Women in the media in honour of International Women’s Day
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
“Luckily for me, I never experienced prejudice or inequality during my career and was always treated with respect whether I was in a locker room or a board room.”– Kathy Kovacs
Fiona Forbes and Kathy Kovacs shared their thoughts about this special day honouring and recognizing the achievements of women worldwide. Viewers will remember Forbes, a Vancouver native, as the long-time host of the highly popular television program, Urban Rush (later The Rush) with co-host, Michael Eckford on Shaw TV. Forbes has been working in television for 25 years; today she is a senior creative producer and television host for Hubcast Media Productions. She is also involved with her Onstage Music Series who has partnered with Music Heals to raise funds and awareness for music therapy programs across Canada.
Late-night television viewers will remember Kathy Kovacs, an Edmonton native, as the long-time sports anchor for CTV News Vancouver from 2000 till 2009. She was also an on-air host for the Vancouver Canucks for two seasons. Today, Kovacs is balancing two business ventures during the pandemic. She is currently developing an online educational course to help casual watchers better understand sports. Forbes and Kovacs spoke with the Other Press about their careers and the importance of International Women’s Day.
OP: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Fiona Forbes: “I always take the time to reflect on some of the incredible humans who have given me opportunities and have lifted me up in my career, so I try to do the same for other women. I’m so thankful that I’ve always had supportive women (and men) as my colleagues, friends, and family. I think it’s so important that as women we inspire and support on another.”
Kathy Kovacs: “It means a lot to me. Growing up, I always knew I wanted a job in sports, and I don’t think becoming a sports broadcaster would have been possible if not for the women who worked extremely hard to break down barriers and help build equality in the workplace. Luckily for me, I never experienced prejudice or inequality during my career and was always treated with respect whether I was in a locker room or a board room. Later on in life, I went through a really rough spot when I was divorcing and still working full-time and being a mother to my two children. I was invited to make a speech on International Women’s Day, and I was dreading it, feeling so emotionally exhausted. But being on stage that night with all the other women was one of the most inspiring nights of my life. It was the beginning of me embracing the ugly stuff life throws at us from time to time and trying to be real and relevant to people.”
OP: What has been your career highlight that you are most proud of?
FF: “Oh that’s a tough one! I’ve been so fortunate with some of the opportunities in my broadcasting career, but the I’d have to say the biggest highlight is that being able to continuously work in the television industry for the past 25 years is my biggest achievement—I have so much gratitude for that!”
KK: “I loved broadcasting live on location whether it was during the Canucks’ playoff run or at a local ball diamond. But it was also nerve wracking at times. My greatest thrill was covering the 2006 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA when the team from Whalley, BC represented Canada. There’s so much history there and the kids were so much fun to be around. It was one of the best weeks of my life!”
OP: Who were the women that most influenced you?
FF: “My mom. She is stronger than she’ll ever admit and funnier than she’ll ever know. We’ve been bubbled together during this whole crazy time and I’m very thankful to have this time with her.”
KK: “This may sound kind of cheesy, but I always admired Oprah. She didn’t just have a vision; she was her own vision. She was able to connect with her viewers and have real conversations during her interviews. Growing up in Edmonton, I always admired a local reporter named Lisa Miller. Lisa was the first woman I ever saw covering sports and I watched her religiously knowing I wanted to be just like her one day. I also really looked up to my mom. She was the person who got me involved in sports and it was her love of hockey that made me stand up and take notice.”