You may not have met him in person, but you’ve probably heard his voice. Whether advertising a Cents game or announcing the weather, Brian Wiebe’s voice has been filling Merritt’s airwaves for almost ten years.

However, change is in the air for Q101 Merritt’s Music Mix listeners and for Wiebe and his family. The morning radio host and station manager has accepted a position at BCIT as an assistant instructor in the radio program and will be starting Monday.

It’s a bitter sweet change for Wiebe who moved to Merritt for his first full time job in radio after graduating from BCIT in 2002, but it’s one he’s looking forward to.

“When I graduated, I thought maybe one day it would be fun to teach radio, but I never thought it would happen after 10 years in the industry – maybe 30,” said Wiebe.

Part of his new duties will include acting as operations manager for Evolution 107.9, BCIT’s radio station and offering feedback and guidance for the students in the radio program, which is something he enjoyed while visiting BCIT for talent scouting events.

“I always liked talking to students and passing on knowledge and advice,” said Wiebe.

And yet, while he’s excited about this new opportunity, Wiebe said he is sad to leave the city that has been his home for the last ten years.

“I’ve lived almost a third of my life in Merritt and it will always be important to me,” he said. “I’ll always think fondly of Mountainfest and Country Christmas and I care a lot about the people here.”

In fact, Wiebe said he and his wife Carla had no intention of leaving Merritt until the right opportunity came along.

Coming to Merritt with no expectations in 2002, Wiebe said he had some pleasant surprises as he adjusted to life in the Nicola Valley. For one thing he liked the down to earth way of life in a small community. He also learned to appreciate the world of junior hockey.

“I knew very little about junior hockey – I always thought it was sub par,” said Wiebe. “Because of the Centennials, I learned how good junior hockey really was and how much it can mean to a smaller community.”

Besides his work at the station, Wiebe volunteered many hours with the Centennials over the years doing everything from colour commentating on the radio to acting as media/communications coordinator and maintaining the website. Wiebe also served as a member of the Centennials board and as the board president until 2008 when his first son, Evan, was born.

Centennials coach Luke Pierce said it will hard to replace Wiebe’s contributions, which have been consistent since he moved to Merritt.

“It’s going to be tough – it’s like our team is losing the star player,” said Pierce. “Everyone is going to have to chip in a little more to try and make up for it.”

Pierce added that Wiebe has done a lot to promote the team in the community and beyond, describing Wiebe’s blog as one of the most popular junior hockey blogs in Western Canada.

While he won’t be in Merritt anymore, Wiebe said he won’t be inaccessible and would like to remain involved with the Cents in some way, especially with the 40-year anniversary coming up.

“I’ve always relished being involved with the team and I will boast to anyone willing to listen on the coast that Merritt has the longest running franchise,” he said.

And in general, Wiebe said that he and his family won’t be strangers to the Nicola Valley.

“You won’t wake up with me every morning anymore, but I’ll still be around,” said Wiebe. “Merritt will always be a destination for us and not just a stop along the way.”