Shannon Tyler


July 8, 2024

Words by: Francesca Roznicki

Photography by: Phebe Melan

Tuning into kindness, connection and grace

For over 20 years, Shannon Tyler’s familiar voice has been a comforting presence for the people of Edmonton. Tyler’s journey through the airwaves has spanned eight radio stations across five radio companies and two television stations. As the beloved weekday voice on up! 99.3, Tyler has earned the endearing title of “the at-work friend,” a role she inhabits with infectious laughter, boundless positive energy and unmistakable love for her craft. 

 Amanda Uprichard Clifton Faux Leather Mini Dress in Antique Rose
Alohas Bellini Leather Sandals in Neon Magenta 

Tyler believes that showing up with a smile is a conscious choice; one she makes every day. “I work in the public eye and my radio show is ultimately about connecting with people,” she says. For Tyler, it’s not just about sharing favourite music or playlists; it’s about creating a bond with her listeners, making them feel like friends connected through the airwaves and the shared experiences of their great city. Tyler’s show is a space where people can chat about anything happening in their lives. “You certainly realize that many people are lonely, and it’s just good to talk to somebody every once in a while, to know you have a friend out there. We’re all just going through stuff—big stuff and little stuff. I want to give grace. I want other people to feel like they’ve got a little bit of room to be whoever they are.”

Tyler’s journey hasn’t been without its trials. She recalls a particularly challenging period when her first marriage ended. During this time, she hosted a show called Shannon Tyler and the Heart of the Night, playing love songs while her heart was breaking. Yet, she discovered a profound truth: by being kind to others and connecting with them, she found respite from her pain. “If you pull yourself out of your own sorrow and you are kind to somebody else, whatever you’re going through hurts less.”

Tyler’s live radio career also comes with its share of on-air slips. “I can often mistake the microphone button and the phone button,” she admits, which leads to her accidentally talking over songs. Her listeners have always been forgiving, seeing the humour in the situation. This particular faux paus inspired Tyler in May 2023 to start a “Turn Your Mic Off” jar. Each time she made the mistake, she added $100 to the jar, with plans to donate the total at year’s end to The Stollery Children’s Hospital’s new Mental Health Initiative. By December, the jar held $500. 

Vejas V10 in White Black
Nation Carlotta Femme Button Up in Optic White
Line + Dot Carmela Skirt in Black
Illesteva Frieda Sunglasses in Havana  

Ganni Occasion Small Hobo in Kelly Green

Citizens of Humanity, Lyra Jean
Jeffrey Campbell Malinin Mesh Heel
Staple the Label Tehani Resort Shirt
Illesteva Donna Sunglasses in White Tortoise
Billini Delly Bag in Black Sequin 

Within minutes of sharing her tally, the community responded with an additional $1500 in matching donations. Tyler continued the initiative in 2024, with plans to donate the accumulated funds to CASA Mental Health. “This was a great way to flip something that was kind of embarrassing and make it into a good thing that benefits others,” she says, embracing the ability to make mistakes and extend grace to oneself.

In addition to her radio show, Tyler is also involved in the arts and music scene. Every spring, the John Cameron Changing Lives Foundation hosts a heartwarming and impactful show called Crescendo, a production that focuses on mental health—particularly children’s mental health—with proceeds going to Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in Calgary and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation in Edmonton. “It’s all about making it normal to talk about how you’re doing and getting the help you need,” Tyler says. This mission holds significant personal importance to those involved. A full orchestra bolstered by a roster of emotionally invested, talented singers, like Tyler, adds to the event’s magical atmosphere.

Tyler’s passion for music also has her on the board of The Don Berner Big Band Foundation. “I joined the board to help preserve that legacy,” she says, explaining that while Edmonton has a rich history in musical talent, performance, and education, it’s also seen the unfortunate loss of 40 live music venues over the past four years. Despite this, MacEwan University continues to produce outstanding musical talent, though opportunities for local musicians have diminished. “I want to keep the talent working in Edmonton. Big Band is awesome! Orchestra is fabulous! Live music is so important, and we need to continue to provide opportunities for people to experience it.” For Tyler, music is more than a passion; it’s a love language. Well, that and food. “Bring me a chocolate bar from the gas station but tell me why you like it,” she says, “…then play me your favourite song.” 

As Tyler continues to connect with Edmontonians through her warmth and humour, she exemplifies the power of kindness and connection. Whether she’s sharing a laugh over the airwaves, supporting vital mental health initiatives, or preserving the city’s rich musical heritage, her positivity shines through. With each broadcast, Tyler not only entertains but also fosters a sense of belonging, reminding us of the simple yet profound impact of a friendly voice and a listening ear.

Fashion supplied by Shades Of Grey

Share this article:

Places To Be

See this month's local flavours, products, and services.