Longtime Métis Hour host hangs up mic after 23 years

Ray St. Germain will miss chatting with callers, playing local music


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It’s been a good run with a lot of good conversations, but after more than two decades in front of the mic, Ray St. Germain is stepping away from radio.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/04/2022 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s been a good run with a lot of good conversations, but after more than two decades in front of the mic, Ray St. Germain is stepping away from radio.

The multi-talented musician has been hosting the Métis Hour x2 on NCI-FM every Saturday for the last 23 years. He’s gained a dedicated following of listeners who call in week after week to chat or send well wishes to friends tuning into the broadcast.

“Oh yes, by the sound of their voice we know who they are,” St. Germain says with a chuckle.

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) sponsors the show and its president, David Chartrand, is one such weekly caller, offering weekly updates on the organization’s goings-on during a recurring guest spot.

St. Germain’s retirement from radio isn’t a true retirement; he’s not giving up music and he still sings “half an hour every day, you know, just in case something comes up.” Chartrand has also given the artist, known for his unofficial anthem The Metis, a standing invitation to continue his work as an ambassador for the federation.

“He’s leaving the door open for me, as he always does,” St. Germain says. “I might get tired of doing nothing — I hope not.”

Retirement or not, it’s a well-earned break for the 82-year-old public figure who has spent much of his career in the spotlight as a singer, radio host and television personality. St. Germain and wife Glory are looking forward to spending more time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who live in Las Vegas and Vancouver.

His presence on the air is going to be difficult to replace, says David McLeod, chief executive officer of Native Communications Incorporated.

“Ray is irreplaceable,” McLeod says. “His show is by far one of the most popular shows on NCI-FM… It started out as an hour program and because of the amount of phone calls — every phone line is lit for two hours straight — one hour was just not enough.”

The MMF is leading the search for a new host and St. Germain will remain in the studio until the right candidate is found. The goal is to pass the torch to someone who is community-minded and able to connect with the audience — though McLeod recognizes it might take listeners a while to get used to a new voice. “I’ve found that the audience needs at least two to three months before they get used to a change when you have a popular program,” he says.

For his part, St. Germain also hopes his successor has a love for music. Besides talking to listeners and working with co-host Carl (Cowboy) Thomas (and previous co-host Naomi Clarke), making a weekly playlist has been one of the joys of the job. He aims to play 15 songs a show, with at least one gospel tune an hour and a mix of classic country and local music.

St. Germain had this advice for the future Métis Hour x2 host: “To make sure they play a lot of local talent, music-wise, and to be ready to say ‘Hi’ to as many callers as you can.”

News of St. Germain’s impending signoff was met with an outpouring of admiration on social media, with many sharing fond memories of tuning into the show.

“Twenty-three years is a long time building those relationships with the audience,” McLeod says. “They certainly have turned into friendships, where they’re sharing their lives with Ray.”

As a colleague, McLeod is going to miss the humour and work ethic the longtime host brought to the station. “There are few entertainers in this province that have had the length of career that he has,” he says, “and it’s solely based on his humour and his professionalism and his talent.”


Twitter: @evawasney

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Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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