Friday, December 22, 2017

12.22.17 Hero of the Day: John "The Canuck" Wiechenthal

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on


Name: John "The Canuck" Wiechenthal
Age: was 39
Occupation: former radio personality and 911 dispatcher
Last Seen: playing country music favorites up in the heavens
Awarded For: just being an overall good guy 

You know, I wasn't planning on doing any more Bee-otches of the Day or Heroes of the Day for what's left of 2017. I was going to do Bee-otch of the Week, then Bee-otch of the Month and then gradually work on Bee-otch of the Year for next week.

But this morning, I woke up to hear the bad news. There was an accident on Kalamazoo Ave. in Kentwood near 52nd Street where a pickup collided with a car, smashing into a telephone pole. The truck driver survived, but the man driving the car did not.

And that man was one of the most-respected voices on Grand Rapids radio, John "The Canuck" Wiechenthal.

Born in a small remote town in rural Ontario, John moved to the Grand Rapids area when he was young. He was a huge fan of country music and loved B93. He told station personnel that he wanted to work there, and at age 21, he got his wish. John worked at B93 for 19 years, though he found a full-time job with the Ionia County 911 Dispatch Center where he saved countless lives. However, he remained on The Bee, handling weekends and fill-in.

Now, I hate country music with a severe passion, but John loved me to death. Hell, he personally friended me on Facebook and would often reply to my posts. When Kidd Kraddick died and told people that if you worked for WLHT, don't play golf, he responded with "Wow!" When Grand Rapids was rocked with a minor earthquake a few years ago and I criticized the media for their lackluster coverage of it, John told me that he was on the air that afternoon on B93 telling listeners about it and the phone lines lit up like Christmas lights. It seemed to be very rare for a radio station owned by a company with a long history of voicetracked jocks, but it shows that if there's a live body in the studio, people will listen.

John was very down to earth with his listeners and was well-loved by his co-workers at B93 and the Ionia County Dispatch. He was also a loving husband and father to his own daughter and his wife's two children from previous relationships. Even competing radio stations, like WGRD have a picture of John on their front page, expressing their condolences. John's sister even started a GoFundMe page for his widow and children that has now raised over $7,000.

In all, I really hate knowing that a family has lost its father and husband only days before Christmas. I will pray for Raneane and her children plus the people who knew and loved John. But in the end, maybe God needed him more than we did. After all, there are a few country music lovers in Heaven and God needed a DJ for them.

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