Giving the GTA the business
Journalist Amanda Lang ready to bring new life to the recently minted Bloomberg TV network as it launches in Canada
Things have come full circle for Amanda Lang. Years ago, she launched her journalism career at the all-business-all-the-time Financial Post followed by stints at other prominent business outlets including CNN. Then she arrived at CBC and established herself as one of the most recognizable faces of the public broadcaster, best known for her work opposite Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange. Now Lang is back in business, literally, with the recent launch of Bloomberg TV in Canada, a global business network catering to the Gordon Gecko set. Post City spoke with Lang regarding the change. What has excited you the most about the new opportunity at Bloomberg? I think it’s really an opportunity to be part of an incredible team [at Bloomberg]. It’s globally a powerhouse. Their audience in Canada is very well-known among the business community. The real benefit is we can reach a wider audience. It’s not just for the Bay Street crowd.
How has the transition been?
The hard part about leaving an organization is the people because you build great relationships with them. It’s such a group effort. It’s about leaving one team then forging new ties with another team. And then contentwise, I’ve been doing this long enough. I’m very comfortable doing what I want to do. And then it’s just a matter of interacting with the audience. Looking back at those past relationships, you and Kevin O’Leary made a pretty fiery team. Do you still keep in touch? We still keep in touch. We’re very friendly. We worked together for close to 15 years. He’s very busy and in the States a lot. I have very high regard for Kevin. We have a new leader making left-of-centre overtones since taking office. Is the business community hopeful or scared? I think they aren’t jumping the gun in any one direction. They’re waiting to see just how the economy is going to do. It’s obviously much weaker than anyone had hoped. What I really think, from the economists’ point of view, is they’re not attacking with the idea that this is a time for huge restraint, but for stimulus. A lot of people would think the economy needs a little
helping hand at the moment. Rob Carrick in the Globe and Mail recently said it was time to sweat about debt. Your thoughts? Interest rates are going to normalize. If you have debt, you have monthly payments. You want to pay it down whether it’s your mortgage or your credit cards. And then the question is “What’s your cash flow?” Take that same calculation, which you should be able to do based on today, and see what that’s like and, say, normal rates are, say, four to six per cent. And then take worst scenario with high inflation. Let’s say central banks jack up rates up to eight to 10 per cent (we’re not saying those will happen or four to six per cent will even), and then we’re back in the normal territory of four to five per cent in five years. It’s a simple: “What can you afford?” It’s going to take a long time for it to take effect, so don’t be worried about it in the short term.
What is your favourite spot for a power lunch?
Kit Kat [King and John] is a place I like to go in recent years. And almost next door is the Shore Club. I unofficially have my own table at the Shore Club. It definitely has to be at the top of my list. As for your end run at CBC, how is your relationship with them now? I’m deeply respectful of the treatment of all of my bosses and workers at the CBC. I feel well treated and hope to keep doing work with them one way or another. Life is long. I have deep respect for Peter Mansbridge and would like to have an association with that program [ The National].