Host of the TSN Winnipeg Jets radio shows
As a boy growing up in Kingston, Nova Scotia, Rick Ralph used to do play-by-plays on the street hockey games in his neighbourhood. Little did he know that he’d end up spending most of his career as a sportscaster and would one day host the TSN Winnipeg Jets radio shows.
“Back then, I did it more for the comedy value than anything else. It always got a laugh,” Rick says. “I would never have guessed it would be my career.”
It still wasn’t on his radar when he was studying toward a Bachelor of Commerce at Saint Mary's University. In fact, getting into sports reporting was kind of a fluke.
“I graduated in 1992 when the country was in a recession. I didn't have a hope of getting a job.” A lot of his friends were trying to find work in banks and that didn’t appeal to him at all. Having always loved sports, he took a job in a sporting goods store and it’s there that the idea of working in radio and television began to percolate.
A chance run-in with Dick Prat, the producer of CTV’s Live at Five got the ball rolling. Prat put him onto the news director at CHUM in Toronto and Rick started to think he was on the right path. He made what would become a life-changing decision.
“I didn't have much to go on but decided to do it anyway; I threw everything I owned into my car and headed up to Toronto.”
Next stop: Seneca College and a diploma in journalism, not to mention a fortuitous field placement at FAN 590, one of Canada’s leading sports radio stations. This lead to a job, and the beginning of Rick's career in sports reporting. “I started there as an intern and I'd watch and learn and offer to step in wherever I could help,” he says. “It worked; when the boss asked which of the interns should get a job, they picked me.”
Looking back, Rick says he was simply following the advice of one of his favourite professors at SMU - Ravi Tangri. “He taught us to reach out and talk to people at every opportunity, and to remember who you talked to. In the radio industry that was critical. It's a broad industry but it's very tight, so reaching out and making connections really helped me out along the way."
Rick worked at FAN 590 radio for more than 12 years, doing everything from hosting a talk show to sportscasting and producing. During his 17 years living in Toronto, he also worked as a reporter at The Score Television Network and as a sportscaster at 680 News. In his off-time, he squeezed in teaching radio reporting and radio newscasting at Seneca College for over a decade.
In 2011, Rick left Toronto for Winnipeg and TSN, where he now hosts the Winnipeg Jets pre-game, intermission, and post-game shows, in addition to hosting the TSN mid-day show show. Going from a city of 2.5 million to 700,000 has been quite a shift. According to Rick, not sitting in rush hour traffic and being able to get out of the city in only 20 minutes are two huge perks.
“The job title has opened the door to meeting all kinds of people,” says Rick. “It's been a really fun change for me. It's hard to describe how crazy this city is about the Jets. I knew it would be exciting when I came, but I had no idea the frenzy that would grip the city when the Jets are playing. It's great.”