The Upside: A Clever Pivot by CHEK News

Vancouver Island Businesses are in the spotlight as the “weather guy” and the “sports guy” — long-time friends and colleagues — collaborate on a local broadcast show.

Photo by Belle White

On March 17, Ed Bain and Jeff King got a call from their news director at CHEK, Scott Fee, telling them to meet a camera crew on Mount Tolmie. What evolved from those unscripted, playful first broadcasts was The Upside, a segment that has taken the “weather guy” and
the “sports guy” — long-time friends and colleagues — on the road to film 180 broadcasts to date, and counting.

“We decided to try and help our local restaurants,” says King of early ideas for the segment. “So we did something called ‘Takeout Tuesday,’ encouraging people to support local restaurants.”

As lockdown endured, the pair turned their spotlight to other local businesses that might benefit from the attention.

Physical distance requirements limit the amount of people in CHEK’s film studio. Anchor Stacy Ross is live at 5 p.m., followed by anchor Joe Perkins at 6 p.m. Wherever their remote shoot is filming, King and Bain join the anchors live on air six times during those two hours for up to 45 minutes of air time each day. Adept at wrangling the multiple shots and locations required off site, cameraman Mark Innis makes The Upside possible.

Eating oysters in Fanny Bay; making pottery on a driveway in Langford; ziplining at Mount Washington. It sounds like fun and games — which it is because the pair make it so, deeply grateful for the opportunity — but the impact of their attention has yielded results for struggling businesses and charitable causes.

“We were up at the South Island Saskatoons berry farm, and they were run off their feet the next day,” says Bain. “The people watching are terrific; they recognize the need and travel to places we show them.”

Coverage for the Rotary Club of West Shore’s Golf Ball Drop helped raise $20,000, and the segment contributed to Tour de Rock’s success in raising $78,000.

“It’s the mom and pop shops that we are most proud of being able to help,” says King. “We’ve met just the most incredibly nice, generous people — not one bad person. People that are going through some pretty tough times right now, but they’re just wonderful and trying to find a way to make it work.”

The segment was born from change, so adapting to new circumstances will be par for the course with winter’s early nights and freezing temperatures. That said, the show must — and will — go on.

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