Paul Dunphy: Looking back at more than 30 years at Global Calgary

Paul Dunphy has been forecasting the weather for Global Calgary for more than 30 years.
Paul Dunphy has been forecasting the weather for Global Calgary for more than 30 years. Global News

Wow, Global Calgary is actually 65 years old.

By the way, it was a whole lot warmer when crews switched on the lights and transmitter on this day in 1954. The high was 18 C under partly cloudy skies.

I find it hard to believe we signed on the air that long ago and I also find it hard to believe that I have been forecasting and presenting the weather on Global for more than half of that time — over 34 years.

I remember watching what was then CHCT-TV on my family’s black-and-white Marconi television in the 60s. My parents always referred to the station simply as “Channel 2.” In 1979, when the station was purchased by Selkirk Broadcasting, the call sign became CFAC-TV. We have gone through a few more owners and name changes since.

READ MORE: Global Calgary celebrates 65 years of television broadcasting

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Early in my career, I worked as a DJ at CFAC radio (now SN960 The Fan) and did some commercial voice-over work for our sister TV station out of studios located in a former sea cadet drill hall — a quonset-style building at 955 Rideau Road S.W. I was intrigued by the television business and soon made the move to TV as a weather presenter.

In the beginning, 34 years ago, we literally drew on chalkboards that had maps painted on them.

The chalkboards were made of metal so we could use magnetic numbers for temperatures while other magnets were in the shape of suns, clouds, rain, etc. A grease pencil was used to draw cold fronts, lows and highs.

Satellite and radar imagery did not exist. Computers have not only significantly changed forecasting but also the way we present those forecasts on-air.

One of the best parts of my job is working with great people every day. When I arrived in Calgary in 1977 to work at the radio station, I couldn’t wait to meet Ed Whalen, who was the news and sports director of both operations and a broadcasting legend. He was a great mentor and person.

Linda Olsen and I have been co-anchors and friends since she arrived at Global Calgary in 1995. She is every bit as nice as she appears to be on-air and working alongside her every day is a joy. Gord Gillies will always be someone I respect as a former colleague and a life-long friend. His fast wit and animated personality made me laugh at least 20 times a day, every day.

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In addition to Ed, Linda and Gord, there have been so many other great broadcasters that have spent time at Global Calgary and I have enjoyed working with and learning from them all.

READ MORE: Linda Olsen: Reflecting on more than 2 decades at Global Calgary

Global Calgary also has an amazing group of people working behind the scenes in a fast-paced, and often times frenetic, environment. They’re gathering and investigating stories, shooting video, editing, writing, directing and producing top-notch news programming for our viewers.

News breaks 24 hours a day, every day, and so the newsroom can get pretty hectic, but there is always respect for each other.

We also treat the people in our stories with respect, not just because we have to follow strict journalistic practices and principles, but because we do genuinely care and are dedicated to being honest in our reporting.

Then there are the viewers, without whom we would be talking to ourselves. Our viewers are loyal and they’re always kind when we meet them in public. I always appreciate it when someone says “Hello” while I am walking through a mall with my wife or when we are in a foreign country and run into someone from home — something that happens on almost every trip we take.

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Today is a very special day for all of us at Global Calgary as we celebrate 65 years on the air and I am thankful every day to be living in the city I love, working at a job I love and to be doing it at the best television station in Calgary — possibly in all of Canada. To my fellow coworkers and all of our viewers, I say a heartfelt thank you.