Riding is a chance to explore his city and his thoughts
John Moore rides to explore his city and his thoughts
On any given day, there is no shortage of topics for John Moore and his producers to choose to explore. Five days a week, from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Moore conducts live interviews with the newsmakers of the day as the host of Mooreinthemorning on Newstalk 1010 radio in Toronto. From celebrities to politicians to Joe Public, recent guests have included Paul Shaffer – the longtime bandleader on David Letterman’s late-night shows – a former extreme fighting champion who discussed the legalization of pot and a woman who woke up with a canoe in her bed.
For many Ontarians, Moore’s show is as much a part of their wake-up routine as a cup of coffee. “We talk about what people are talking about,” Moore says. “People are talking about an awful lot these days. I get to talk to some pretty interesting people, whether they are celebrities, newsmakers, business people, or just everyday people with thought-provoking stories to share. The theme of the show is people and what they are passionate about. You might talk to a city planner, then follow that with a conversation with somebody who has the world’s greatest collection of doll’s heads.”
Born and raised in Montreal, Moore graduated with dual degrees in communications and community, public affairs and policy studies at Concordia University. “I was studying at university, but also working as a stage actor when someone from an FM radio station in Montreal told me I had a good voice and that I should think of a career in radio,” Moore says.
He began with a stint as a reporter at chom in his hometown. Later, Moore worked for Radio-canada. Then, in 2003, he was offered his own show and moved to Toronto. That’s also when he got the cycling bug. “I was living alone and had a lot of time on my hands, so I figured I would just get on my bike to get around,” Moore says. “Being new to Toronto, it was a way I got to know all the neighbourhoods. Sometimes I would ride in the ravines and sometimes I would ride in the streets.”
Moore remembers with fondness the Mongoose that was his two-wheel companion in his early days living in the city. Since then, his collection of bikes has grown steadily – from a Kona road bike (that he has since sold) to a Specialized Tricross, a Trek commuter bike, and finally to the pièce de résistance: a 13-lb. Vitess bespoke bicycle, custom-made by owner Julien Papon.
The journalist prefers riding alone; he likes the isolation of being on a bike. Moore, however, does sometimes ride closely with others. He’s part of the Trailblazers Tandem Cycling Club. The group teams up sighted captains to ride with stokers who have have limited or no vision.
For his first half-dozen years in Hogtown, Moore was the afternoon drive-home host. In the fall of 2009, he replaced Bill Carroll as the morning host. The only part of the job Moore dislikes is the hours. “You have to be up at 3 a.m. to be ready for the show, but that’s why I like biking,” he says. “It gives me a chance to plan the next day’s show. Some people go for a walk. I go for a bike ride.”
“Riding is a chance to get outside and hash over some of the stuff we are going to do on the show or work out any tension or aggressions that I may have,” he says. “I have so many columns in my head while I’m biking. Just out there in traffic, surrounded by noise – it’s a chance to reflect.”
After all his years on-air, Moore is still driven by a passion for the medium. His listeners continue to inspire him. “I’m a relentlessly curious person,” he says. “Radio is a great medium for that. I’m always listening to my listeners. We present 10 to 15 stories every morning and try to dig deeper. It’s really cool to be at the nexus of that.”
“I have so many columns in my head while I’m biking. Just out there in traffic, surrounded by noise – it’s a chance to reflect.”