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'Mornings are just not going to be the same': GX94 remembers late morning news anchor

Yorkton, Sask. -

It would be hard to find a voice as recognizable in Saskatchewan radio than that of longtime news anchor, Craig Wallebeck.

If you’ve heard it, you’d understand.

His news director, Doug Falconer, called it the “most authoritative” read he has heard.

His morning show co-host for the past near decade, Danny Ismond, had only kind words, describing the raspy tone Wallebeck shared with his listeners, day in and day out.

“It was iconic. When he’d come on the radio, you’d know it’s news time. It’s an unforgettable voice. It was one of those ones that I’d listen to for years, out of Regina, being from Abernethy,” he said.

“When I found out he was coming here to work with me in the mornings, I couldn’t be happier. That’s just an iconic voice that we get to call our own.”

Wallebeck started with GX94 after 16 years at 620 CKRM in Regina. There, he was news director, but made the jump to Yorkton in 2013.

With all these memories so vivid for Ismond, it was a phone call this last Saturday that he’ll never forget.

The call was about the 66-year-old Wallebeck. He died, just hours after finishing up his final shift on the radio Friday at GX94.

“I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t happen. Friday I left and said, ‘Have a good weekend.’ … Didn’t know that was going to be the last time I would be able to talk to him. That was a tough one, to get the phone call that he was gone,” Ismond said.

Earlier in the week, Wallebeck announced he would be retiring in the near future.

It would have still been a loss for Saskatchewan’s airwaves, but the tragic news of his death was heavy on the minds of the staff at the station.

Matt Dekker, a reporter and anchor at GX94, called him a legend of the radio.

“I’m going to miss just the little banter back and forth, the easygoing nature (he showed), and just that welcoming feeling,” he said, holding back tears.

“You don’t mistake who it is when you hear him on air doing a newscast — the minute you hear his voice, you don’t even need to hear his intro, you know immediately who it is.”

The staff has set up a GoFundMe to help with the family, now mourning his passing.

The station shut its doors Thursday to say goodbye to Wallebeck one last time, a funeral that brought through many broadcasters from across Saskatchewan.

With stops in his nearly half century long career involving places such as Prince Albert and Thunder Bay, Wallebeck’s humour, good nature and talent touched many.

In 2022, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement honour by RTDNA Canada — the cap to a career that will be the envy of many journalists in the country.

Ismond said messages have come in from across Canada, and seeing the stories and memories has been nice throughout the week, knowing how respected the man was.

“I don’t think you’re ever going to find a person that would ever have a bad thing to say about Craig — he was the nicest guy,” he said, holding back tears.

“Mornings are just not going to be the same without him.” Top Stories

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