The Holiday season is an especially busy time for Majic 100’s Program Director Connie Bernardi. Trying to balance the holiday classics with a slew of new releases from some of today’s top artists will be a challange, while still making time for song requests from the station’s dedicated listeners. But having worked in radio since 1997, she’s more than excited to take on the task this year. We talked about what’s to come for Majic 100’s all-Christmas programming, her holiday favourites, and the charities that mean the most to her.
How long have you worked as the program director for MAJIC 100? What led you to this role?
I was named Program Director for MAJIC 100 back in December of 2015.
I’ve loved the radio industry even before I realized that I could make a career out of it….I was that teenager that religiously taped radio countdowns every weekend on my dual cassette player so I could have songs for my mixed tapes. I always had the radio on in my room and in the car…I thought the “DJs” had the best jobs ever.
The “I can totally do this for a living” lightbulb moment came when my cousin took me to Boston and we had a chance to visit the legendary KISS 108 radio station. I was instantly hooked.
I’ve been working in the radio industry here in Ottawa since 1997 (a very looong time). I’ve worked my up through a number of roles. I’ve been very lucky that my entire career has been based in my hometown and I’ve never had to move away from home.
During my second year in the Algonquin College Radio Broadcasting Program, I was hired to do weekend overnights at the classic rock station in town. I then moved on to a full time position doing traffic/weather hits on a no-longer-exists rock radio station morning show, and part time receptionist (for the radio station).
Over the years I moved on to different departments, learning as much about the industry as I could…from morning show co-host, promotions assistant, promotions director, music director, assistant program director and then finally a program director. Plus I’m still on air on MAJIC 100 which I still love doing.
It’s truly been an amazing ride so far….
Starting in November, MAJIC100 once again becomes Ottawa’s Christmas Music Station.
What’s it like programming all Christmas music?
I always say it wouldn’t be Christmas in Ottawa without MAJIC 100 transitioning to all Christmas music.
It’s fun programming MAJIC 100 as Ottawa’s Christmas Music station. It’s become a tradition in Ottawa – our listeners know it’s coming…but what day is always the most asked question. There are listeners that wait all year for the switch to all Christmas music…I usually start getting emails and messages at the end of October asking when they can expect the holiday music.
We play the big traditional Christmas classics that you know and love like Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Andy Williams, and Burl Ives, mixed in with more contemporary takes on holiday favourites. So many current artists are releasing Christmas music – everyone from Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Pentatonix, Colbie Caillat, Train, Serena Ryder, Katy Perry to Ariana Grande. With that said, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble will always hail as the queen and king of Christmas music on MAJIC 100…
Plus it’s a great opportunity for us to play talented local artists like Steve Gardiner, Andrew Waines, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and Keek.
What is your favourite holiday movie?
Die Hard. It’s so totally a
(A close second and third is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Family Stone)
What’s on your wishlist this year?
Sleep. Disconnecting and being present, and enjoying my holidays with family and friends. And if Santa could work his magic and convince Maroon 5 to come to Ottawa, I’d be OK with that too. I’m still holding out for a record player…but I bet my parents still have my orange Fisher Price that I used to have back in the day in their basement.
Stu and I always exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve after the kids have to gone to bed. I’m pretty predictable with my wishlist – spa gift certificates, a bottle or two of Prosecco, a jar of Nutella and some Panettone from La Bottega and I’m good.
You and Stuntman Stu have been married for 17 years. What are some of your favourite
traditions to do during the holidays?
Stu puts up the tree on a Sunday afternoon (a month before Christmas), and the kids and I decorate. Every year Stu and the kids get a new decoration to add to the tree…if it’s a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation themed ornament…it’s on our tree.
We also have a Christmas baking day – my cousin Riley brings over all the supplies and ingredients and bakes with my kids…her mom and I sit on the couch, drink coffee and tea and catch up.
We also love taking a drive through the Magic of Lights at Wesley Clover Parks – you feel like a kid again looking at all those lights and displays.
Christmas Day is always at our house. Love watching my kids and my niece and nephew take in the day. My dad’s birthday is also on Christmas Day, so it’s a dual celebration – lots of food, wine and wrapping paper to clean up.
We also celebrate Hanukkah. The kids have their own menorahs. We only do one night of gifts but the kids love reciting the prayer with dad and lighting the candles. And one day I’ll perfect making potato latkas and maybe even attempt to make brisket …that’ll be my Hanukkah gift to Stu.
You and Stu have strong ties to local charities – which ones does your family support during the holidays?
For us giving back to the community has always been part of who we are…
And it’s something we are teaching and instilling in our kids so they continue to pay it forward in their lives.
There are so many ways to give of your time and to donate to various organizations.
The Shoebox Project Ottawa, CTV and MAJIC 100’s Toy Mountain, The Ottawa Mission and The Ottawa Food Bank are some initiatives and organizations that we always try and help out with donations.
I remember one year I was at Carlingwood Shopping Centre with the kids and they had a “Be a Santa to a Senior” program. The kids each took a tag off the tree and bought gifts for a deserving senior in the community – it was a such great way to teach them the true meaning of the holiday and the joy you get in giving to others.