Among Edmonton broadcasters, it can safely be said that Irene Madoche is held in affectionate regard by all who know her. A sunny disposition and sincere friendliness are no doubt attributes that influenced her being hired in 1959 to be CJCA’s receptionist. She still claims that day, October 22nd, to be the big day of her life — the start of a rewarding career.
For the next thirty years, Irene welcomed visitors and greeted those who telephoned the station, with warmth and competence. CJCA, and then also K-97, were part of the Selkirk Communications broadcast family, and it was only when that era came to a close that Irene moved on to the stations which she currently serves — CFCW, CKRA, CIRK — known corporately as the Edmonton Radio Group. There have been various owners of these stations since Irene took over the reception desk, the current owner being Newcap, Inc., and Irene’s consistently pleasant manner has been appreciated by all. She will gladly tell you that, for her, “every day is a highlight”, and she treasures the friendships she has made over the years. While she could have retired in 2004, Irene happily continued her career until November 2010.
Edmonton Journal – October 24, 2009
The voice behind the talent
by Cam Tait
Irene Madoche knows how to make a good first impression last 50 years.
The soft-spoken Edmonton woman celebrated a half-century of answering telephones and greeting visitors for local radio stations.
Madoche started working for 930 CJCA in 1959. She’s still directing calls these days for Capital FM, K-97 and 790 CFCW in West Edmonton Mall.
“For someone to answer phones at a radio station for 50 years is simply amazing,” says Gord Whitehead, now the morning man at 630 CHED.
Whitehead met Madoche in the late 1970s at CJCA and notes her ability to memorize names and voices.
“I remember, I started working with a client in 1979, named Bob Sproule,” says Whitehead. “By the third time Bob called the station, Irene knew his name, and still does today.”
Likewise, Madoche is pretty memorable, too. In 1995, she told The Journal that whenever former prime minister Brian Mulroney came to the CJCA studio on 108th Street, he would call her by her first name.
Radio personality and voice-over talent Charlee Redmen remembers how Madoche calmed her nerves before a job interview with the late Gary McGowan, who was a program director back in 1990.
“I had to wait some time before Gary came out to get me, and Irene went out of her way to make me feel comfortable and to let me know how nice a man Gary was,” says Redman. “I not only went on to a wonderful tenure with K-97, but also to an incredible marriage with Gary.
“Although neither one of us had worked with her for some time, Irene was at Gary’s funeral service. She will never know how much that means to me.”
Whitehead says Madoche worked without voice mail for most of her career.
“I remember how well she wrote down everyone’s messages on those little pink pieces of paper,” he says.
Madoche has met thousands of people at the reception desk.
“Day in and day out, she always greeted both our staff and clients with a warm welcome and a beautiful smile as they came into our building at CJCA,” says Peter Wilkes, who worked with Madoche.
There was a surprise party for Madoche Thursday evening at the Oldtimers Cabin on 99th Street, with more than 200 people on the guest list.
Edmonton Sun – October 23, 2009
Hicks on Six – Graham Hicks
HAPPY 50TH, IRENE!
She was truly surprised.
From the look on her face, the world’s best receptionist had no idea.
Irene Matoche currently answers the phones with a cheery voice and a good word for three sister stations, CFCW, K-97 and Capital FM. Owned by Newcap Radio, the stations are under one roof in West Edmonton Mall with the same support services, i.e. Irene on the phones and at the front desk.
The surprise party was to celebrate Irene’s 50th year as a receptionist (and den mother) in radio. All with one continuous employer.
Irene started in 1959 with CJCA, which then opened FM station K-97, which kept operating after CJCA was shut down, which was sold to Newcap Radio after Newcap purchased CFCW and today’s Capital FM.
Through it all, Irene answered phones and manned the front desk, cheering up EVERYBODY who crossed her path.
Some 200 radio people, past and present, many from non-Newcap stations, showed up for Irene’s surprise 50th yesterday at the Old Pioneers’ Cabin.
Folks like retired CHED newsman Glen Yost, who loves driving transit part-time for Sherwood Park — “I tell them to ‘move to the back of the bus’ in my best radio voice.” — or the famous Professor Emeritus Dr. John Paterson whose CJCA show dispensed much commonsense counselling wisdom. Plus dozens of present-day on-air and back-stage radio folks who consider Irene, as Newcap’s Randy Lemay said, “a living angel who walks among us.”
Happy 50th, Irene!
Keep answering those phones. Don’t ever let them replace you with “press one”.