Best known as a former popular television news journalist, Shawna Randolph is breaking new ground with The Breeze 96.3 radio personality Sean Burke.
The two St. Albert colleagues and long-time friends are uniting their talents to premiere a new online talk show. Aptly named Talk Time with Sean & Shawna, it premieres Jan. 22, 2021 on OkotoksTODAY.
The relaxed weekly broadcasts are patterned similarly to morning talk shows such as Live with Kelly and Ryan or The View. The pre-recorded segments feature a panel of celebrities from across the province who discuss the day’s “hot topics” with jokes, light-hearted fun and authenticity.
“We want to stay away from politics. We’ll be looking at current trends, human interest, pop culture and healthy living. Because of the pop culture segments, panelists will make it engaging and entertaining,” said Randolph, a communications specialist. Randolph is a former CTV news anchor and former host of Alberta Primetime.
Each packaged show is split into four segments. It kicks off with a short, banter-filled intro from Randolph and Burke. Next, it segues into What’s the Buzz?, a lively discussion of social trends and pop culture followed by Living Well, a restorative look at physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being. The shows close with short video wrap-up.
“I love the idea we focus on positive things – none of this divisive political stuff. Healthy living, a good mental attitude, financial well-being. We want to give people something positive to enjoy. I like to bring sunshine into people’s lives,” said Burke, who is renowned for his zesty radio humour.
Panelists for What’s the Buzz? include author-playwright Marty Chan, author and journalist Omar Mouallem, blogger and social media expert Linda Hoang as well as University of Calgary professor and cyber security expert Tom Keenan.
“Linda gets social media. She has such a big brain. She’s into everything trendy. Marty is such a fun author. He especially connects with families through his children’s books. Omar has a warm, quirky edge and he’ll push it. Tom is also quirky, well-versed and engaging," Randolph noted.
Registered dietitian Emily Mardell, personal finance educator Kelley Keehn and psychologist Dr. Ganz Ferrance bring their expertise to the Living Well panel.
“Emily is warm and endearing. Kelly has an amazing business sense. She educates people. She’s not a financial advisor – she’s a financial educator. And Dr. Ferrance is a very well known in the province. He’s so real and calming.”
As the founder of Shawna Randolph Communications, Randolph said she is in constant touch with a diverse range of individuals.
“I felt this was compelling. I hear people say they don’t watch the news. It’s too depressing. They want something to enhance life, provide guidance and encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle. There is thirst out there for this type of show.”
It was videographer-producer Rob Zittlau, head of ICU Video Productions, who nudged the concept to Randolph in April 2020. Zittlau made it his life’s ambition to focus on amateur sports broadcasts. However, he was always on the go searching for new projects that piqued his interest.
Zittlau and Randloph worked together at CFRN and the duo had established a creative partnership. He would act as technical director, record the shows and complete post-production while Randolph produced, wrote the script and invited guests.
By April, the duo had filmed several pilot episodes and shopped them to media outlets. Great West Newspapers president Brian Bachynski jumped on board and gave the go-ahead.
Sadly, as the internal workings were being ironed out, Zittlau and his wife Grace died in a car crash in Sturgeon County on Oct. 11, Thanksgiving weekend.
“It was devastating. It was so hard to think about anything to do with work. But on Dec. 20, it would have been Rob’s 60th birthday. If I didn’t go ahead with the show, I knew I would have regretted it,” Randolph said.
She called Alex J. Testawich, one of Zittlau’s subcontractors and he jumped at the chance to work as the new technical director.
“We will be talking about what other people talk about. I want it to be more than entertaining. I want to give them something of value,” Randolph said.
Burke added, “We’re going to be talking about the entertainment scene. But all our guests are local and our story ideas come from across Alberta. We have great chemistry and I’m really excited about it.”