Kemptville student wins 2024 Ottawa Award

Finn Vanderlinden won the Ottawa Award in the media category for the second year in a row. – Submitted photo

A Kemptville boy is celebrating after winning the 2024 Ottawa Award in the media category for the second year in a row.

Finn Vanderlinden, a Grade 4 student at Kemptville Public School, secured the top spot in the best Podcast/Podcaster category for his weekly ‘Finn’s Friday Forecast’ on Blast the Radio (BTR), marking his second consecutive win after clinching the same award in 2023.

“It’s fun to be on the air and it helps people,” Finn commented on his regular forecasts that hit the airwaves every Friday afternoon and continue through the weekend.

Finn’s venture into broadcasting began back in 2019, and it seems talent runs in the family.

“My Papa hosts his own Dutch jazz radio show in The Netherlands, and my mom has some friends on the radio,” Finn revealed. “Even my Great Oma had a regular slot on the Brockville radio station, delivering the Athens weather for years. She was known as the ‘Athens Weather Lady,’ so I guess you could say it’s in my blood.”

The Ottawa Awards, an event recognizing excellence across over 300 categories spanning business, food, politics, and media, selects winners through public votes, making it the largest people’s choice awards in the area.

Finn used his Facebook platform to mobilize votes, attracting attention from around the globe, including countries like The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Spain, England, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia and the USA.

“Some of my classmates at school are skeptical that I actually do a weather forecast because it airs when they’re in class,” Finn shared. “But some have listened to the clips and think it’s pretty cool. It’s like having a secret identity.”

Finn’s popularity surge has led to classmates asking his opinion on upcoming snow days, and even his own mother with his forecasting accuracy.

“He came to me earlier this year and predicted a snow day for the next day, and I thought no way,” mom Tara Schouten-Vanderlinden recalled. “He was adamant, saying it’s going to be a snow day, 99 percent sure, and he was right!”

Recently, BTR invited Finn to expand his on-air presence, asking him to contribute a daily forecast from Monday to Thursday, in addition to maintaining ‘Finn’s Friday Forecast’ over the weekend.

While he’s not sure if the radio gig will evolve into a full-fledged career, Finn has aspirations to continue in the communications field, and dreams of becoming an air-traffic controller or pilot.

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