Local radio icon retires after more than half a century

At sixteen, when he ‘played’ at being on radio, John Divinski (affectionately known as JD by his colleagues), knew the career path that he wanted to follow.

With training through the National Association of Broadcasting and three days after his birthday, on December 10, 1964, he received the call that would impact him for the next 57 years.

He went to work on air at CJCS radio and Variety 104 in Stratford where he worked for the next year and a half getting his ‘broadcast feet under him’ before moving on to CKSL in London, Ontario where he remained for the next several years until taking a position in Sarnia at CKJD and Fox where he stayed for the next 26 years becoming Station General Manager.  “Even though i was General Manager, the only thing I really wanted was to be on air.”

Then, 0n February 17, 2005, Bayshore Broadcasting received approval to convert CFPS from an AM band to the FM band and a station in Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores) was launched on May 20, 2005 as 98The Beach. The new station was to feature a variety of adult contemporary formats including a call-in talk show that would feature a host and JD was offered the job.

“When I was offered the job and arrived in Port Elgin, I knew this was the place where I wanted to retired,” says Divinski. “The talk show concept was to have four guests each hour where listeners could call in and informally talk to the guests. One of my favourite interviews was with a mother who had lost her son and who was promoting organ transplants.  An MPP took the interview and went to Queen’s Park with it in support of the  organ transplant program.  We, in fact, located a man in Pittsburgh who was the recipient of her son’s heart and I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.”

According to Divinski however, not all guests during his career were ideal.  “I remember in Sarnia when I had a ‘fringe candidate’ during an election and, on air, he just kept nodding his head to questions – not very effective for radio!”

In 2011, Divinski gave up his talk show to go into semi-retirement but, instead, took to being a ‘roving reporter’ for the first time.  “It was quite a challenge but one that I really enjoyed as it gave me the chance to get out and about and meet all kinds of people from across the whole region and to ‘ferret’ out stories.”

JD with wife, Rev. Anne Veyvara-Divinski

Coming to the end of his career officially tomorrow, on August 31st, Divinski says that, “After 57 years, it’s time to look forward, but radio has been very good to me. It’s time now though for other things.  My wife, Anne and I are looking forward to doing things, such as going away, that are not based around a work schedule.  There are also a ton of books that I’ve collected and will now be able to take my time reading.

I’ve met so many people over the years, in entertainment, in politics and a wide variety of interesting fields.

Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat!”