Deanna Kappel attended the two-year Radio
Television Arts Program at Confederation College of Applied Arts
and Technology in Thunder Bay, Ontario from 1973-1975, graduating
with a diploma in May 1975.
Wow, here it is 2015: our
‘reunion’ 40 years in the making! My recollection of those two
years at college is of a very intense, exciting, learning
atmosphere happily shared with classmates. I think we soaked up as
much as we could. Reconnecting after all this time is satisfying
my curiosity about you all.
Deanna receiving Bursary
During our two years in RTA,
we all handled both on- and off-air duties, in all capacities,
learning the basics of radio and television programming. For
myself, I quickly learned that I was not very good at nor enjoyed
the technical side of broadcasting very much. And being on-air did
not appeal very much to me, either. My preference was for behind
the scenes activities such as writing, producing and directing.
Despite embracing the program’s intention, my broadcasting career
lasted only five years.
Briefly, here it is:
Following graduation, I was hired as a full-time creative copy
writer for the continuity department by CKPR-TV and CHFD-TV in
Thunder Bay, Ontario. In addition to the paid commercial aspect of
the job, on my own unpaid time, I covered, wrote, produced and
announced reviews of local entertainment events for CJSD-FM Radio,
and several “Your Town Canada” programs for CKPR Radio. I also did
the research for the latter. Those radio endeavours came to a
screeching halt one day when Ray Dee, Program Manager, discovered
my activities. He was furious, stating that no one wanted to hear
a woman’s voice on the air! I was ordered to cease and desist
immediately, or my career at the stations (all owned by Fraser
Dougall) would end. I conceded defeat with those efforts. However,
unbeknownst to Ray or the TV stations, I continued my paid
freelance research work for CBQ Radio (the CBC Thunder Bay Radio
After a year of ‘doing time’ in Thunder Bay, I relocated to
Winnipeg, Manitoba. In addition to being a creative copywriter for
CKY-TV, I also worked as a production/script assistant for the CTV
network children’s program “Let’s Go!”. Following a one year stint
there, CKND-TV in Winnipeg hired me as commercial copywriter. CKND-TV
also allowed me to be involved in all aspects of public service
announcements, mobile program productions and as a
production/script assistant for a locally produced children’s show
“Follow Me”, but would not hire me as a director or producer for
anything, despite my having proven my ability to handle those
positions. After three years, I ended my broadcasting career in
1980 when I left CKND-TV. I switched to freelancing.
This next phase of my career focussed mostly on print media:
researching, writing, photography and public relations in the
education and medical fields and the travel industry, plus five
years as Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Armed Forces
Reserves, Prairie Militia Area at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg. I
also got involved in clubs such as the Business and Professional
Women’s Club of Winnipeg, rising to become president for a couple
of years before stepping down. Further activities during this time
included contributing in various fund-raising events for hospitals
and children’s social needs as well as dabbling a bit in local
politics and live theatre.
On a personal note, my life has been a
series of `peaks and valleys` as one of my television managers
used to describe life. One of my worst `valleys` occurred in 2011,
when my oldest son, Herman, who most of you had met while I was a
student with you, died suddenly, unexpectedly of a massive heart
attack, leaving his wife and their two sons aged 9 and 11. We, his
family and friends, remember times and experiences he enjoyed.
Through memories, Herman continues to live on in all of us.
My ‘peaks’ include traveling. Over the years
I have managed to visit Canada coast to coast including north to
Churchill, MB and countries east and west of the Atlantic Ocean,
plus a 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise.
My travels have also taken me to Germany, England, Scotland,
Ireland and Mexico, plus a number of states throughout the U.S.
I’ve also been to Costa Rica where inadvertently I went zip-lining
through the jungle treetops. That was the stupidest thing I’ve
ever done in my life! I thought I was going on an aerial tram ride
to view wildlife in the jungle and too late discovered how wrong I
was. At that point, there was no way to back out.
Most recently, in 2014, I visited New Zealand where I ran a 10K
race in Christchurch while my son Des (who most of you met while I
was your classmate) ran the full marathon there. Then, amongst
other sights on both the South Island and North Island, we
indulged in tours featuring locations where the movies ‘Lord of
the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ were filmed. Producer/director Peter
Jackson is a New Zealander and lives just outside of Wellington on
the North Island. Although we visited his Weta workshop in
Wellington, we did not get to meet him (boohoo).
In the later years of my working life, I chose to settle into
steady pay-cheque jobs, finally retiring in 2012. And I must say,
am very much enjoying retirement. I definitely recommend it.