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After 47 years, 630 CHED legend Bruce Bowie announces his retirement

WATCH ABOVE: After 47 years in broadcasting, 630 CHED's Bruce Bowie -- a radio legend in Edmonton -- is calling it a career.

On Thursday morning, Edmonton radio legend Bruce Bowie announced that, after 47 years behind the mic, he will be retiring at the end of August.

“After listening to 630 CHED for years, I thought it was beyond my reach. Somehow I wound up spending 21 years of my life here,” Bowie said. “I feel like I was embraced by the Edmonton listeners from the start and will be forever grateful. This city has been good to me.”

LISTEN BELOW: Bruce Bowie announces his retirement 

Bowie’s career started in 1972 at CKSA in Lloydminster, Alta.

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“There is something magical about talking with people and interacting with people and that’s what fascinated me with it at first. I just thought it sounded like these guys were having so much fun,” he said.

Six months later, he made the move to Lethbridge when an opportunity to work at CJOB came up, and a pay raise from $330 a month to $355.

“I couldn’t say no to that!” Bowie laughed.

After that, he made the move to Saskatchewan and spent eight months at CHAB Moose Jaw for his first morning host job — and another whopping pay raise to $450 a month.

Duane Vinneau, Bruce Bowie, Brad Sparrow, Len Rhodes, Syd Smith and Bryan Hall celebrate the partnership between Corus Radio and the 2018 Grey Cup Festival.
Duane Vinneau, Bruce Bowie, Brad Sparrow, Len Rhodes, Syd Smith and Bryan Hall celebrate the partnership between Corus Radio and the 2018 Grey Cup Festival. Kirby Bourne/630 CHED

At the end of the eight months, his company transferred him to 630 CHED where he worked for 12 and a half years.

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“I was so nervous about being on air in the big city that I broke out in hives on my first day!” he said with a laugh. “That’s a true story.”

Then, in 1986, a startup station caught his eye. KING FM was an oldies station that would eventually become what is now 92.5 The ‘Chuck, a 630 CHED sister station in Edmonton.

Bruce Bowie interviews University Hospital Foundation employees during 630 CHED Heart Pledge Day at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute on Feb. 26, 2019.
Bruce Bowie interviews University Hospital Foundation employees during 630 CHED Heart Pledge Day at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute on Feb. 26, 2019. Kirby Bourne/630 CHED

After a year and a half with that station, Bowie made the move to Calgary to another oldies station, CISS AM. After just shy of two years with that station, he was approached by CISN Country 103.9 in Edmonton to come take over their morning show after Wes Montgomery left. Bowie said he was honoured to have that position for 21 years.

“I’ve made so many friends among my listeners too and… it’s not just that people want to connect because it’s the guy on the radio, people who’ve become a part of my life and vice versa. I’m hoping those friendships will continue after this is all over too.”

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Watch below (Aug. 29): 630 CHED morning man Bruce Bowie will sign off for the final time Friday. He chatted with Global Edmonton about connecting with listeners, conducting the first Canadian Peacekeeper radio show, and how it all started as a teenage dream for a Saskatchewan farm kid.

From Piapot, Sask. to Bosnia: Radio legend Bruce Bowie reflects on 47 years over the airwaves
From Piapot, Sask. to Bosnia: Radio legend Bruce Bowie reflects on 47 years over the airwaves

In 2010, he made the move upstairs to the 630 CHED newsroom where he has hosting the 630 CHED Morning News ever since.

“I have been so blessed, this has not really been a job,” Bowie said of his career. “I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every day, but almost every day coming to work.

“When I left home I planned to go and try radio for a couple of years because it always fascinated me and then I thought I’d go back ranching after I gave it a shot. So, 47 years later I’m going to call my brother and see if he’s got any openings. Hopefully by this point the hay bales weigh about five pounds each and I’m ready to go.”

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Watch below: He’s been a mainstay on Edmonton airwaves for over 40 years, but this week 630 CHED’s Bruce Bowie is hanging up the microphone for a retirement. Bowie sat down with Gord Steinke to talk about his amazing career in broadcasting.

630 CHED’s Bruce Bowie on retirement and what his replacements can expect
630 CHED’s Bruce Bowie on retirement and what his replacements can expect

Bowie isn’t sure what he’ll get up to after retirement, but said he will take some time to work with a number of charities that are close to his heart.

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“After 47 years it won’t be all about me, maybe I can go help somebody else,” he said.

Bowie has been heavily involved with a number of charities over the years, even winning awards for giving his time.

Global News’ Kendra Slugoski on location with Bruce Bowie at 630 CHED Heart Pledge Day at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute on Feb. 26, 2019.
Global News’ Kendra Slugoski on location with Bruce Bowie at 630 CHED Heart Pledge Day at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute on Feb. 26, 2019. Kendra Slugoski/Global

In 2004, he was recognized as the County of Strathcona volunteer of the year, in 2007 he was given the Corus Entertainment Citizenship Award for living on the streets to raise funds for the Hope Mission and he was awarded the Community Enrichment Award for his work on the Salvation Army Advisory Board in 2016.

“Bruce’s retirement marks the end of a truly great career in radio,” 630 CHED program director Syd Smith said. “As sad as we all are to see him go, we’re thrilled for the success he’s enjoyed and ready to support him in the next phase of his life.

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“One thing we know for sure is that he’ll continue to do whatever he can to strengthen his community and lend a hand to those in need.”

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WATCH BELOW: 630 CHED announcer Bruce Bowie announces his retirement on air

But as much as Bowie is looking forward to working more closely with those organizations, it’s his connection with the listeners he’s going to miss the most.

“I just want to thank everybody for listening and just being a big part of my life as well. I just feel so blessed. It’s been a really rich life and I don’t think I’d change anything. It’s been really good.

“This has become home for me. I’m going to miss home.”

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Bowie’s last day on 630 CHED will be Aug. 30.