Hudson Mack releases autobiography

Hudson Mack released his autobiography Unsinkable Anchor.

Hudson Mack, best known as the face of TV news on Vancouver Island, has released his autobiography Unsinkable Anchor.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Hudson Mack, best known as the face of TV news on Vancouver Island, has released his autobiography Unsinkable Anchor.

The new book fills the void for those missing the news anchor on the nightly news cast.

Released Oct. 3, 2015, by Harbour Publishing, Unsinkable Anchor traces the steps of the award-winning journalist from his early life in Calgary to his 34-year career in broadcasting, which saw stops in Kamloops, and Prince George  before a 19-year run in Victoria with CHEK and A-Channel News (CTV).

Mack offers a nostalgic insider’s view of small-town Canadian broadcasting from the 1960s and 70s to present day.  He is able to keep the reader’s attention by not focusing too much on the journalism and his personal life, but instead recounts the more hilarious, embarrassing and monumental moments of his career.

One  moment being Prince Philips’s “awkward” interaction with Mack’s wife Patty during Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Victoria in 2002, part of the monarch’s Golden Jubilee Tour of Canada.

Mack writes how meeting the Queen and emceeing a luncheon for Her Majesty  and Prince Philip at the Fairmont Empress Hotel was one of the “biggest thrills” of his life. However, he still chuckles at what followed during a ceremony at the B.C. legislature, an incident he dubs the “Philip gaffe.”

There were other interesting encounters with heads of state and world leaders including meeting former United States President George W. Bush at the White House in 2005, and emceeing a home-town event with former president Bill Clinton in attendance the following year.

Mack also confesses to some hard lessons learned such as his on-air slip-up on CHEK in 1985. He proclaimed during a newscast that the best thing about his former hometown of Prince George was Highway 97 south.

The comments did not sit well with Prince George councillor Monica Becott.

While many quirky anecdotes made the final edit, Mack bemoans the cutting of some interesting passages about his Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel years.

In 2007, he assumed his ambassadorial role with 741 Communications Squadron until 2011. He was initially “floored” when he got word he had been selected for the position.

“The invitation for the position came out of the blue,” Mack said. “I felt a bit like a fish out of water initially.”

His father, Clarence Mack, had a lengthy career as a radio broadcaster, but had also worked at a Royal Canadian Air Force repair depot in Calgary during the Second World War and was a life-long member the Calgary Flying Club.

“Even though my dad was active in the service that was before I was born, I never had any military experience in life and this was all new to me,” he explains.

His first engagement with the unit was very intimidating.

“Things like learning how to salute properly was basic, but was something I had to know for the job, and initially didn’t. In the end, the people in the unit alleviated these concerns very quickly. They were so welcoming, helpful and understanding.”

His first-ever experience with firearms also came along with his appointment and he will never forget the encouragement and support of many in the unit.

“I had no weapons background but there I was out on the rifle range firing away with the soldiers,” he said.

Mack chalks it up to beginners luck, but says he ended up being “quite the marksman.” He still has his Figure 11 Target from the Heals Rifle Range in Saanich, and his CAF badge as honorary marksman displayed in his home office.

He was so enamoured with his CAF involvement that he would wear his Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel uniform on the air for Remembrance Day broadcasts, and sport a red tie during his Friday broadcasts in honour of CAF members serving in Afghanistan.

He also won’t forget the importance of the Royal Canadian Navy to the people of Victoria.

“The navy is such a critical part of the community of Victoria. It’s part of the fabric of so many people’s history and experiences here in town,” he said.

A few years after his four-year honorary role with the military was over, so was his on-air career.

Mack opens and closes Unsinkable Anchor with passages about his corporate downsizing experience at the hands of CTV executives in February 2014.

He says writing the book and being an instructor in the Professional Communication Program at Royal Roads University has filled his days and kept him busy. Writing Unsinkable Anchor has been a “therapeutic” process for him, helping him come to terms with his abrupt departure from the television studio.

“I hope people can take away from my book that even though I’ve taken some knocks, the real message in my writing is that you can carry on, keep looking up and the glass isn’t half-empty. Its full and no matter what setbacks you may encounter the sun is coming every day.”    

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