The radio broadcaster has over 25 years of experience including stops in Powell River, Prince George, Squamish, Fort St. John and other cities.
Rick Dhaliwal is a long-time member in the BC sports media landscape and his work will be remembered by generations of sports fans throughout this entire province. He was recently named to Sportsnet 650’s Starting Lineup radio program, a big moment in his illustrious career. Dhaliwal has over 25 years of experience including stops in Powell River, Prince George, Squamish, Fort St. John and other cities before settling his career in Vancouver.
The talented broadcaster grew up in New Westminster; he enjoyed reading The Columbian and loved their sports coverage. When he decided to pursue a media career in high school, Dhaliwal realized the cultural barrier that could be in his way. “Back then, the only Indo-Canadian in media that I could look up to was Jas Johal. The odds were stacked against me. Even my family had significant doubts that I would pull this off.” But he recalls never giving up, “I didn’t let myself quit when times got tough. The adversity made me stronger and helped me become the person I am today.”
The sports reporter has a truly unique schedule. He wakes up at 3:30 am and gets to work by 4:30 am. During this time, he is communicating with his contacts, particularly eastern contacts who are three hours ahead.
The entire day involves frequent phone, Twitter, and Internet checks on any news, stories or other information. His show, Sportsnet Starting Lineup with James Cybulski, Perry Solkowski, and Rick Dhaliwal, is on from 5:30 am to 9 am. The team of Dhaliwal, Cybulski and Solkowski interview guests while also discussing the current sports topics and issues. Dhaliwal also does a fair amount of prep work every night as the day’s games conclude to use for the next day.
This shift to the Starting Lineup is one of the biggest milestones of Dhaliwal’s career. According to him, a three-hour show requires 10 times more prep than small segments. He has adapted well though, in large part due to his chemistry with his co-hosts. “I have a great rapport with my colleagues Perry and James from years ago that this has become very natural and we just love coming to work together.”
Dhaliwal holds a significant distinction of being one of the top insiders for Vancouver Canucks news. He also breaks news for the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps, but his primary work is within the National Hockey League (NHL) specifically with the Vancouver Canucks. Being an insider demands the ability to disseminate breaking news before anyone else. However, Dhaliwal emphasizes that just speed is not enough. “Accuracy is the most important thing. If you do not have good sources, then your information is useless. This business is about building strong relationships and exchanging help. It’s all about trust and if there’s no trust, it won’t work.”
As mentioned before, Dhaliwal’s ascent to sports fame was not always easy. Though he battled through hardships and bad decisions, he wasn’t dejected. “You have to learn from your mistakes. If you’re not trying, you’re not making any mistakes.” As a strong proponent of self-improvement, Dhaliwal encourages young professionals to watch and learn to develop their understanding for the industry and that “taking progressive steps to improve your craft is instrumental to growing a career in this field.”
For aspiring journalists and those who wish to get into radio, Dhaliwal has another key foundation everyone should focus on: writing. “You have to be able to write well. Writing is the number one skill to look for in this field and improving your writing skills will improve your career prospects,” advices the inspiring role model.
Dhaliwal has a clear goal for what he wants to do in the future. He believes that he can go at least another five to 10 years doing what he is doing now. The love and passion he has for his job will not fade. When it is time to leave, he will ride off into the sunset with his family having nothing short of a remarkable career to look back on.