Rick Campanelli is best known for being one of the most identifiable VJ’s to host MuchMusic and for 10 years Rick chatted with the biggest names in the music industry. Today, the Hamilton, ON native co-hosts Entertainment Tonight Canada on Global. When his youngest son Harrison (4 months) was born, Rick decided to take a paternal leave to spend the first few months with him and here’s what Rick had to say about cherishing the little moments and the future.
ParentsCanada: So on June 20th you’ll be back on ET Canada. How are you feeling? Excited? What have you missed the most? What story (or stories) are you excited to talk about once you’re back?
Rick Campanelli: I’m feeling pretty excited to get back into all of the action at work. I’m apart of a great team at Corus/ET Canada and I know it will make the transition from home to the office that much easier. I’ve missed interviewing people and working alongside my colleagues. For my first week back at ET Canada we’ll be co-hosting the show from Las Vegas so that’s where you’ll see Cheryl (Hickey) and I. It’s going to be a wild, entertaining first week back. And, of course, TIFF is right around the corner in September and I always love the movie screenings and the thrill of the big festival.
PC: Talk to us about your paternal leave. How was it spending those 4 months with baby Harrison? Was there a particular reason you decided or volunteered to take this time off?
RC: It’s tough just talking about spending the past 4 months with Harrison because it means it’s coming to an end. I was able to see the real growth and development in my newborn – from a baby that tugged on my finger to someone who now pinches my neck fat with his tiny fingers. A lot of parents miss out on all of these little, daily things because they’re at work so it was truly special to get to bond with him from the get go. I was also able to really spend some quality time with my two-year-old son Jack. He had colic when he was born and my wife ended up spending a lot of time in the States with her parents (for extra help). In these past 4 months, Jack and I went for daily bike rides along the waterfront, we went to a ton of different parks, read a lot of books, played in the dirt…he finally started asking, “daddy do it,” “go on daddy’s shoulders,” and “daddy help me” instead of always turning to my wife. Those are precious words and moments that I loved to experience.
There’s really no specific reason other than wanting to be with my wife and kids and being offered the opportunity by my work. I didn’t even know I could take the time off until my boss mentioned it. As soon as I looked into the details there was no turning back. I actually would have taken off even longer if the opportunity to join the team at 102.1 the Edge didn’t come about when it did.
PC: Having just celebrated Father’s Day, what advice do you have for new dads? Why would you suggest they take a parental leave?
RC: For new dads, I would stress patience – patience towards your newborn and your spouse. They’re both going through a lot. Also, just really live in the moments with your children and don’t take any of those initial times together for granted. They change so fast as infants – even in a couple of days you’ll see big changes. I would definitely recommend a parental leave to any dad out there. You can never get these days, weeks and months back. You can never experience fatherhood the same way as you do when you’re with your baby and wife right out of the gate.
PC: Moving forward, you’re going to be very busy getting back to work on ET Canada and your new role with 102.1 the Edge. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? What can your fans and followers look forward to while listening to you on 102.1?
RC: Very busy days ahead are starting June 27th when I begin at both studios. I’ll have to get up around 4:00 am every day to join the morning show team (Fred and Mel) at the Edge. It’s an honour to be working with them and it’s a station I’ve listened to for years. It’s definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment. From there, I head up to ET Canada by 10:00 am and work with that team until 5:30pm. It’s a long day but hopefully the excitement and energy of both jobs will make it easier. When I walk in the door after the day is done at work, it’s going to be all about family because I won’t have seen them all day – I’ll even miss out on breakfast and seeing their sleepy faces in the morning. I’m so excited about the Edge because I love rock music. I’ll be joining Fred and Mel to talk about timely, topical issues, the great music we’ll be playing and, of course, entertainment which is a great tie-in with ET Canada.
PC: Now when you’re not busy working, you spend your time doing charity work. What’s the most important thing you want to teach your sons about giving back to others?
RC: Giving back to others is a very important value I want to pass on to my kids. We’re given so much and are very fortunate in life compared to a lot of people around the world. I’m a firm believer in treating others how you want to be treated and that means respect, assistance and a genuine interest in other people. I think it’s just the human way – we’re all here on Earth trying to live. If someone is in need of help, it’s our duty to help as much as we can.