find, sir. Hey,how you doing, Brian? I'm doing wonderfully well and again. Iappreciate you doing this. Taking the time to talk with me over here in SouthKorea is you sit there and your lovely home in, uh, lower sackful Nova Scotia.Would you do me a favor, Jason? And give us an idea for people who don'tknow the industry that you're in and what it is that you dio. So I'm a broadcast journalist. I'vebeen doing this for 20. I guess this is my 27th year. I've worn a lot ofdifferent hats and had a lot of different roles. Kind of trained to bea television reporter. But for most of the last 20 years, I've been a host andproducer. My current role is on the co host and co producer of CTV news offive, based on the Halifax, um, it broadcast to the three maritimeprovinces on the east coast of Canada. So, Jason, knowing that you're inHalifax working at a Halifax and from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, myhometown as well What would have been your very first job growing up?Something you did. It didn't have to be legit. It could have been making youknow it's, um, lemonade or delivering some papers. What would have been thefirst thing you did as a young man, like like so many others. I was thepaper boy. I had the longest paper route and sacked whole basically all ofthe all of the businesses on both sides of Sacral Drive. And then that I hadthe same well, pretty similar up to make the worst. My buddies would takethem five minutes to deliver the papers. Maybe maybe 15 tops. For me, it waslike over an hour every day. So I got fired, Jason, I was thrown mine in theditch. I'll be honest with you. I should have been fired if my parentsdidn't bail me out financially every time the guy would come to collect themoney because it used to be cleaved sporting goods right there on sockswill drive. Being a sports fan, I would every time I would collect money, I'vebeen going straight mind a new hat or a new baseball glove or my parents theywere like, Okay, enough of this. We can't make this up every week. How oldwere you when you started that? How old were you when you started that Jason? Iwas probably 12. I would say at the time. And then I got a job for one dayat the Disco Deli. That's one of the places I delivered. A just a Just a guythat owned it at the time said, I'm going to give you a job show up heretomorrow I was so excited. I'm like, 13. None of my other friends have a job.But when I got there, my my job was to pick up all the garbage around thestore, which, hey, that's that's that's fine. I pick up garbage now. But whenyou're 13 and your buddies were driving past with your mom, Hong Kong andEurope picking up garbage on Sacral drive Yeah. Did you did you start to dosome other things a little bit? Mawr Long term? Uh, not as a teenager. No eso into highschool. You didn't get a full time job? Yeah, in high school, I guess. Towardsthe end of high school, I started working at menswear store. They don'texist anymore, but Jack Fraser's my high school girlfriend at the time. Hermom knew the manager and anyways got me a job there, and I ended up doing thatoff and on all through through the rest of high school and even in the intocollege, a little bit. So as you're in high school, Jason, and knowing yourcareer is a broadcast. Journalists,...
When did you start to think about youknow, school, what you want to do in college? And how about that leadinginto your career? Well, I took my I took my good sweet time with it. I wasalways the type of kid that read the newspaper from front to back every day.I would watch, you know, I would watch the news, the same station that I wouldwatch that I watch now the same show that I watch now, um, there that Iworked for now live at five. I would watch that as a kid, I was alwaysinterested in current events. I was always a reader, but I was bored inschool and had no idea. I like performing and telling stories andshowing off, but I had no idea how that could translate into a career. And yeah,did two trips in Grade 12 and then took a full three years off before youtravel. The country lived in Vancouver in Quebec City, worked odd jobs on, gotsome life experience and then decided at 22. Okay, You know, I don't wannawork at gas stations and clothing stores for the rest of my life. I wantto do something different. And so what am I What am I going to do? And and sothat that's what kind of pointed me towards. You know what? It's weirdbecause it very soon um what? The thing that made me thinkmaybe about television journalism. Waas It was sort of like the dawn of, like,CNN the first Gulf War on. And I just kept watching CNN every day and andjust thinking like, Wow, this is remarkable. This is live like thesereporters are on the ground telling this important story to the world dayafter day. And I thought that was absolutely fascinating. And I thought,You know what? Maybe that's something I could do. I could be a televisionreporter. I love news. You know, I love current affairs and passionate about it.Maybe that's the direction I go so very, very briefly. I thought you know what?I'm gonna end up being a war correspondent. My career is there is nowar correspondent experience in my background whatsoever. Um, butinitially, it's kind of funny. The Gulf War and what CNN was doing at the timekind of sparked something for me. It was captivating for you. So, yeah. What did you start to thinkabout? How you were gonna get into school for that? Did you just do someresearch? How did you didn't have a clue? I was so clueless about it. Ididn't even know how to research it, to be honest with you. But I, uh, wentthio Bob Price s Oh, this is three years after I graduated from highschool. I went to Bob Price, who was still at the time, the guidancecounselor tackle high. And I said, Bob, I don't know if you remember me, butI'd like a little bit of your time. He was like, Oh, absolutely. I went in andsat down with him and I said, You know what? I think I wanna be a televisionreport. I wanna be a news reporter, but I have no idea. Where would I go toschool? Like, What kind of degree do I need? What kind of diploma do I needand he said, I don't know why there to be honest with you But he said, Give methree days and I'll research it a little bit for you and and come backand see me Thursday or whatever it was and and I didn't and he had someschools picked up for me. In fact, if I was, if this was happening today, therewould be some really good options right here in Nova Scotia. King's college wasan option, But being already 22 years old, you know, I wanted Thio fast.Track it a little bit more than that. Eso He came up with a few communitycolleges in in Ontario that he thought would work for me. And that's the rootI went. Ironically, I've now worked at C. T. V with his daughter Melanie, for E. Went to high school with Melanie.Now any price? Yeah, yeah, we're good friends and have worked together. Idon't know. Melanie's been there at least 15 years, so it all came fullcircle from her dad toe. Now her and I are friends and colleagues for a longtime. How did you find that. And what do you think about people taking a yearoff from high school, Especially if they don't know what they're doing?They're not quite sure. Rather than just jumping in and following otherother people, I think it's a It's a great idea. And I know teenagers alwaysfeel a lot of pressure to know what they want todo like from the get go. Ithink some kids are blessed to have that passion, and they know from dayone what they want to do with their lives. But that was not me. And I thinkthey're the minority. I think the vast majority of us, you know, we don't havethe living experience to to really pick and choose and decide. You know what,you know what's the best future for us? So, you know, I think rather than go touniversity and and spend a lot of money from the get go on a degree, you're notsure you want, I think traveling and finding yourself for me personally. Itwas a great experience, you know, made a lot of friends, got some lifeexperience, made some mistakes and...
...learn from them. And and, uh, you know,when I was when I decided to go to school, I was ready. I was ready tocommit to something. I don't know if I would suggest taking three years off,but, uh, but yeah, I think one. If you don't know what you're doing, then youbetter figure that out first. Before you, You know, before you commit toe toschool. And when you committed when you committedto the community college in Ontario, after you finished, did you knowexactly what you want to do? Where you wanted to go? Did you start throwingout a resume or how did you go about landing your first job? Well, it'sfunny, because very early on, I realized, Oh, yes, I've made the rightchoice. This is definitely for me. It's really interesting. And it actuallycame fairly easy to me. The curriculum hit, Um, and and I think if you have atalent for something in life, um, even if the works hard, it can feel easy. Itdoesn't necessarily feel like hard work because you're just enjoying whatyou're doing. And that that was that was me and called. I knew very, veryearly on that Yep, This is the right choice. And this is the path I'm gonnatake radio toe graduation. So? So I felt good. It didn't mean I was gonnahave a job waiting for me. But I knew this is what I was going to pursue.What was that first job you did land? Um, well, I hustled for it. That'sthere's a little bit of a back story. You want to hear that a lot of thepeople I went to school with, I sort of had this mindset where? Okay, when Igraduate, I'm gonna work here is if that company was just waiting for them,you know? And it was usually in their hometown. I would have loved to work inHalifax from the get go, but it just it wasn't. Reality was the first stationof work at now is actually the first station I applied to, um, had a greatinterview. The interview lasted about an hour, Um, and and I had the feelingthey wanted to hire me, but they just didn't have anything at the time. Andthey said, Well, you know, stay in touch, stay in contact with us, Andover the years, I did stay. I made, you know, built a relationship there anddid stay in touch with management. But anyway, I went back to my college. Thatdidn't work out. So I went back to my college town, which is Belleville,Ontario, you know, sleeping on the sofa, staying with some buddies and justworking on my demo tape. And then after my best friend, he got a job in theindustry and then that really sort of like four months after graduation. Iwas like, Okay, I'm really going to make this happen here like Time'swasting. So I started calling ahead of stations all over on Ontario and tryingto set up interviews with and getting a lot of hang ups and theodd interview here and there. And when I had everything lined up, I I had mydemo tapes ready. I basically I started in Belleville, Ontario. I think I wentto Peterborough to Toronto to London. I was looking for an interview in London,Ontario, They said, not just leave the tape of the desk. I didn't have a goodfeeling about it. Went back to Toronto Ottawa. I started to Kingston toeOttawa, and I had a job interview lined up in Pembroke the next morning when Igot a call from London saying, We'd like to interview, How soon can you bethere? And I was so keen. I was like, What time do you need? And they werelike, No, no, no, it's no rush. It's no rush, you know? It's you know, I thinkit was early in the week. They were like, You know what? Do you think youcould be here by Friday? I was like, I'll be there tomorrow. I knew, Youknow, they're like, Okay. And I was so excited, called my parents from Ottawaand said, I've got an interview and I've got a good feeling about this one.And and can I bore a little bit of money? Thio e bought a train ticketAnyways. My parents were all excited. 20 minutes after the initial phone call,I got a call back from George Clark, who was the news director at CFB L inLondon at the time. And George sit. What do you bring him with you tomorrow?What do you packing? And I I don't know. I never really thought about that, Andhe's He literally said, Well, you might wanna you know, you might wanna bringmore than just a change of clothes in the face cloth, but I think you'regonna be staying and it just boot just They're basically telling me over thephone that I have the job. Take everything you have. I embarrassedmyself in the interview. Those still I remember sitting down with Derwin Smith,who was like, I guess would have been like the general manager of the station,Um, plus George Clark, the news director. And right away it just seemssurreal to me. I was so excited because they weren't interviewing me. It wasmore they were selling me on on the station and the opportunity. That's anice opportunity. That's a nice chance. Yeah, this is 1994 and our minimum wagein Nova Scotia was really, really low...
...at the time. And I had experiencedworking at McDonald's Anyways, he said to me said, Okay, well, we're going tostart you off at, uh at 5. 33 and I was like, Oh, wow, 5, 33. Wow, that'sterrible. It's like $5.33 an hour. Anything while I'm gonna have to get asecond job, But I'll work nights. That's okay. As long as I got my footin the door. E, I don't even know what they were talking about, and I sort ofglazed over. And then I looked and I said, Excuse me, Can I tonight? Whenyou said 5. 33 you mean an hour? Right? And the two of them looked at eachother and they looked back at me and they just cracked up laughing. They'vebeen 5 33 a week, which, by today's standards, isn't a whole lot of money,but, you know, 2024 at the time. It is a 24 year old guy looking for a job. Ithought it was rich, or it could be dollars a week. I'm gonna be loaded. Going how? Where you are now andstarting with a you know, an opportunity like that. You went througha lot of paces to get where you are. Can you talk about that grind that ittook to get to the position you are now? Is the co host as CTV? Yeah, Well, like I said before, Ibelieve if you really want to do something. You You kind of have to justget your foot in the door, like, just end up on the payroll somewhere. Andthen hopefully your passion and your work ethic and your talent will speakfor itself. Eso I worked at my first job. I was hired in London, but thatwas a regional station. So Western Ontario and they sent me immediatelytoe Windsor, Ontario. And I worked there My first job, I was avideographer, which is was an amazing experience. It was a small bureau, Ithink, in total, um, there might have been sick. 545 videographers, One fulltime reporter, 12 cameramen, a couple of, you know, managers, people in theback, maybe 11, 12 people in total. But we're very tight knit. And I learned somuch because as a videographer, um, you know, I'd never touched a camera inschool. So number one I had to figure out how to shoot a news story, and Ihad some some pretty amazing mentors there at the station that on theshooting and editing side of things and the reporting of being in front of thecamera, the writing side of it came, I think, probably more natural to me. ButI really found a passion for the actual shooting and the editing. Um, I'd liketo think I'm not a control freak in most aspects of my life, But when itcomes to work, I like having a lot of control. And I found being avideographer. If the story was fantastic, that was on you. Good foryou. If the story was terrible, well, you're gonna have to wear becausethat's on you as well. You can't blame the shooter. You can't blame the editor.You know you can't blame the writer you are. You are all of those things. Sothere's a certain amount of pressure for that toe to succeed Thio. Really?To kind of, you know, Thio? Yeah. Thio make a product that you'reproud of every single day and one of the things about what I do to which I Ithink about it. I thought about it again recently in in school, in highschool. Um, I always hated deadlines. I hated allthis project, you know, it's doing two weeks, two days, two hours. Alwayshated deadlines, despise them. Yet I chose a profession where I have everysingle day. There's a hard deadline, and that deadline is well. And I lovethe deadline. Now is the deadlines. Excuse proof? It doesn't matter if youhad a bad day. It doesn't matter what's going on in your personal life. Itdoesn't matter if you're having technical issues. A piece of equipmentbroke down, you know, five o'clock is coming with or without you, you know?So you know, there's not urgency and immediacy to it every day. Um, back toyour S O. I worked, you know, for three years in Windsor, Ontario, as avideographer shooting my own stories, shooting other people's stories as well,editing other people's stories, other reporters, stories. Um, but I knew thatwasn't going to be my last stop. So I was always looking for kind of What'sthat? Next? Bring up the ladder and I got an opportunity toe work as a newsreporter at in Edmonton at the A channel. The A channel was juststarting in Edmonton at the time. This is September of 1997 and, uh, at theripe old age of 27. I was hired as their senior reporter haute there, Um,and spent about nine or 10 months in Edmonton. It wasn't It wasn't home ofthe people were really nice, but it was a long, cold winter. And and my now exwife, we had a little we had a child...
...and another on the way. And she wasfrom Windsor. She wanted to go back closer to home. Eso very briefly wentback six months, took a casual position at CBC in Windsor, and, uh, and thenthe opportunity opened up in in Halifax here. But yeah, the grind of it wasprobably, in some sense, the moving around and being willing to move aroundand having a family that's willing to move with you. That was a really grind.I think at one point I had, like, four major moves, like in 14 months. Youknow, we were just constantly on the go in the early years before I settledhere and this being home, I kind of realized pretty early on when I gotback here, this was probably if they wanted me long term. This is probablygonna be a long term for me as well. Where does patients play a role too, inwaiting for this particular role that you have in this position that you have,especially since you know there's people that air before you. You have towait your turn, get your seniority. You have to wait for them to get out of theway. Where does patients play a role for you? Well, I think that's a That'sa whole different kind of groin. That's Ah, patience is part of it. Um, butalso that kind of belief in yourself that it's gonna pay off, like keepknocking on doors, keep looking for that position, keep applying at placesyou know, keep asking, you know, like, um, and keep setting those goals foryou. I think, like most things, if you have a certain amount of talent, if youreally stick with it, um you know, I think talent opens up opportunities.You know, the old cliche, which is so true, I'll probably mess it up. Butwhat is it that talent and you know what is it? Talent, work ethic, e thought you're gonna go with, likeit's 80% talent or 80% determination in 20% talent or something. But whateverit is, someone confined it for us. What is the process? You go through Jasonwith your work nowadays? What does a week look like for you you're talkingabout? You know, if you're not on the train, it's going at five. What doesthat process look like for you? It's it's honestly, it's It's pretty. It'spretty fast paced every day. Um, in the sense off, you know, when one show is over. At six o'clockthat night, you gotta That's put to bed whether whether it went fantastic orterrible or somewhere in between. That's like ancient history. And thenI'm able to sort of leave that and go home and enjoy my family and enjoy.Sorry, Jason, before you go on to what you actually do, do you watch a showafterwards, or is there a reason you might watch a show or you just let itgo to bed? It's done. It's gone. It's done. Yeah, uh, if there's a story, Ithink that's particularly but I'm proud of or that touched me. It doesn't haveto be my own story. Um, all, um, that's how I'll end up watching. And I'll say,you know, I'll say that you know, friends or family. Like I want you tosee this. Remember that story was working on Here it is. I want I wantyou to see this. So I would probably watch Moon work that way. Obviously, Iwould watch it before it goes to air. Um, but yeah, I'm kind of ableto to putthat behind me, which I think is which is healthy. Plus, I know, you know, I'mgonna need to rest my mind because the next day is gonna be I'm gonna go backto that word like it's sort of a daily grind for us. Like a lot of people thatwatch the show will come up to me. And once in a while, I'll get that question.Let's say so. What time do you start? Just like like, two or three in theafternoon. Is that when you go in, like this kind of outdated idea of it or or,you know, maybe they've seen something in a movie of how the business works,where you just show up and sit down and make up and someone hands of scripts.And that couldn't be possibly further from the truth. Like on our show forinstance, there's only four producers. There's myself and Maria Panna Palace,who has been my colleague for a long, long time. Katie Kelly, who focuses onthe entertainment side of things and then our director, uh Slaney. She shedirects the show, but she's a co producer as well. So the four of us areresponsible for producing the show every day. So we start. I'd like to bethere just before nine. We have a conference call that starts at nineo'clock with the producers of the five and the six o'clock show plusmanagement, where we just sort of discuss Okay, these air stories andnews stories that are on the radar for today, these air things we have tocover or these air things we might want to cover. And we and we talk about thisand come up with a game plan for about 15 minutes. Then, at 9 15, theconference call widens toe all of the reporters that we work with around theMaritimes, they make story pitches to...
...us. We take notes, they hang up. Now wehave another a secondary discussion. Okay, we didn't like this, but we, like,definitely love this story idea, which showed as it fit on Andi and out ofthat call, which usually ends around 10 o'clock. Now we have more of a firmgame plan for both shows. The 50 clock show, the six o'clock news. Whatreporters we're gonna work with in what stories? We're going to cover burningbreaking news, Of course. So you're arriving at work at eight or so? No,but quarter to nine. Just Yeah, yeah, Until six. Or later. Then The word kind of starts when youwake up, though, because, you know, you know, check the phone and see what'shappened overnight. What's the state of the world? What's the state of our ownbackyard and obviously goingto work with an idea of Oh, this is this is thestory people are gonna be talking about today. This is something we should becovering. What kind of angle can we take on that? Is that a tough war room to be infiguring out what's what stories they're gonna be ago are Yeah,sometimes you know, sometimes you know, because there's there's gonna bedisagreements, you know, over which show that particular story, uh, fits onor Which reporter suits that story best, you know, um but that would show Ah,passion. Right for wanting to get the right news out there with the rightperson doing it. And it's it's a love for what you're doing. Yeah, and Ithink like anything like you have to you have to pick your battles, you know?So between the two shows, like the six o'clock news has and needs morereporter resources, they're doing mawr stories per day, and they have toreflect that kind of every day. They want to reflect the region. They wantto reflect Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, compete EI and have some balance there.Um, so on the five o'clock side, I mean, we want that as well. But if you don'tsee a story from New Brunswick today, well, you know, that's maybe not a bigdeal. We'll have something from New Brunswick tomorrow or Nova Scotia. Viceversa. So, on our side of things, we kind of have to really kind of pick ourbattles a little bit, like with that understanding that the six o'clock sideof things is going to need more resources every single day. We have tobe really smart with the resource. I say resources, that's what we call it.I'm talking reporters and videographers. How many reporters and videographers orwe're gonna have and how are we gonna use them? So it makes it difficult toework ahead on stories we do. But when you have again that deadline of fiveo'clock every day, you know, when you come in the morning, your number onepriority is 50 clock that afternoon. If you have the luxury of working aheadtomorrow or the next day or next week, you can and you dio. But you're reallypriority is five o'clock coming. So we have to get we have to get. And there'sno writers on our show, either. Were the writers, the producers are thewriters, so, you know, we're assigning reporters were talking through storieswith them, telling them about elements that we wanna have in the story who wemight think might be a good fit for an interview. Maybe, you know, makingphone calls to help them set up interviews. What are they gonna needfor video? You know, it's a television story. It's literally talking picture,so, you know, it could be the most citing story of the world. If thepictures are boring, the story is boring. So what are we going to do andwhat are we gonna use for visuals? You know all of these sort of decisions,and and then you know where in the show as a fit best. So So I almost like, Uhoh, I've never actually played it, But I have a pretty good idea how you playSudoku. You know, it's in the newspaper every day, like it's like it's likeit's like playing a game and putting a crossword puzzle or something together.There's so many moving parts, dozens of moving parts. It's almost like achecklist of things that you have to do on a daily basis to put together Ah,full one hour program. You know, it's nice to know that because it givespeople a better appreciation of the work that you guys do that you know, Asyou said, you're not not just a pretty face that gets a make up in a scriptthrown in your hand. You've been working for the 99 hours before thatand getting it already. It's pretty good. Jason, you kind of mentioned afew difficulties, but what is the satisfaction that you get out of doingthe work that you dio And maybe as you think about that?Think about I was wondering. I had a question for you of since you came homeback to the Maritimes. What have you learned And what has kind of grown inyour heart for the love of the Maritimes and the people that youreport on each and every day. Well, the first thing when I came back actuallyhad nothing to do with work at it. You know, when you're young, like I thinkso many people you have this push this urge like I gotta get out of here. Igot to get out of here. You don't appreciate home in the same sense. Youknow, if you do, I think some ways you...
...have to leave home to appreciate home.And that was me. I was away for the best part of seven years, and and Iactually wasn't the type to miss home that much. I was I didn't get homesickvery much weirdly, I didn't miss home until I got home once. Once I once Ireturn to Nova Scotia. It was like I was seeing it with fresh eyes. And itwas like I forgot how easy it is to enjoy the outdoors. You know, I forgothow you know how beautiful this provinces I forgot like you can in NovaScotia, especially Sacha was relatively central of his joke around. You couldspin around and point yourself, you know, 50 kilometers in any direction,and you're gonna find an amazing, beautiful, unique outdoor adventure.You know, like there's a lot to do here if you're a no doors person tonight.And it certainly am the second part of that question as faras marry timers.Yeah, I especially growing up watching the show I'm on and knowing its history,you know, with, you know, with Dave, Right? And Steve Murphy and NancyReagan and, you know, in Palm, Enya and and so many other talented people thatworked on the show in its early days. Um, you know, I grew up watching thatand and had kind of a nice idea of what that show is and what it looks like.And what I always enjoyed about it was it always seemed to me that it was. Itreally reflected the experience of maritime er's that that always thoughtLive of five. It could be or waas a mirror that sort of reflects, you know,the interesting people, the amazing people, the amazing places in our ownbackyard. And so I feel like a certain responsibility that that I'm proud of.I feel honored to be a part of, ah, show that does that. That does tell thestory of the underdog or tell the story of the person that's making veryquietly in the background for many years, making their own communitybetter in some unique way. You know, the entrepreneurs here in the Maritimes?Um, just the inspirational people. And then there's a flip side to it as well.Like we're this particular show because it tells so many feature stories weakenliterally helped people, you know, when there's families that are strugglingwhether they've, you know, lost everything in a fire, or all too oftenwe end up doing stories I wish we didn't, but there's so many, you know,there's so many families that have a sick loved one. You know, they'restruggling financially and, you know, there way have the ability to tell theirstories and get their story out. Teoh a much wider audience and and e feelproud coming home some nights knowing that you know that we did make adifference and that we have, um, you know, improve someone's life. And thenand then in the just on the day to day basis of it, Like I said, that goesback Thio, you know, just I try not to take forgranted. Um, you know how unique my position is, especially to be doing itin my hometown, you know? So So I'm very, very grateful for for what I do,because I still have ah, passion for it. In some ways, I would say that I'm morepassionate about it now than I was. You know, 25 or 27 years ago that I Icontinue to get more passionate about it. And someday, when when it's over,I'm gonna miss it. It'll it'll be tough to replace, that's for sure. In your 27years and then being in this position, what is this skill that you really hadto home for people maybe wanting to get into broadcast journalism or justwondering what sort of skill that you really had to develop or still honingin E. I think you do have to stay on top of what's going on in your worldthat zio anyone looking to get into the business. If you don't have a passion,you know, four news of the day. You really should develop it. You're goingto be at a disadvantage to some degree if you don't have a fairly wide atleast, general. I'm not an expert on all things like any stretch, but, likeyou should have at least a general knowledge of you know, most things whenit comes news wise, um, specific to television, I think. E think everybodyeverybody knows that television news voice I'm on television now, So now I'mtalking in this voice. I would never talk in this voice if I was at a hostparty, but and I think people I think people can see through that. I alwaysadvise people like like be yourself. Just trust that yourself is good enough.Be yourself on camera because I mean nothing you can do. You are who you areanyway, so don't don't try to put on airs don't try to talk differently,like think of it as you're telling a story to, you know, to your best friendor, you know, to to your colleague, knowing that you were a paperboy, youworked at Disco Deli, even in Jack...
Frazier's and people who are gettinginto work, maybe younger and also maybe not sure of their careers, you were upuntil you're 22 23 or switching their careers. Do you have a tip for peoplewho are getting into work one way or the other? Uh, I think you know it. I'll go back Thio getting your foot inthe door If it's something you really, truly want to do, take any position,take, take any position available and and work your way up from there. Anddon't. Uh huh. Don't be afraid of taking to see where these opportunities leadyou. I think sometimes, even if you know what's the industry you want, youmay not specifically you might have an idea where you're going to fit in thatindustry, but that may not necessarily be the case. I think you have to beopen minded boat where you are just where your you could end up just I workwith people now for, you know, a decade that when they first locked in thenewsroom, probably thought for sure. I'm going to be a television reporterand then found, um because there is a need that actually, um or talentedbehind the camera. I'm better at directing our p a or some other role.You know, you gotta be. I think you gotta be open to see And you know, ifit's the path you want, then you're gonna have to be open to see where thatgoes. You know, don't don't get pigeonholed into thinking This is whatI am And that's all I wanna do. You might miss another opportunity, Jason. What kind of goal do you havefor your position or your career? What do you hope that happens? Maybe with Ct. V. What is something? An overarching goal that you have. Well, we reach forthe mug here. I goals, dad goals. Yeah, Yeah, I'm not I'm not a big goal setter.I I don't wanna You know, I don't want to sound like I'm toocomfortable where I am. Well, the what I do now is it's really, really unique, Like itwould be very difficult to find a similar situation Where, um you know,where I basically with a very small team of close friends, get to puttogether five hours of tackle me in my home town and have, like, like, a greatdegree of editorial control over. I mean, you know, the news director knowswhat stories we're covering every day we discuss it, but we have a lot ofleeway and a lot of trust to tell the stories that we want to tell. Um, itwould be hard to get that somewhere else. And then and then, even withinour own structure at work, there's a Sfar us hosting goes. There's notreally a lot of, uh, I'm sort of at that ceiling to some degree, you know?So then it would be, you know, do I want to go into management someday, andI don't I I enjoy the on air side of things and producing. I enjoy that toomuch. So then if I was looking for another opportunity, it would mean, youknow, moving away somewhere else. You don't want maybe to a larger market.You know, I had a few opportunities much, much earlier in my career. Ihaven't pursued any opportunity, other opportunities in a long, long time,because because I do enjoy what I'm doing, I think yes, you know, ifanything, I wouldn't mind. And I've made some many documentaries in thepast on the storyteller. I love telling story. So if my work situation shiftedto someday to some degree, or as I get a little closer to retirement, wheneverthat is, I'll still be a storyteller. I think I'll still be. I think I'll stillbe writing, um, or I do have, you know, I do have a Ehope. This doesn't sound so cliche, but I do have, Ah, I have a book idea. Ilove to write. I, uh You know, I'd like to write some day, and I'd like to makemore documentaries as well. I I see that as something that I'll end updoing. Those were things that I would be excited about in the future. Um, Idon't know, like I said, where I'm at now and I've been here a long, longtime. I don't know if there's a ladder for me to climb that way. and, you know, I think about that sometimes,too. And, you know, because in society, I think there's always that pressure tolike to doom or to get hired to keep climbing, you know? And there's, um youknow, people almost look down on...
...contentment to some degree, but thatcould be, I think, underrated as well. I mean, if you're if you're happy inthe moment in the place where you're at, then that's, you know, that's ablessing that not everybody has for sure. I don't think you're mentioningthe book is a cliche. Unless you don't write it. Just just that. Just like,you know, like, well, I'm right. I'm gonna write a book. I gotta write. Egot a few books. Is, you know, just on a note pad for now. Is there anythingJason and some of it you've kind of revealed? Is there anything that peoplemay not understand about you? They see you every day. Is there anything theymay not understand about you? But if they knew this, they would have abetter appreciation of the work that you're bringing forth. Mm. Yeah. You know what? I don't know. Idon't know. It's another thing that I love about our show is, um, I get to bequite playful on it. I take, you know, it's faras. Humor goes, I take way moreliberties and chances probably than most most hosts do. Uh, it goes back,you know, just being yourself. Um, I'll go back. I'll give a showed uplike Paul, many er watching Paul. Many er host the show as a kid. It's not,and he's not that much older than me. If he ever sees this, he probably likewhat you're talking about. He was definitely influential. Um, he just wassuch a natural on camera and was able to confuse humor into the situationwhen it felt, you know, when it felt like it was right, he just seemed likejust the guy just seemed like he was really having a lot of fun doing it.And when I was watching as a kid, I didn't realize that that wasinfluential. But But if you look back in the same role, like literally, I'min the same role that that he was, he was once and, um, I kind of see and Italked to him very briefly about it. I see similarities between us where youknow we're not afraid to sort of letter personality show. So back to youroriginal question. I like to think that what you see is what you know.Obviously, I'm not on air. You know, I'm not always walking around smilingand joking and playing around with people in my, you know, everyday life Ihave. You know, I could be moody and depressed and angry like every otherhuman being out there. But but But I am a pretty playful person and and Ienjoyed people. I enjoy telling stories, and I enjoy hearing stories, and I joke,I'm a lot like my father, and I've been joking around with my family andfriends recently, upstate it a couple of times that with my father, there'sno such thing as strangers. He's never met a stranger. There's only likepotential new friends, like he loves strangers. He loves just bumping intosomebody and starting a conversation, and you know so many people because ofit. And I'm probably a chip off the old block that way. You know when I go intoa coffee shop, I wanna know what's everybody's names are and, you know,and what their stories are just kind of curious about people that way. And Ilove telling stories if they're patient enough to listen to them, then I lovetell them Is there any adversity that you've hadfaced in your life that maybe encourages you to work, sometimes getyou down? You mentioned depression, But in that you can use it to encouragepeople in the adversity they're facing in their work. Yeah, I think. Yeah, Yeah. It hasn't been like asmooth ride for me by any stretch. You know, I've had news directors that I'vegot along better with and not so much I've had, you know, you know, managersthat I didn't always see eye to eye with. I've had, like, I hosted themorning show for a long time. I wore a lot of different hats on that show. Um,some of them were promotions within the show. Some of them, I sort of looked at,is almost like a demotions within the show. You know, you just kinda have toe,um, again, you gotta have that self belief that you're good at what you doand and Yeah, I also found like like everyone elsewould have had problems in my personal life that it's a You have to really bemindful of not letting that carry over into your work life, your work ethic,your work relationships. I think early in my career, you know, I've been withsame. My wife and I have been together almost 19 years now, so we're talking along time ago. But when my first marriage ended, you know, there's a lotof stress with that, and I I'm perfectly honest. I think it did affectmy work ethic, you know, and and how present I was at work and it was alearning lesson. We're going looking...
...back on it, you know, is very fortunateto have, you know, managers that still believed in me and colleagues andcoworkers that still believed in me. We're going, um, you know, I've got three daughters youknow, have raised three girls. They're all like young adults now. They're allin their twenties and living their own lives. But, you know, as we've hadissues with them through the teenage years or whatever and I was carryingstressed of work, the difference between me maybe a 28 vs me at, youknow, 45 was like that. Work can actually be an escape from personal.Like if you can sort of get your head around it that way, that Okay, I've gotI've got problems going on in my personal life here. But if I could justlook at, you know, 9 to 6 in that work day as an escape from those problems athome, I think that's a much healthier way to do it where you can, you know,I'm just going to focus on what I control. And that's like, you know, theproduct that we're gonna put on every night of five o'clock? You know, Ithink if you can, that's easier said than done. But if you can kind ofseparate your personal issues versus you know that work ethic, I think, uh,I think it's healthier, that's for sure. That's great, Jason. Is there anythingelse that we haven't touched upon, Whether it's in your career or someother things that you're doing, that you enjoy anything else that you wouldlike to add? Oh, I mean, there's I mean, way. Could A zoo probably couldtell by now. I am a talker. I love talk, and I could tell you stories forever.Maybe that that's that will be book number two. When I retire, I'll tellall the some of the behind the scenes stories from over the years. Um, youknow, outside of life, I just I'm a big believer in kind of staying in themoment, staying grateful, I think one of the things that I've talked to, alot of people about this when it comes to the pandemic, I mean I mean, this isa horrible thing that connects us all, but I think there's certain silverlinings in it. If you see it that way, I think it kind of makes you I askpeople. Sometimes they're like, Do you remember the things that used to stressyou out and get on your nerves and bother you before the pandemic? Uh, notreally. And I'm like, Yeah, exactly who were. You don't even remember that. Ithink it it has made people sort of focus on, you know, on the things thatthey're most grateful for for the people that they're most grateful for.I think it really helps you focus uh, on that put things in better priority.Yeah, which it has put things on in perspective. I loved being outdoors. Ilove nature. You know, I love to read and passionate passionate about reading.What are you reading nowadays? Jason, I read. I kind of go on these. I alwayshave to have a book in my life where I feel like something's kind of missing,and I sort of go on these spurts where I go. Fiction versus non fiction Rightnow I'm reading. It's sitting next to me. It's called The Demon in theMachine. It's This is I love science to I love like the big questions and youknow what we are why we are why we're here. It's written by Paul Davies. It'scalled How hidden Webs of Information or Solving the Mystery of Life. It'sIt's that it's literally how this is a sand. Biologists are collaborating andtrying to discuss trying to discover what was that initial spark that youknow how we went from collection of organic molecules toe. You know thathere we are sitting here having this conversation a few billion years later.Are you a physical book guy? you're not one of those e readers or no kobo. I'venever read anything. I I Yeah, I don't like We have so much screen time in ourlives. Thes days. I don't like being. I don't like being on the phone anymorethan I'm like everyone else. I get sucked down that rabbit hole withscreen time, but I just like I'm physically having the book in my hand.You know, like it just I don't know. It's very personal, A couple ofquestions for you just because we're talking here and you probably get thisone a lot. What was one of your most impactful shows or guests that you havehad throughout your career? You also did breakfast, television as well, andin Canada or Nova Scotia story. But what was maybe a guest that you met her?A story that just struck home for you? I do get asked that, and I'm usuallythis. Hopefully this will won't be the same, but it's kind of I think Idisappoint people. I I actually, that's one thing that I have to prep becauseI've interviewed so many people and, um, and some, you know, some really famouspeople. But afterwards it's like I sort of It's almost like I forget. Astime goes by, you do so many shows. You one. It wasn't a one on one interview.It was in a scrum, but I interviewed...
...with probably half a dozen otherreporters. I interviewed Donald Trump, probably in 96. Maybe in 96. He was in Detroit,looking toe open up a casino, Um, and which was a big deal toe Windsor?Because Windsor had legalized gambling. Detroit did. And so I get sent over toeThio cover the story. Donald Trump's coming to town and he didn't get thebid. He didn't get the contract, but he was promising this, and he waspromising that he just seemed like a You know, everybody was famous at thetime already, But, you know, he's just very cocky, very arrogant and veryboastful. I certainly didn't think of us, you know, interviewing. Ah, futurepresident. No way it that goes back to what you said about the show is youprepare for it, you do it. And then at the end, you put it away, and I thinkthat's what happens when you do these interviews you talk to people, it'sIt's not that you could go back and watch it and you can have all thosesame memories and even the same feelings. But you move on to the nextone, and that's probably why it's hard to think of one in particular. And Itotally understand people ask me what was the most memorable yours right now.Many moments, you know, like there's been a few. There's not many interviewsthat make me nervous. There's been a few interviews over the years that thatjust because I felt like a fan, it's hard to interview somebody I find mostdifficult. Interviews are ones where I interview somebody that I admire agreat deal, because once I sort of slipped out of that professional mode,um ato least in my head, it could get a little bit awkward. I interviewed theBlack Heat on time and I was This is, you know, before they actually playedin Halifax. They were there in a summer fast kind of concert. They were likethere was like five other bands on the bill before them. They were years fromhaving a hit, but I was a big fan interview with Terrible and never evenwent got the light of day because I just wanted to interview them so bad.Then we got we. Once we started, I was like, I'm like a deer in the headlights.I have no idea what I actually wanted to even talk to them about, and Icertainly didn't know what to talk to them about That would actually berelevant for people in the Maritimes. Probably 99 out of 100 had never heardof the Black Keys at this point. So that was Gila Floor was on a sports fan,too. And Vila Flor for for someone my age, you know, it that was that wasvery surreal. He seemed larger than life to me. David Suzuki of Interviewedtwice. That was That was like just being able to sit there and pick hisbrain twice one time for two plus hours, because he was with me live. But theywere only checking in with me every 10 minutes. So we do it a minute and ahalf interview every 10 minutes. Now we had 10 minutes in between for 2.5 hourswhere we're just standing there just him and I and like a you know, acameraman and and a live truck operator. And eso what are we going to talk about?So to be ableto pick his brain for several hours. Um, Justin Trudeau like,uh, when he was heavily involved with a team of it, he came to the old qh HighSchool in in Halifax. One time, Same sort of scenario on the morning show.He's hanging out with me basically for 2.5 hours. Um, this is years before heentered politics, you know? And so just kind of talking to a man. Demand at thetime. You know, as I think about it, like there's and there's Maura. I gotsent the Hollywood just very last minute on a filling in for somebody ona Hollywood excursion once, years ago, that was that was really, really eyeopening, you know, like and surreal. Like my career is like, you know, it'sit's there's colleagues and I that sometimes look at each other and go.Can you believe we're doing this right now? What are we doing? Look at this.This is This is crazy, you know, like whoever thought we have thisopportunity. So I think you have a very interesting job and I think you Seymourare very young at heart. So many years to you. How can people people canobviously find you? See TV Monday to Friday at five. Is there other way itcan connect with you on social media or your big on social media? I'll probably disappointed them onsocial media. Have my friends say all your on instagram I'm like, Well, Ihave an account, which is I don't know, it's a I Yeah, I'm on Twitter. I'm on Facebook,I'm on. I'm on instagram eso you know, they could probably just, you know, tosearch my name and find me that way. I find that leak social media for me isit's not love. Hate. It's not that strong, but I just find in some waysthe world's so connected these days. But I also think there's like thiscorrelation where the mawr digitally connected. We are. Sometimes we'redisconnected to the world around us. So...
I really do enjoy unplugging Aziz. Well,so my most sorry. Go ahead. No, it's after you. No,I'm just Well, it's It's the way if you're walking down the street, Whatyou're saying is, if you know someone you could say hi to, but they're toobusy on their phone. That's that disconnection even though they'reconnected and especially if you know you're on an elevator. Someone Hey, hey,They're not acknowledging you, and you're right. I think we're overlyconnected to the point. We're disconnected from our fellow humans.Yeah, Yeah, I think so. I mean, I contact, you know, it's like, you know,if you're looking down all the time I had someone. It's changed so quickly,right? It's changed so quickly. Yeah, I read somewhere that, you know, if youwere looking down like if you were looking down on New York, Toronto oreven Halifax and watching people, you have never observed humans before thatthat they almost look like we almost look devotional now, like we're walkingand, you know, reading from the tablet or something, as we're as we're walkingalong, you know, like, well, it's it's head down now, Like lost in thoughtrather than head up. Yeah, it's quite unfortunate, Jason, I have one finalquestion for you, sir. Sure. Why do you work? Because I love it. That's the That'sthe simple answer. I love it. Um, my father raised sources. My father workedat the dockyard for 30 plus years. Ah, job that he appreciated it but did notenjoy. And he had a second full time job my entire childhood. And he wasstill racing horses in the sixties 10 years ago. But he raced horses. Thatwas his passion. Waas was training and driving standard bred racehorses, And Isaw at an early age how much he loved it. And then I saw how the grind of,like, going to a job that he didn't feel his passenger boat. So I had bothexamples right in front of me. Throughout my childhood. It was like,Oh, so I could see like All right, well, if you're just doing a career justbecause you need a job, well, that's gonna be a long you know. You know,those gonna be some long decades. But if you find something that you'repassionate about and you love, it doesn't even feel like work. And I'vebeen really fortunate to find something that I love. I still love it may be,you know, and as I get older and get closer to the finish line. Maybe Iappreciate it. Even Maura, at this age of 50. Um, then I did even 15 or 20years ago, and and sometimes I'm like, only if it ended today. It was a career.Like, how did I go from that guy sleeping on his buddy sofas till? Like,Look, I had a career. Like, if I never worked in this industry again, peoplewould say, Oh, he had a long career in broadcast, you know? Yeah, that's thatseems a little strange to me looking back, but time flies. Was your dad atthe Downs view in her sackful downs? Yeah. E where I grew up? Yeah. My mom worked there too. Yeah,Yeah, on the, uh she was, Yeah. She was up in the top. Yeah. Interesting. Right.My grandfather had some horses, too. Jason Baxter, co host producer at C T.V. At five. Thank you for your time. And I appreciate the work that you do.Jason. Brian, it was a pleasure. Is it was fun to talk. Teoh talk to you aboutThank you for listening to this episode of why we work with Brian V be sure tosubscribe, follow and share with others so they too can be encouraged in theirwork. I hope that you have yourself a productive yet joyful day in your work.
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