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Now the Details

Media, ethics, and journalism. What works. What doesn't.

Jeffrey Dvorkin

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shania to Host Heavyweight CBC Radio Show? "That Don't Impress Me Much"

It is possible. I shouldn't completely dismiss the idea out of hand that a successful country and western singer could bring the journalistic instincts, radio sensibilities and intellectual heft required.

Shania Twain is of course, the well-known chanteuse from Timmins, a mining town in northern Ontario.

"The Current" is one of the better public affairs programs on CBC Radio. It airs five days a week from 8:30 to 10 am and has the curiosity, scope and rigor of the best of what CBC offers.

So when it was announced this morning that she will "guest host" tomorrow, I thought I must have misheard the regular host, Anna Maria Tremonti, a seasoned reporter on radio and tv, and foreign correspondent. But that announcement was followed by a quick interview with Ms. Twain who declared herself "excited" and "nervous" at the prospect of her upcoming interview with the Queen of Jordan. She also talked about her elevation to a judgeship on "American Idol" and the new charity she has started.

My guess is that Twain will do a reasonable job. Fortunately, the editorial strength of a show like "The Current" doesn't rest solely with the host, but with the professionalism of the producers, editors and researchers. They are the ones who certainly wouldn't let gaffes and "Entertainment Tonight" values on the air. Would they?

But whoever came up with the idea that someone like Tremonti can be "replaced" - even for a day - by a non-journalist show business personality, has done significant damage to the credibility that CBC Radio once personified.

Can "The National with CĂ©line Dion" be far behind?


  1. But they have always had a guest host on Fridays.

    One day it may be you.

    I do think that Twain and Queen Rania are rather simple and lightweight in appearance, but they are trying to be heavyweight, and both can get press for their causes.

    They'll do. It is only the regular spot for a Friday guest host.

    I guess you don't listen to CBC radio(s) now that you are back in the land of medicare.

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  3. True: there are also guest hosts on Fridays, often journalists but sometimes out of 'left' field. Most memorably, Scott Thompson who hosted a Friday all about comedy. It was incredible smart, hilariously funny and arguably one of the best editions of THE CURRENT ever!

    Shania may not have quite hit that mark, but the idea of inviting non-journos to ask the questions occasionally is excellent.

    After all, we're not actually any smarter.