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CBC Northwind host Wanda McLeod at her desk in the new Inuvik studio.

Honouring Wanda

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 01/05) - Some celebrities are spotted because of their familiar faces, but for Inuvik's Wanda McLeod, it's all about voice recognition.

"It's really funny when people say 'I recognize your voice, are you Wanda from Northwind?'," she said Monday. "It makes you feel good when people tell you they enjoy listening."

Many in the region who share their lunchbreak with McLeod's daily show will be pleased to know the 26-year CBC veteran was recently honoured with an award for her outstanding achievements and innovations and for fostering a sense of community among her listeners.

She started at the CBC as a receptionist in 1981 and has been the host of Northwind for the past three years.

When asked what her favourite part of hosting the show is, McLeod said it's the everyday people stories.

"The morning show is more political and mine's a bit lighter, like what's Neil Collins doing at his camp," she said.

"But that and things like the flood watch are useful information for people around here."

As well, McLeod said she enjoys contributions from student reporters around the territories. "They call in and tell us about what's happening at their schools or in the community, it's a lot of fun," she said. "And maybe for some it will be encouragement for them to continue along that path to journalism school."

As for McLeod's career path from receptionist to radio host, it came about through on-the-job training. "Before hosting, I used to be behind the boards as a producer, doing more technical stuff," McLeod said, adding that she often still does the show by herself. "It's so much fun to learn and I encourage anybody out there with an interest to give it a try."

In four years McLeod will be eligible to retire, but she hasn't thought about whether or not she will stay at the helm of Northwind, try her hand at something else or take a break.

"I don't know if I want to be a TV star," she joked after being asked if she wanted to parlay her talents into a television news anchor position. "Maybe I'll go back to answering phones."

For now, fans will continue to enjoy listening to McLeod's voice, enlightening and entertaining them every weekday beginning at noon.