I’m the Assignment Editor and one of two morning news anchors for News Talk 980 CKNW in Vancouver. I’ve also been nominated for one B.C. RTDNA journalism award for best newscast. (2016, ‘VSB Firings.’) I began reporting at the ‘tender’ age of 23. In fact, my claim to fame in the CKNW newsroom included producing a crap ton of stories as an intern (about 15 or so) for the Christmas run. It was enough to get the attention of my now boss, who hired me as a reporter in September of 2014. During the one year I spent reporting, I developed a taste for topics like technology, municipal politics, international news (with a local connection, of course) and – my all-time favourite, the offbeat!
Most of you probably know me from the now-defunct Reel Report, which aired every Friday morning on The Jon McComb Show from July of 2015 to April of 2017. It was cancelled in April, though I’ve retained my ‘in-house movie expert’ role as an entertainment panelist for the Jon McComb Show. I’m your go-to person for all things movie related at CKNW!
I always thought being a reporter/journalist was an unattainable goal, though I was exposed to various components of the industry growing up. I began doing a lot more public speaking after winning a local pageant, Binibining Pilipinas Vancouver back in 2004. I joined the pageant because 1) my mom wanted me to, and 2) I was such a weird kid/introvert growing up, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I was crowned ‘Miss Teen Philippines,’ and travelled to Ontario, where I won a national title. After that, I spent almost a year on-and-off working in the entertainment industry, which included work as a singer and a model in the Philippines – my native country. I quit the entertainment industry in 2005 and told my mom I wanted to focus on school. I was a high-performing teen in my high school years: that included playing as a singles and mixed player on the badminton team (we made it to regionals in 2008, which was awesome!), serving as Students’ Council president in my final year, helping to run the school newspaper, and doing the school announcements almost every day for four years. I graduated from Alpha Secondary School in Burnaby with my Dogwood (honours) in 2008.
I went on to study at Simon Fraser University on an arts and social sciences scholarship and spent four years working towards my Bachelors’ degree. I’d originally started thinking I was going to be an archaeologist, but a former friend roped me into doing a 100-level elective with her: introduction to sociology. My obsession with studying living people was born, and the intro to sociology became a foray into a related field, anthropology. By my third year at SFU, I’d decided I wanted to become a social worker or forensic anthropologist. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013.
I was in my social worker beginnings when tragedy struck my family. On January 21, 2010, I received a call from my mom while at work: my aunt had been hit by an unknown vehicle in a well-known, very dangerous Burnaby intersection: Kitchener and Willingdon. She’d been placed on life support, and left to die on the road. CBC Vancouver contacted me after hearing of our family’s story, and asked if we wanted to put out a plea to the driver. With no known trace of the man, I agreed to it. Days later, the story aired, and it thrust her case into the spotlight. Nearly two years later, the man who did it was caught, and I was there for that day to speak for my family. This was my first taste of media, and I realized the good it could do in bringing information – and in some cases, closure – to people’s lives.
I applied to BCIT’s Broadcasting and Online Journalism program in 2012, and was the final person admitted to the program for the year in 2013. While there, I fell in love with radio, partially because I’m lazy and don’t like to dress up as much as I used to (lol), and partly because the medium is so breakneck fast when it comes to turning around content. I found it a welcome challenge. I was also open to opportunities behind the scenes in TV, like news production and post-production/editing. Eventually, I decided to focus on radio.
In my first semester at BCIT, a chance to intern at a radio station came up, and about 15 of us were invited to get some experience at CKNW. This was actually a full-circle experience for me, because I grew up listening to the radio station, and in my younger days, was a beneficiary of the Orphans’ Fund. I was assigned to the newsroom, and was incredibly terrified, but had a lot of fun. I volunteered to work over Christmas, which opened the door to more opportunities with the station. Eventually, I was hired by CKNW going into my second year of school. Once again, I was terrified, but keen to learn. I eventually managed to channel that fear into my curiosities, and that’s helped me make it through each day in one of B.C.’s best newsrooms. I took CKNW up on an offer to be a desker/anchor in July of 2015; by August, I was the Assignment Editor – a role I’ve held ever since.
When I’m not nerding out in the newsroom, I’m usually nerding out on Twitter, sharing all kinds of random stuff. I probably spend the most time there, second only to the newsroom. If I’m not doing any of that, I’m watching a movie at the theatre or at home, reading some kind of literature (I love books and comic books, and am an avid comic book collector), filling in my bullet journal, or playing video games alone or with my boyfriend, Jon. (Follow him on Twitter – he‘s a funny guy…and also happens to work in news.) I also contribute to two podcasts: CKNW.com’s Close Encounters of the Film Kind, and the adult gaming and movie podcast Just the Tip.
Thanks for reading – and feel free to drop me a line anytime: Ria(at)CKNW(dot)com.