One of the most recognizable faces behind the community camera locally for the past four decades is bowing out of the limelight.
At least professionally.
“You know what, there are so many good things going on I just want to keep involved I’m going to come back as a production volunteer and help out with special projects,” said Wayne McDougall, 60, who officially hung up the video cam last week.
“So many people in the community, different agencies have put time and effort into and they’ve got some really good stories to tell and I want to help them tell those stories.
“But the really important thing about retiring is that it’s about spending time with my wife. Family is going to be a much higher priority.”
McDougall was first bitten by the television bug while going to McNicoll Park Middle School, eventually going on to get a full-time job with Shaw after graduating from Pen High.
Since that time, over more than four decades, he has covered a wide range of personalities, topics ranging from political to social and attended more community events than most mayors.
McDougall recalled the early years when he first broke into the business.
“I was nervous because it was so new,” he said about that time. “You don’t know which end of the camera plugs in.
“I remember when we used to do the Vees (hockey games) when it was a mobile production down at Memorial (Arena). They used to let me run the camera when the Zamboni was out there flooding the ice, I got to move the camera around but not during the game, but oh, it was pretty exciting to get behind the camera, a real camera.”
He also laughingly recalled one of the first events he covered.
“I think it was the toastmistress speech contest, when I got to use the colour camera which was a big deal because our cameras were otherwise black and white but I got to use the colour one,” said McDougall, who is also the president of the Penticton Scottish Festival and is quite proficient with the pipes, true to his heritage. “It’s been quite a journey we’ve been involved with a lot of great people over the years, the innovative technology. It’s funny, so many things have changed but the constant is you have a camera and a microphone and you tell the story of the community and that’s the part I really like.”
One of his favourite events he covered, was not the visit of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau or other notable happenings, but a local cancer fundraiser.
“It was the Jail and Bail with (RCMP Cpl.) Don Wrigglesworth, it was really good because it was a comedy and you could get a message out there,” he said.
Another joyful part of the job for McDougall was working with the many young people who, like he was at the same age, are interested seeing the world through the camera lens.
“There are three or four people that I know of, and think ‘oh yeah they started off working with us as production volunteers and they come back and say I remember doing a TV show and you showed me the camera’ this is very rewarding,” he said.
Working community television instead of the big city format was also his preference.
“If you have the time, if we can invest the time into really crafting a quality product and really putting your heart into it, it goes beyond storytelling and journalism it becomes art,” said McDougall. “That’s when it really becomes exciting, we’re working with people in the community and they’re investing time and talent into helping tell their stories, then it becomes an art form.”
Looking back over his journey, McDougall said it was not the money or the notoriety why he chose this particular career but rather:
“Helping make the community a better place, that’s why so many people volunteer or they’re really passionate about what they do, using their own creative skills and gifting they have they help shape the community put their own stamp on it and I hope I’ve done something somehow to make Penticton a better place.