When last we chatted with Mr. Birkmaier he had been tossed from his radio job in the big city of Regina, Saskatchewan and was now scouring the bushes for another paying radio gig.
He found one. In Melfort, Saskatchewan. This was in 1967. Dougie B picks up the story from there, in his own words, which are reproduced here exactly as transmitted to us. No editing has taken place. Warning -- not for tender eyes.
"Melfort was my big break," he said. "I made Program Director in a year and a half (being a P.D. is a big thing in the radio business; it means you are mostly in charge of all on-air stuff.) I then went back to Regina as the P.D. at a church mouse FM station -- more ego assholes."
This is what happens all too often in the radio business: people get bounced from one job, land another one, go back to where they once were, start all over again, move up the ladder, then finally settle in one place for what they hope will be an extended period of time. Some times it works out, but more often than not a radio career, especially that of an on-air person, terminates, like pro athletes, at about the age of 40, plus or minus a few years.
We return now to Doug Birkmaier, who, again in his own words, wraps up the history of his radio career in his own uniquely colourful style.
“I finished at CFQC in Saskatoon,” he told us,” where I became locally famous for the line ‘Good Afternoon, Saskatoon and Saskatchewan…’ preceding Robin Williams and ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ by about 10 years. Perceived conflicts with management on how a station should run and sound ended with a year’s leave of absence that management ‘forgot about’ when I went to get back my job.”
Things at CFQC Radio 600 did not turn out too well, and Birkmaier said he then realized, “somewhat sadly, I was never important and nobody ever gave a shit. It was a great career. Poorly paid, but fun. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer and no heavy lifting.
To wrap things up, Birkmaier said he would “do it all again, tomorrow, and would be much better at it than I ever was, and the ratings said I wasn’t bad. I forget when I realized I would never end up in Edmonton or Vancouver but when I did I was OK with that as I liked what I did (maybe not so much with the company I worked for) and usually liked the towns I did it in.”
Except, he said, for a place called Red Deer. “I spent 6 months there (huge asshole) but the rest of my entire 15 year radio career was spent in Saskatchewan.” (See map for Red Deer location)
In conclusion, Doug Birkmaier said of his Saskatchewan radio days,” Some of my co-workers over the years were some of the most fucked up pricks I have met in my entire life and a few gentle souls (salt of the earth, great people) who remain friends to this day, but not very many. I’m fussy about who I drink with.”
Doug Birkmaier is now out of the radio business and is looking forward to a life of sun, fun, golf and goldfish.