For over a dozen years, Gord Bibby has spent his Sunday nights tucked behind a microphone broadcasting music to the world.
During those years, the 69-year-old host of CHLY’s Elevator Club has accumulated plenty of regular listeners, including a loyal fan from Minnesota named Mike Emmons.
“He used to actually record the programs on audio cassette,” Bibby recalled.
When Emmons suddenly became sick, he turned to Bibby’s radio show as a means of therapy.
“Doctors didn’t know what his problem was and he was really in bad shape. He asked his wife he could get some of the tapes of my show and bring them to the hospital,” Bibby explained. “When he started listening to those tapes he got better. He sent me a letter saying I credit your program for saving my life and that was pretty heavy. I am a firm believer in the power of music and its healing power.”
It was those kinds of moments with his listeners that kept Bibby coming into the studio every Sunday night.
“There was many times where either I just wasn’t feeling well or it was Sunday night and I would have much rather gone to bed early,” he said.
However, after 14 years behind the microphone, Bibby decided to call it a career with CHLY and broadcasted his final episode of Elevator Club last month. The show was the station’s longest-running program.
“I’ve met some great people, great people associated with the radio station during those years and it has opened the whole world of music to me and a few doors,” Bibby said. “It’s basically increased my love for music.”
Bibby made his first broadcast with CHLY in April of 2000, when the station was only allowed to broadcast on the Internet.
Shortly after joining the station, Bibby, who had experience working in the radio industry, became the president of Radio Malaspina Society, the non-profit society that owns and operates the station.
As president, Bibby was instrumental in helping the station acquire its broadcast licence.
“We actually had to appear in front of the CRTC in Burnaby,” he said. “Of course we did get the licence, which I was very relieved to find out.”
In 2010, Emmons, the man who credited Bibby with saving his life, made the trip from Minnesota to Nanaimo.
“He actually brought his whole family out here to Nanaimo because he was just wanted to see what the city was like and he just loved it,” Bibby recalled.
As a way of giving back, Bibby allowed Emmons and his family to sit in on an episode Elevator Club.
“He’s a really cool guy,” Bibby said about Emmons.“It was very, very neat.”
After a decade and a half of religiously hosting Elevator Club, Bibby, who will also step down as president of the Radio Malaspina Society, is looking forward to being able to spend time with his family on Sunday nights again.
“I really have sacrificed a lot with doing a Sunday night show,” Bibby said. “I have missed a lot of family activities with my grandkids and that type of thing. Everything is sort of planned around whether grandpa can make it to Thanksgiving dinner and that sort of thing.”
Despite calling it a career with CHLY, Bibby still maintains a friendship with the man in Minnesota.
“We actually stay in touch quite often,” Bibby said.