Furlong moves to new role with Radio Noon
John Furlong, host of the Fisheries Broadcast, is leaving that position to serve as host of CBC Radio Noon. He’s been host of the Broadcast since 2005.
Current Radio Noon host, Ramona Dearing, is taking a one-year leave of absence and Furlong will hold the fort until she gets back.
“A few months ago just before the crab season got underway, there was another price dispute,” Furlong said, in an email exchange. “Crab fishermen went to the Union office looking for answers. I interviewed two boat owners about the dispute, and then interviewed Earle McCurdy. It was the same two fishermen I interviewed two years ago and got the same reaction from Earle as I did two years ago.
“I made a mental note that it was time I looked for something else to do! The only thing worse than doing something for eight years is ‘sounding’ like you've been doing it for eight years!”
Furlong said he the told that story to the station manager, Denise Wilson.
“When the opportunity to host Radio Noon for a year came up, Denise approached me and I jumped at the chance.”
I pointed out that he has the same option as Dearing: to have someone else keep his seat warm until he comes back. So why make it a permanent move?
“I think I need a break from The Broadcast and the Broadcast could probably use a break from me! I'm not sure what I'll be doing after the year is up. I tend to measure out my life in much smaller increments.”
There’s been a bunch of hosts on the Broadcast over the years, and Furlong was without question the best of the bunch (which is no small statement, given that it’s the longest continuously-running current affairs program on CBC). Sure, you can argue this point with me if you like, but you’d be wrong. Furlong brought a number of strengths to the program, including inquisitiveness, a personable style, a willingness to ask tough questions and an unwillingness to take crap from anyone.
Furlong’s blunt commentaries have prompted a lot of discussion on the cbc.ca/nl website, and his final installment as host is no exception. He offers a few fond memories sprinkled with some humour, then closes with a parting shot at government’s inability to deal head-on with issues that plague the fishery.
“Some of the regulations are aimed at socially engineering the fishery to gain maximum part-time employment, supported by E.I.,” he writes. “Little wonder no politician has the stomach to tackle the issues. We are operating in a global fishery that is of mammoth proportions yet continue to act in isolation, hoping the world will beat a path to our door. In actual fact, it may be passing us by. For how long more is the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery going to wait for the good ol’ days to come back?”
You can read the full text of Furlong’s farewell column here:
Of course, the Broadcast’s loss is Radio Noon’s gain. Furlong has hosted other daytime programs on a temporary basis and usually does a stellar job of it. He can be acerbic, funny and unpredictable. But he is also knowledgeable and unafraid to ask probing, sometimes politically incorrect questions. The final word on this goes to Furlong:
“I'm sure looking forward to expanding my range. I CAN talk about lots more than just the fisheries!”