CBC’S morning man retiring
For twenty-one and a half years people across Quebec have been listening to the friendly, familiar voice of CBC Radio’s Quebec AM host, Tim Belford. Soon to retire from the show, his last live show is on July 8th, Mr. Belford met with the Stanstead Journal
for an interview in Lennoxville, where he’s been a resident for over thirty years.
“I came to Lennoxville as a student at Bishop’s in the fall of ’68,” said the radio host who grew up in Ontario. “My grandparents and great-grandparents had lived here and gone to Bishop’s University,” added Mr. Belford who eventually graduated from the University with a joint Honours degree in History and Philosophy.
He tried his hand at several different careers, as a teacher, theatre manager at the Piggery, bartender at the Golden Lion and columnist and editor of the Montreal Daily News, to name a few, before his lengthy career as a morning radio host, a job whose ungodly hours alone can challenge the best of them.
“It’s a job I enjoy immensely. I always wanted to try different things, then I got the radio job and I liked it very much. Having done many other jobs was useful: if I did an interview about education, I knew something about it; an interview about the fisheries and my experience in the Navy helped,” he explained. “You don’t need to have all the answers, but it’s nice if you have the right questions.”
One drawback to the job was the weekly commute between the CBC studio in Quebec City and Mr. Belford’s home in the Townships. “I’d drive to Quebec City on Sunday night and come home on Friday.” Thankfully, about four years ago, Tim’s commute got a little easier. “With the new technology we could do the show in two places. It was good to do it from the Eastern Townships where there is a big Anglo community; we had more coverage of the Townships. And I got to spend more time with my wife who I really do like!” he joked.
As listeners know, Tim cohosts the live show from the Sherbrooke studio with Susan Campbell, who’s in the Quebec City studio. Considering the distance between them, I asked Mr. Belford how they keep up their on-air rapport. “I can see Susan on a screen and she can see me.” They’ve also worked together for about twenty years, which helps.
Hosting a live radio show, where no-one gets a second chance, has its challenges. “The hardest thing about my job is constantly figuring out what the listener wants to know. In my job I’m asking the questions not just for me but for the listeners; they don’t get the chance to ask the questions. When I’m listening to a guest, if something tweaks in my head to ask something else, then that’s probably what the listeners also want to know. The biggest thing is to listen in an
host Tim Belford, seen here in Lennoxville, is retiring from the radio show in July.