Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Q Who?

So, Shadrach Kabango, known simply as Shad, is leaving as the host of q, CBC Radio's morning arts and culture show, and not of his own accord, so it seems.

According to CBC reports, the show has been losing listeners over the past couple of years, since former host, Jian Ghomeshi, was fired over sexual abuse charges.

I don't know: Shad was okay. He had a nice demeanor and seemed comfortable, laid back. He was welcoming to his guests and he was well-prepared (even though, in truth, we know his preparedness comes down to the writers and researchers who line up his guests and get the questions to Shad). I did find, when I listened to him, that while he could ask the questions that were prepared for him, he didn't seem to be spontaneous and wouldn't always follow up with answers that begged more questioning.

I've experienced that, first-hand, when I was interviewed by a previous host to CBC Ottawa's All In A Day.

Which brings me to the crux of this post: the next host of q and the current host of All In A Day.

I know nothing about Tom Power, who will be sitting in the q chair in October. He's been a guest host on the show in the past, and it's possible that I've heard him on the show before. He's currently the host of Toronto's Radio 2 Morning and he's the previous host of the music show, Deep Roots.

I got all of that from the CBC report of Shad's departure. I really don't know anything about Power.

I'm hoping that he'll have better music choices than Shad. Much of the current host's musical tastes are far from mine. I'm hoping that he's a more-engaging interviewer, who doesn't just stick to the script.

When I thought of a replacement for Ghomeshi (I called his sleaziness years before the scandal broke—you can ask my wife), I thought of a local host, the current host of All In A Day, Alan Neal. I remember Neal's enthusiasm and energy when, many years ago, he was the Trends Guy on Ottawa Morning with John Lacharity. I remember when he wrote and performed a song about one of his favourite shows, Dallas. I've talked to him on Ontario Today, when he was a guest host, as I told him of my tale of abduction in South Korea.

And I've been with him and my youngest daughter in a cooking segment on his weekday afternoon show.

He's a great host for many reasons. He's geeky, in that good, fun way. He's informed. He's engaging and isn't afraid to go off script or go for those difficult questions. He knows art. He knows culture. And he comes extremely prepared.

What I really enjoy is that when he interviews a writer, he comes across as having read the writings of his guest. When he interviews a musician, he has listened to that artist's music, often drawing themes in songs and tying that theme together as a vehicle for driving the whole interview. I'm drawn by how impressed his guests are at how insightful Neal is.

Alan Neal would have made a great host for q, though it would be sad if he had to move to Toronto to fulfill that role. It would be Ottawa's loss.

I hope that Tom Power brings life back to the ailing morning show. I wish Shad luck in his next project.

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