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The host with the most

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 15/06) - He has dug ditches, driven trucks and even did a stint as sub-chief of the Inuvik Native Band, but being on the radio is where CKLB host William Greenland feels he belongs.

"Going on the air is the best part of my job," said the 47-year-old host of Nagwichoonjik Gwich'in Ginjik, or Big River Gwich'in Show, on CKLB Mondays to Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m.

"It's not the only job I've ever had but it's the only job I think I know how to do."

Since 1983, this Aklavik kid has been involved in radio, first learning the ropes producing and hosting spots for the Native Communications Society's original station CKNM, or as Greenland called it, "the country kickin' native music station."

Back then, his mentors were a veritable who's-who of Northern radio personalities including George Tuccaro, Louie Goose and Wally Firth.

"I looked up to those guys and I wanted to be just like them," he said.

Today, it seems Greenland has taken the radio reins from his mentors and hasn't looked back. His daily show, which Greenland describes as part news and part current events with a dash of variety, showcases an eclectic fare of local, national and international personalities, Gwich'in language lessons and other off-the-cuff fun.

"All kinds of things happen and the best part about it is you never know who's going to drop in to share a story or play some music," said Greenland.

Through the course of his career, Greenland has had the opportunity to interview some of country music's biggest stars but insists he gets just as much of a kick out of having elders on the show.

"If I had more time to work on just my show, I'd like to get a weekly roundtable discussion on what's affecting people of the North," said Greenland, who is also the station's advertising manager. "Global warming, the state of our wildlife and preserving our language. These are issues I'd like to get some talk going on."

So are there any perks to being a radio celebrity in Yellowknife? Better service at restaurants or more attention from the ladies?

"Not in my condition," said Greenland, holding his belly.

And it's this self-deprecating manner that has endeared Greenland to his many friends and listeners throughout the years. "People do recognize me and it's nice when you hear compliments, it keeps me going," he said.