Laying in the backyard. Sun tanning. Listening to top 40 tunes on the radio, and getting paid for it. Welcome to my first day “in radio”.
It was the summer of ‘77. There was the launch of a little movie called “Star Wars”. Rod Stewart pranced the stages of the world with his newest anthem, “Tonight’s the Night”. Disco queen Donna Summer heated up club dance floors with “I Feel Love”. The King, Elvis Presley, left the building for the final time. And one of Western Canada’s powerhouse chain of radio stations (Moffatt Communications) wanted to test the waters: was Canada ready for its first female top 40 rock’n’roll disc jockey? “Conservative old Winnipeg” was going to be the test market because if it worked in Winnipeg, chances are, it would work in their other stations, too.
Enter an English honours major from the University of Winnipeg, who had spent the previous year as Miss Manitoba, and who was putting herself through university as a professional model. I decided at the last minute to go to a “cattle call” (so much of this is now so politically incorrect!). It was for a series of TV commercials for radio stations in Western Canada, and after shooting the TV commercials, I asked to do the voiceover work for the radio spots. That’s when they asked a question that changed my life: would I like to be a disc jockey for CKY’s “KY 58”? It was summertime, I could fit the shifts into my modelling schedule, and if it didn’t work, I would go back to university in the fall.
Day one was spent in my backyard, listening to songs and the different styles of those deep-voiced disc jockeys. That night, sunburned, I went to spend time in the control room, with the guy who worked the midnight shift. He put me on the air that night. Not the best plan: I played an Alice Cooper song and said, “my, what a husky voice she has”. And on it went. But it worked. Winnipeg was ready for a female disc jockey, for what the station called, “Your First Lady Lorraine”. It was three years of high flying rock’n’roll. Bottles of champagne from the Hells Angels, letters from inmates in prison, Trooper wrote a song for the Lady on the Radio, and tons of acceptance from Winnipeggers. The doors had been opened for female rock’n’roll disc jockeys.
Three years later, I moved to TV in Winnipeg, hosting two live, daily TV shows, and a few years later, I married and moved to Edmonton. The gods were on my side: ITV was launching a new mid-morning TV show. It was to run live each weekday, and it was exactly what I had been doing in Winnipeg. “Good, Good Morning” was born, and it was my baby. Open line discussions on spousal abuse and politics. Fashion. Dizzy Gillespie and James Brown stopping by. And Canada’s top chefs sharing their secrets: food reigned supreme. Oh, what fun that show was.
Then came a big change: the emphasis switched to local news. More than 20 years ago, ITV, now Global TV, launched its morning news program. My passion was to take Edmontonians on a live, behind-the-scenes look into businesses, theatres and dance companies, community and rec centres, restaurants, fashion shows, and hospitals – whatever captured the heartbeat of our great city. It meant a total commitment to our community: riding in many bike tours, running team races through the mountains, dinners with the Governor General, hosting many galas and high-profile events, and helping charities raise much-needed funds. What an honour!
Now it continues, online, through social media. Join me on my journey, as I share the passion and people that make our city great. Hopefully, we’ll reach beyond Edmonton, to share what we have to offer with others. Thank you for opening your doors to me. I hope you enjoy my next journey as much as I will!
Awards & Achievements
Fun Facts about Lorraine
Lorraine Through the Years
Lorraine does an interview
on Good Good Morning on ITV.
A flashback to the early days
Lorraine is crowned
Miss Manitoba in 1975.
Lorraine Mansbridge tours
NAIT's newly upgraded dental clinic.
Lorraine is interviewed for the final
time on Global Edmonton.