LITTLE CURRENT—Little Current Cruisers’ Net, the daily seasonal VHF radio show for boaters in the North Channel, has 15 seasons under its belt—a worthwhile cause for a recent celebration held next to the official broadcast centre in the Anchor Inn recently.
“So many people have become friends when they would otherwise be strangers. You often don’t see them except in the summers,” said Roy Eaton, the founder and host of Cruisers’ Net, which airs on VHF channel 71 every morning in July and August at 9 am.
The Anchor’s bar was jam-packed with boaters who had come to join in on the festivities and wish Mr. Eaton well with the future of the broadcast.
Current Anchor Inn owner Denise Callaghan accepted the first certificate of appreciation of the afternoon for her faithful and continued offering of space for Mr. Eaton to host his broadcast. For this season, he has moved from the second-floor conference room to a spot in the bar side of the establishment that looks out onto Water Street and the North Channel.
Debby and Jib Turner, owners of Turners of Little Current, presented Mr. Eaton with some branded goodies and a chart of the North Channel from 2004, the same year Cruisers’ Net started up in Little Current. Mr. Eaton thanked them for partnering with the show by sponsoring the daily trivia question, as well as offering all their support through the years.
Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin spoke next and thanked Mr. Eaton for all the work he has done in promoting the North Channel and Little Current both through his show and at various events. He presented him with a certificate on behalf of the town in honour of this milestone.
Stan Ferguson came up to the microphone next, and was thanked both for his individual contributions to the show as a guest speaker and as chair of the North Channel Marine Tourism Council.
Mr. Eaton acknowledged Glen Parsons and his boat Last Resort for having the most consecutive check-ins to the program, even text-messaging or calling Mr. Eaton when he was not within radio range. Unfortunately, his cruising days are over due to boat problems, but Mr. Parsons still came to be part of the festivities on this day.
After acknowledging some key partners, Mr. Eaton extended his thanks to the many boaters gathered there for being part of “a community of boaters helping boaters.”
“Up here in the North Channel, you can’t rely on cell reception. We provide important communication in case of an emergency,” he said.
Mr. Eaton has recently undergone hip surgery, which will require him to take some time off from his show. However, several people have stepped forward to offer their assistance and he has six days of fill-in hosts already confirmed.
“I’m being very positive about it. From everyone I’ve talked to about it, I’ll come back as good as new. It’s going to be a difficult time, but thanks to the community of boaters, it’ll work,” said Mr. Eaton.
Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes offered her best wishes and the words of Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha. Mr. Eaton gave his thanks to Bruce and Kelly O’Hare and Rob Norris, who were partners in the ownership of the Anchor Inn when he first started using the space to host his show. He also gave a special shoutout to John Corliss who, with his seven years of service, is the Little Current Yacht Club’s longest-serving commodore.
Cruisers’ Net has only grown since its inception, with an audience record now standing at 170 callers in one morning. The growth of its audience is only surpassed by its reputation—Mr. Eaton shared a story of a boater who was on his first trip as a boat owner and tuned in; he had been told to listen to the show before he even left the marina for the first time.
Although this surgery might create a temporary hurdle for Mr. Eaton, he will undoubtedly be back behind the microphone in no time, offering morning greetings to and helping out boaters of all kinds across Lake Huron.