By Jessica Lovell
Come March 11, local traffic, local news, local weather and the voice of a local host will greet those who tune into CBC Radio One 89.1 FM in the mornings.
CBC Radio host Craig Norris will be leaving behind his hosting duties at the station in Toronto for a gig much closer to home – hosting a new morning show on a new Kitchener-Waterloo-based CBC station.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said the Guelph resident. “I get to come home and do a show essentially in my backyard.”
The show, which is as of yet unnamed, will be a CBC morning show much like Metro Morning, with Norris taking on the role of Matt Galloway. It will air from 6 to 8:30 a.m. and will cover current affairs.
“I will be doing interviews with newsmakers, politicians and artists,” said Norris. The content will be “really set in the community, really set in what’s going on that day,” he said.
It’s a bit of a departure from Norris’s usual hosting gigs. He’s known for hosting Radio One’s comedy show Laugh Out Loud, and Radio 3’s R3-30 and The Craig Norris Hour – two music-based programs.
“I’ll miss the CBC music community,” says Norris. “We have a lot of fun at work.”
He also said he’ll miss the people that he’s become friends with over the years working at the station.
“The commute is about the only thing I won’t miss,” he said.
The new 6 a.m. show means a 5 a.m. start time, which means a very early morning for Norris, but he’s not bothered.
“I get up really early already,” he said, noting that the more local job “cuts my commute by about an hour and eight minutes.”
That’s each way.
“I’m probably going to be home to meet my daughter after school now,” he said.
Besides the shortened commute, Norris is also looking forward to the challenges of bringing a new show to the airwaves.
In spite of the fact that it’s not an arts-related show per se, he expects it to offer similar scope for creativity.
The show will follow a basic CBC morning show template, but the team, which includes some local reporters out of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, will work together to shape the personality of the show, targeting it to the local market.
“Figuring out what’s going to set us apart, that’s going to be how we’re going to spend the next three or four weeks,” Norris said.
One thing that may set the show apart is a strong online component that will be accessible through smartphones, computers and tablets. It will feature interactive elements, feature stories and videos that will connect to the radio content and will be promoted through the on-air production.
“It’s the first time ever that the CBC has done it this way,” said Norris.
He said he’s not nervous about breaking new ground at all, but is looking forward to the challenge of “making sure that everything we do meets the standards of the CBC.”
And he believes that people are looking forward to being able to tune into some local programming on the CBC.
“My Facebook page is alight with people saying, ‘We’ll finally hear our own weather and our own traffic, and our own local news’,” he said.
And though he would have been thrilled if the station had come to Guelph instead of downtown Kitchener, Norris is pretty happy to have it so close to home and he’s pretty sure Guelphites will be tuning in.
“I know that Guelph is definitely a CBC town,” he said.