Journalist and broadcaster Bhupinder Hundal’s career is like a slap-shot that never stops rising. Along the way he has become a cultural bridge-builder in one of the world’s most diverse countries.
While other eight-year-olds watched cartoons, Bhupinder Hundal sat glued to CBC News in his Port Alberni living room.
“I have a vivid memory of major news events that took place,” says Hundal of his childhood viewing habits. “Ronald Reagan at the Berlin Wall … Tiananmen Square … Nelson Mandela being released …”
That and his subsequent studies at BCIT inspired a lifelong passion for journalism, and a desire to help others across Canada’s diverse communities access top-class news and sports coverage.
“The role of journalists is now more important than it’s ever been,” says Hundal, who continues to inspire the next generation as a member of BCIT’s broadcasting advisory committee. “We need good journalism, objective journalism.”
He shoots, he scores
Hundal is best known for his role as Studio Host for Omni TV’s Punjabi-language hockey coverage. He also leads Cross Connect Media Consulting — the media company he founded after leaving his post as News Manager at Omni — a multicultural specialty channel operated by Rogers Media Inc.
Like most Canadian kids, Hundal’s passion for hockey started on Saturday nights: “It’s not like now where you can get hockey anytime, anywhere. Back then Saturday night was hockey night and that was it.”
From broadband to smartphones to social media, the change in how people consume hockey coverage is one of many that have transformed journalism and broadcasting. Hundal feels BCIT equipped him for life in this fast-changing environment, although the decision to study broadcasting was not an easy one.
“There weren’t any South Asian role models in broadcasting,” he recalls. “Would there be a future for me after school?”
“I built an amazing foundation of skills at BCIT in the broadcast program. I was able to get into a newsroom, figure things out, and see how things work. It’s the practical component that makes the difference.”
Hundal has never regretted following his passions: “I built an amazing foundation of skills at BCIT in the broadcast program. I was able to get into a newsroom, figure things out, and see how things work. It’s the practical component that makes the difference.”
After graduating in 2001, he joined Channel M and quickly rose through the ranks from producer, to associate producer, to assignment editor. However, it was at Omni TV that Hundal’s interest in and talent for building relationships came to the fore and helped him to really make his mark in Canadian broadcasting.
At Omni, Hundal built a partnership with CTV to expand and broaden election coverage, and became the driving force behind bringing Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi from the web to conventional TV. Remember the “Bonino, Bonino, Bonino” Punjabi hockey commentary that went viral in 2016? Hundal didn’t speak the words but he helped them reach the world.
At a local level, almost half of Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi edition’s roster graduated from BCIT, and Hundal is convinced BCIT is preparing tomorrow’s journalists properly.
“As journalism changes, so does the program at BCIT. How do you tweet? How do you use Instagram to tell stories? How do you share and distribute news in this new online world? BCIT students are learning that right now.
“BCIT is a place where you can give students the practical experience they need to get into the workforce and have a successful career. If you can help with that, that’s a great gift to give.
“You are investing in the future of the next generation. That’s important.”
“BCIT graduates are ready to take on all the different challenges in the healthcare setting.”
BCIT Alumna, Bachelor of Science, Nursing ‘17
BCIT Outstanding Student Leadership Award ‘17
As technological, economic and social change accelerates, the BCIT campus must transform into a learning environment where solutions to our most urgent challenges are born, tested and readied for the world.