The Hamlet of Rankin Inlet opened Pakallak Tyme by unveiling a new sign dedicating the community radio station as the Vital Aksadjuak Broadcasting Centre, honouring the late radio announcer.
Aksadjuak died suddenly in November 2021, after spending nearly 40 years as the town’s radio broadcaster.
“Vital was Rankin’s voice,” said Wesley Innukshuk, manager of the radio station.
He said dedicating the centre to him feels like a relief for the staff.
“It was touching.”
Innukshuk joined the radio station in 2005 as an announcer, spending three years as a co-worker to Aksadjuak.
“There was a manager job opening,” remembers Innukshuk. “Vital looked at me and said, ‘Take it, Wesley.’ Since 2008, I’ve been managing the radio station.”
Aksadjuak was a humble and kind person, he added, mentoring everyone who came through the station.
“What he taught me was unbelievable,” said Innukshuk. “He was a nice person, humble guy, won’t hurt a fly.”
Losing him took a toll on the staff and community at large.
“I thought I was going to see him walk in the way he used to walk in and greet everyone, saying hi, good morning, how are you guys. I thought I was going to hear his voice the last few months after his passing. It was hard.”
Rankin Inlet Mayor Harry Towtongie said Aksadjuak had a lot of fun stories. He recalled one where Aksadjuak had witnessed an accident on the road while on a smoke break, so he went inside and had everyone perform a moment of silence, but the people in the accident turned out to be fine.
After the sign dedication, the community held a country food feast, with the image of Aksadjuak high in the background.