Today Brent Bambury was sent to mop up the mess at CBC’s Q, to be the public face of the show for the first episode of its future following a devastating weekend.
I’ve long thought that the wide-ranging cultural curiosity built into the Q structure was modelled on a (considerably) more mainstream version of Bambury’s first radio show, Brave New Waves—right down to the opening monologue. Bambury always opened his show with a quip, an observation, a commentary; it might have been a sentence, it might have been several paragraphs. (It didn’t rhyme.) It was one of my many favourite things about the program. For that reason, and others, Bambury has always been an ideal Q host; props also to Piya Chattopadhyay—here’s hoping one of them gets the gig. (I have a crazy hunch it won’t go to a man.)
Brave New Waves changed my life, with Bambury at the mic, 1985-1995. Of course, it wasn’t just he who changed my life: it was everyone who worked on the program and made it what it was. It wasn’t until I became a professional broadcaster that I fully realized that. We all hear the host; we don’t all hear the people behind him pitching ideas, researching his questions, writing his scripts (including the opening essays). Some radio hosts—not going to name any names here—are nowhere near as quick-witted and sharp when they attempt to freestyle without a script and prepared notes in front of them. A great radio show will survive the cult of celebrity.
One of the best things Bambury did during
his the opening salvo today, other than
acknowledging that the staff and the listeners are the true heart of the
program? He didn’t conclude with a cutesy rhyme. The future doesn’t always
rhyme. The truth doesn’t follow a tempo. There are always bumps ahead.