TV HOST GOES RADIO: "I can come here in my bathrobe and I don't have to look pretty!" says Jon Ljungberg of his new gig, 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. doing the CJOB morning show while Hal Anderson is off "for health reasons." Radio and TV are two different animals, says Ljungberg. "On TV, there's two eyes staring at you. With radio, you focus more on the chitty-chat-chat." The former Breakfast Television host finally got on air after a couple of days of "shadow training" with the show team. This morning, it's sink or swim. "I'm also getting back into the research area with issues, guests and phone-ins. I have X amount of segments to fill every day, but people here have been really great and supportive," he said.
So how is Hal doing? Nobody's been giving out details on The Big Guy and fans are worried. Ljungberg says, "OK, it's health issues. It's his back and he's on the mend."
Every morning after the show, Ljungberg races back to Riverview Health Centre Foundation, where he is a major fundraiser working on big events. "Our next large event is Laughter is the Best Medicine, a gala dinner and auction with comedian Derek Edwards entertaining. The night is to honour (lawyer) Bob Sokalski for his many, many years of volunteering and sitting on Riverview boards," says Ljungberg. That event is on April 10 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Call 204-478-6220 for tickets.
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NOT YOUR GRANDMA'S SIGHT-SEEING TOUR: Manitoba's first winter ski-hill zipline opens at 2:30 p.m. today at Holiday Mountain, less than two hours from Winnipeg on Highway 3. "It's 1,497 feet long with speeds of up to 55 miles per hour," says operations manager Bernice Later of the wild ride high above the racing hill. Crazy, awesome fast! Anybody over 200 pounds has to wear a parachute and the heaviest person on the lift can only be 275 pounds. "It's going to be really popular because it's the only winter zipline running in Manitoba," says Later. There's also good news for dabbling ski bunnies and parents who blew out their knees years ago -- there's no hiking involved. Included in the $40 ticket is a chairlift ride to the top. Second runs are $20. Zipline tours run only on weekends. You can book zipline rides and overnights in the A-frame cabins by calling 204-242-2172.
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50 SHADES OF RED: Chris Reid, the Power 97 weekend morning man, will be reading aloud from kinky bestseller 50 Shades of Grey at Words in the Flesh, a night of entertaining reads by local celebs, Feb. 1 at the Clarion Hotel from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It's a fundraiser for the Manitoba Writers Guild.
The scoop? An organizer basically tricked him into the gig by saying he might be reading something like, er, Shakespeare! "I thought it was a joke at first, but it's not," said Reid. Is he nervous about reading from the S&M trilogy? "I might be shocked when I see it, but I won't hold back. It's part of the fun." Reid is hoping to borrow some Shades of Grey books ahead of time from female co-workers who might have them -- but not at their desks, of course. "That's what lunch breaks are for."
Meanwhile, our own Free Press humour columnist Doug Speirs has been assigned a steamy passage out of Love to Last, written by Winnipeg romance author Samantha Day. Day has penned six Harlequin romances, three set in "exotic locations" in Manitoba. Other readers include Olympian Rhiannon Leier Blacher, reading poems by the famous Prairie poet Sarah Binks (who never really existed); newly minted judge Tim Killeen, reading Freddie's Problem, by Resa Ostrove; Don Percy, with his big radio voice, will be booming out The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert W. Service; and Hon. Christine Melnick is reading "something austere-ish," according to the organizing team.
Tickets are $20 and available from McNally Robinson Booksellers or the Manitoba Writers Guild at 204-944-8013.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6