By Jesse Robitaille
Rick Dupuis has returned after a short hiatus from the world of radio broadcasting, and he’s bringing numismatics back with him.
In recent years, Canadian numismatic radio shows have become a rare offering, but Dupuis, a disc jockey for more than six years, is hoping to change that with his new show Pocket Change Radio, which is broadcast live on 91.3 FM Bluewater Radio in Hanover, Ont.
“We do this by sharing experiences and stories in a light-hearted conversational manner,” said Dupuis. “The purpose of the show is to cast a favorable light on the hobby and get into some areas that collectors and dealers alike will find interesting.”
Since the initial show aired in October 2015, some of the guests have included Alex Reeves, communications manager with the Royal Canadian Mint; Mike Walsh editor of Canadian Coin News, Paul Johnson, executive director of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association; Dave Harper, editor of Numismatic News; Cindy Wibker, Florida United Numismatists Convention co-ordinator; Louis Chevrier, of the Canadian Coin Certification Service; and dealers Andrew Greenham, of Forest City Coins; Kirk Parsons, of Colonial Acres; Jared Stapleton, of Metro Coin and Banknote; and Brian Smith, of Torex.
“With exciting topics and expert guests,” Dupuis said, “this show will prove it’s never too late to learn something new about something that is old.”
Dupuis is also a “third-generation collector” and the owner of 5th Avenue Coins in Teeswater, Ont.
“I started collecting coins at a very young age, about eight. My dad and grandmother – my dad’s mom – were collectors,” he said, adding his first memory of acquiring some “cool coins” came shortly after, when he found two 1967 10-cent pieces in a new roll of coins from a local convenience store.
“They were bright, shiny and beautiful,” he said. “I was smitten – for life.”
Dupuis confessed there were “a few years from college until my late 30s” when he took a break from the hobby, although he knew it wouldn’t last.
“I got started again after I went to an estate auction and found a small collection hidden in an old trunk that had a false bottom,” he said. “The bug bit me again.”
Since then, Dupuis has continuously bought and sold material in the never-ending search for better coins and a higher quality collection. This time, however, Dupuis said he’s “determined to do it right,” so he set out to accumulate a collection with only the “higher and more desirable grades.”
“I also found that I really liked the business end of the hobby and founded 5th Avenue Coins,” he said, adding there were even plans to eventually open a store front, although business had to be scaled down to make time for a day job. “I had to do this; otherwise, I would have ended up with an unwanted business partner.”
And while he was earning a “fairly decent return” on what he bought and sold on eBay, Dupuis said around this time, he had the opportunity to become a DJ at Bluewater Radio.
“This was to be my hobby while I grew my coin business,” he said. “I was on air for about six years doing a classic rock show called ‘Crank It Up.’ My handle was ‘Rockin’ Rick D’ and the catch phrase was ‘classic rock, less talk and no shovel required.’”
However, as previously mentioned, Dupuis’ “personal” and “domestic” issues called for a break in the action, but after a short hiatus, he returned to Bluewater Radio in March 2015 to host a new rock show as well as produce a new numismatic show he had been planning before his absence.
“Pocket Change Radio was born,” he said. “I started the show on the first Tuesday in October 2015, and our first guest was former Canadian Coin News editor Bret Evans.”
Dupuis said he enjoys the show because it allows him to be in contact with “more of the people behind the scenes of our hobby, and I can have a conversation with them and have them explain their passion in their own words and context.”
“It opens so many great doors of opportunity,” he added.
And although the show has only just begun, Dupuis said things are off to a great start.
“The response from the people inside and outside the show has been very favourable. More and more are tuning in, and more will when the podcast is ready. The intent is to create a podcast that can be listened to at a later date; this plan is underway.”
Dupuis said the show is recorded live and broadcast over the airwaves in Hanover/Walkerton and area but can also be heard online at bluewaterradio.ca or pocketchangeradio.com.