I first got a tip about this a few days ago, but was awaiting confirmation and more details. With a story in The Gazette, the news is out there: CBC is removing Nancy Wood from her position as host of Daybreak, as of June.
The corporation had wanted to keep the news quiet until Wood made the announcement on air, but after staff were informed earlier this week, it was just a matter of time until it came out. (To their credit, some of my usual CBC leaks kept their mouths shut.)
Wood tells The Gazette that it wasn’t her decision to leave, which matches what I’ve been told: the decision came from management, and the reasons aren’t clear.
The news also comes the same week the CBC announces a new regional manager for Quebec: Pia Marquard, who starts on Monday. Though one CBC employee told me they were told Marquard had nothing to do with the decision to axe Wood. Marquard replaces Rob Renaud, who was filling in. One angry employee found it ridiculous that such an important decision would be made while essentially nobody’s in charge.
Needless to say, the mood at CBC Montreal plummeted with the news this week. Another employee described the work environment there as “toxic”. Wood herself stepped back from the host mic after the decision was announced, only returning on Friday (Shawn Apel filled in).
Wood was hired as the permanent host of Daybreak only last August. She replaced Mike Finnerty, who left last summer for London’s Guardian website.
Has CBC gone mad?
To call the decision bizarre would be an understatement. Wood has an incredible amount of experience, both in journalism in general and specifically at CBC. Before taking the Daybreak post, she was a reporter for CBC television out of Montreal, and before that she was the host of the province-wide Radio Noon. As I wrote in August, Wood was a shoo-in for the Daybreak job, which makes it even more ridiculous that she would be yanked from that post.
During her brief tenure, she continued Finnerty’s tech-friendly improvements to the show, which included using Twitter and Facebook, accepting emails and text messages during the show, and producing a daily podcast. As a regular listener to that podcast, I can attest to the fact that Wood is professional yet personable, and certainly has no flaws that would warrant such a decision.
It’s not clear what will happen to Wood, though she hasn’t been fired from CBC. She may return to her previous job as a TV reporter.
So why is Nancy Wood being pulled out of the Daybreak chair? CBC isn’t talking, and the person in a position to answer these kinds of questions doesn’t start her new job until Monday.
If this were a commercial station, the first place I would look is ratings. I don’t have access to detailed numbers, so until someone leaks them to me, I won’t be able to tell you much. One former CBC radio host told me ratings are probably a major factor in a case like this.
But even if the answer is ratings, so what? Wood hasn’t had a chance to build an audience in the morning, and this decision is more likely to alienate listeners than attract them. This is CBC, not CHOM. Supposedly the one place outside of community and campus radio where there’s a consideration more important than ratings.
CBC hasn’t announced who it plans to replace Wood with (they haven’t announced she’s leaving either, technically), and the staff doesn’t know yet.
I’ll copy and paste some suggestions from my post after Finnerty left, linking to Daybreak podcasts (all MP3) from fill-in hosts last summer. Not to look down on them, but I honestly don’t see any of them improving upon Wood:
- Shawn Apel (currently Daybreak’s municipal affairs correspondent and resident philosopher): April 30, May 1
- Susan Campbell (currently the host of Quebec AM): May 18, May 19, May 20
- Brendan Kelly (currently an entertainment columnist for The Gazette and Daybreak): June 4, June 5
- Stephen Puddicombe: May 21, May 22
To that list I’d add Steve Rukavina, who has filled in for departed hosts, and Sonali Karnick, currently the Daybreak sports reporter and one of the hardest working people in that office. Both are professionals and would make good hosts, but would also suffer from a comparison to Wood.
“Boneheads, boneheads, boneheads!”
A Facebook group has been started to keep Nancy Wood on Daybreak. It has
17 80 369 members right now (including myself, though that’s more to keep tabs on it than to participate in any campaign). There’s also some commentary on the show’s Facebook page.
Radio watcher Sheldon Harvey has some comments as well on the news, which he calls “extremely disappointing.”
UPDATE (Feb. 21): The Gazette quotes Wood’s personal Facebook page saying she and the CBC are “in talks” but “nothing inspiring.” The International Radio Report on CKUT (hosted this week by Harvey) also quotes from Wood’s Facebook (MP3) and the brief, cryptic messages that appear there, including that it was not a “they” but a “she” (Marquard?) that made the decision to remove her, and that no, this is not a joke, she’s been “canned.”
UPDATE (Feb. 22): Rukavina filled in for Wood on this morning’s show and apparently will for the remainder of the week. No mention of this story at all during the first Daybreak show since The Gazette broke it Friday evening.
UPDATE (Feb. 24): Gazette pop culture columnist Basem Boshra on Wood’s dismissal:
Hey, guys, nice work finally getting rid of that Nancy Wood from Daybreak. I’m getting so sick already of hearing her warm, intelligent, engaging voice in the mornings. Can’t wait until she’s gone in June – it feels like she’s been on the air for, like, months! Definitely time for a change. And, hey, I don’t want to tell you how to run your business, but if you’re looking for smarter, more entertaining voices to anchor your flagship show, I hear Ted Bird and the equally hilarious Tasso are still looking for work. Think of all the wacky impressions!
UPDATE (Feb. 25): Mike Boone and Doug Camilli also weigh in, along with a bunch of letters to the editor.
Those who want to complain are being sent to Communications Manager Hugh Brodie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 514-597-5813.
Nancy Wood leaving Daybreak??? Are you nuts at CBC?
Why not dump the CBC TV news lady ( 5:30 p.m.) She is really bad news!
Or maybe that is happening, and Nancy Wood is taking it over…..
I’m a regular listener to the Daybreak podcast, and must confess I’m pretty ambivalent about Wood. She was enormous improvement over Finnerty, but she definitely hasn’t grown much on me since she took over.
I have no problem with Wood’s professionalism – she actually seems quite good as a journalist. It’s that I just find her on-air personality as a program host to be a bit flat.
I love Sonali Karnick; she’s a fantastic and engaging sports reporter. If she can bring that same kind of enthusiasm to news, that’d be great.
The other problem is that regardless of whether it was Finnerty or Wood, they would be so nakedly adversarial when interviewing people, as if they were intentionally being antagonistic for its own sake. If you ever listen to the BBC, you’ll often hear them challenging their interview subjects without coming across as…well, as a complete prick. The CBC folks (i.e., Finnerty and Wood) haven’t quite figured that one out yet.
That’s unfortunate. I liked her as much as I liked Finnerty.
Maybe they’re making room for the Birdman.
I’ve heard people suggest that, but it makes so little sense. Bird is an opinionator, a funnyman, and a DJ. Hosting Daybreak is more about journalism and interviewing than a morning show at a commercial radio station.
I mean, it’s possible, but highly unlikely.
I’ve been listening to CBC’s morning show since it was Concert Time with John Tretheway! And to Daybreak from when Paul was the first MC. Some hosts have been better than others – I nearly gave it up when the former Ottawa football player had the mike for a few months.
Finnerty was quick and bright but became increasingly aggressive and hostile in his later months. Nancy Wood was a pleasant replacement. What bugs me is her soliciting comments (e-mail, texting, etc) about 20 times an hours on any little detail. Has CBC no sense of standards or priority?
She sounds like a rabid sports fan. I would prefer to her her refer to literature about 1/10th of the time she refers to sports.
And for some reason or other, she has a blind spot when it comes to organized labour. As if she dislikes it. We’ll see whether her union gets to help her keep her job.
I’m glad no-one suggested Bronstetter be returned to the morning shifty. I sleep in late on weekends.
The day I end up in the CBC, get your affairs in order, because the Earth will spin off its axis and be sucked into a supermassive black hole. On the other hand, at least I’ll have a highbrow topic for my one and only show.
Ted -Not to worry – the headhunters are not after you :)
BTW – from my listening post I hear it was ratings…specifically slipping ratings that did her in. The CBC apparently wasn’t willing to wait 12 to 16 months to see if they improved.
The absolute best person for the job is the person they often run to to replace the host temporarily… Steve Rukavina!
Wake up, folks! The guy’s a natural. Nancy Wood was uninspiring as were most of the contendors. And, can you imagine Susan Campbell? I’d feel like I was back in kindergarten.
Give Steve Rukavina the job! He already does a great job as a replacement… his tone is PERFECT for the morning. He is witty, affable and pleasant to listen to.
Please, please, NOT Rukavina, his nasal twang is awful, as is his huge ego. He is not as intelligent as he would like us to think.
Now, Yvan Huneault, yes, would be great but isn’t he a bit old? Actually I have no idea of his age so maybe he isn’t too old.
Never connected or cared for the past couple of hosts that replaced Dave Bronstetter. Finnerty’s voice and style was annoying to listen to. While Woods was definitely an improvement over Finnerty she still didn’t click with me or obviously with her listeners.
Here’s another candiate I’d like to see short listed to take over at Daybreak: Dennis Trudeau.
the daybreak show is in fourth in ratings for radio morning shows
Has Daybreak gone down in the ratings since Nancy Wood became the host?
Yes the ratings went from 5th in the city to 3rd with Mike Finnerty. Now, I gather, they are 4th. This is going to happen with a new host but I agree with someone earlier, Nancy Wood is flat. If she had come in after Bronstetter, she may have had a chance.
Maybe Jim Duff will do it, he used to host Daybreak 20 years ago and hasn’t had a radio gig for a while… or how about Dennis Trudeau? Yvon Huneault?
And while we’re at it, whatever happened to Omega Medina?
Yvon Huneault is another great candidate that I also thought of and wanted to mention in my post but I couldn’t remember his name. Thanks.
Dennis Trudeau, Omega Medina and Jim Duff have all retired!! Dennis Trudeau is active in the organization Reporters Without Borders.
Last I saw Omega Medina she was doing weather on Newswatch (then name for CBC local news) in the late 80’s You may wish to contact Marc Denis, they were colleagues at CKGM in the late 70’s and is likely they might have kept in touch.
Nancy Wood has always struck me as a bland suburban mom type. That of course makes her exactly what the ceeb wants in a local host (the national hosts are based more on the Queen St. West model). She was a perfect fit in her former gig as host of Radio Noon, the blandest and most annoying of the three daily local shows. I have no idea at all how she wound up on The National. It was disappointing but not at all surprising to see her get hired at Daybreak. This can only be about ratings. Don’t cry for her, she’s permanent staff. She’ll land on her feet.
Yvan Huneault??? Nah..he’d last 7 days..and then would pull something :)
Steve Rukavina?? Maybe…the women like him…don’t know about men.
Sonali (aka Sona)??Hummm. Dark horse candidate if I ever saw one. But..maybe ??
The Apel guy?? Too busy philosophizing :)
And just who is Pla-Chen-Ska? I know who she’s trying to be.
How about the Spoonman?
Yup- saw that coming.
We were big fans of NW when she was summarizing the news stories on Daybreak when DB was host.. but after months of having to endure an endless cycle of traffic, sports, mindless twitters and stories with no substance we were ready to sign off CBC.
Sonali was showing great promise early on- but she too has been sucked into their annoying free for all “talk radio” conversations. Yuck.
Monique? (someone please shut her up)
Personally I was a big fan of Mike Finnerty’s because he brought sophistication and some international flavour to the show. I found all of the potential hosts who did short stints last summer to be wholly inadequate and was glad when Nancy Wood took over with her experience and professionalism. This having been said, I don’t like the folksy suburban tone that the show has adopted since she became the host. But if the top brass at CBC want to get rid of her then they should do so with more class and professionalism. No wonder she’s staying home.
Yvan Huneault showed up on All In A Weekend with Dave Bronstetter.
We’re surprised about the chatter. Everyone we know who listened to Daybreak stopped when Woods signed on.
She’s dull, a poor interviewer and we don’t particularly care about her personal life and experiences.
Obviously we weren’t alone in tuning out.
She’s a great boost to Radio 2 Morning.
Whatever happened to Yvan Huneault anyway? Why did he leave Newswatch? What a blast from the past!
He appears sometimes Saturday/Sunday mornings on Dave’s show. Still hilarious.
Other people we could probably get rid of:
P. Laundry: The French side has great coverage of new art movies, interesting gallery shows, new music, just try changing channels the next time this so-called “arts” reporter is covering Celine Dion or the latest American awards show. If I wanted to know when the next Celine Dion show is I probably wouldn’t be listening to the CBC would I? (And don’t we already have TWO other arts reporters? (both named Kelly)
C. Warren: How many awful summer replacement shows can you pump out?
Bronstetter is probably due for another burn-out.
And meanwhile a lot of talent goes to waste. There are plenty of good people kicking around the newsroom. Rukavina in particular strikes me as a good bargain between information and listenability.
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Nancy Wood was quite good, and she does not deserve what is happening, but the whole show could use a shake up. There’s too much of nothing. Endless trails for what’s coming up, or entreaties for texts from listeners. It needs to be tightened up. Do they have to thank each other when they hand off to each other 10 times every hour?
The Radio-Canada equivalent in the morning would be a good template. Get some “gravitas” in there.
Get more politics in, less traffic and arts reporters that actually go to shows once in a while.
I have been an avid listener for years and I find Nancy Wood too clinical. If she ‘is’ personable it does not come across on the air where she seems sometimes distant, and certainly aloof. Move on Nancy…. welcome Steve Rukavina – you are very good.
Since the CBC is looking to share things up, how about getting rid of Bernie St. Laurent on Home Run? He doesn’t actually interview people, but rather try to show off to them just how much he knows (or at least thinks he does). And besides, there’s always someone filling in for him anyways….
If you could remove my name as one being considered to replace Nancy, I would be great full.
Although I tried it for a couple of days I am not in Nancy’s league when it comes to hosting.
Bring Nancy Wood back. CBC management has handled this so pathetically that it leaves me speechless. Have some balls, admit you screwed up, get down on your knees and beg her to come back. The sad thing is, she probably will tell you to TYJ and SI! I would not blame her.
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As with Sol Bauxenbaum on CJAD, the powers-that-be at the CBC are concentrating on pretending that Nancy Wood no longer exists so far as Daybreak is concerned. The managers couldn’t care less about the large amount of support Nancy has been getting. I don’t think the CBC will recover easily from this and will in effect increasingly be seen, here in Montreal, as a public station that acts like a private station for the sake of its decision makers.
The only person who would satisfy the CBC is a moran. How about Gilles Duceppe??
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this is typical ‘talent management’ at cbc. they destroy their on air people. whimishly.
I’m not in Montreal and haven’t heard Nancy… however, I will point out that a 6 month stint is not nearly long enough to test out a host on any program. It doesn’t make sense.
Look at the R2 monster, as it lumbers on for 18 months with a proven loss in listenership numbers, in an attempt to make “Canada more relevant to Canadians”.
Nancy Wood is a butt-insky who can’t help but interrupt her colleagues with stories about her kids at least twice every morning. Her interviewing skills on-air are completely unengaging. Her voice is flat, yet somehow condescending. Come on people, I’m not saying Ted Bird, but even Pierre Landry is better than Nancy Wood. And that’s saying something.
If anything needs to be “dumped”, I think it’s the daybreak format..Then bring in
Jim Brown from Calgary…..
I was so happy when I heard Nancy’s voice on Daybreak when she returned to RADIO from TV. I remembered her from Radio Noon. Having been away a week and a half, I did not know she was gone.
I will definitely miss her pleasant voice and personality. Whoever ‘they’ are, they are surely doing their level best to kill CBC Radio.
A loyal CBC and once again very disappointed listener.
ok so finnerty is back and nancy wood has taken an oath of complete and utter silence?
so how long this time finnerty?
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Missing Nancy Wood, she was much better than Mike Finnerty, BIG mistake !!
Did she get cut because she was a former NDP candidate? Is this political interference from the Conservative Party. They seem so intent in changing the CBC into a national mouthpiece for Mr. Harper. I can’t count on the number of times he has been shown in a helicopter, fighter jet, or kissing babies. What about real critique of the PC assault on our social and political structures and services. Harper is a radical, making radical changes to our country, one budget cut at a time. This is revolution by stealth. I think if you want to be successful, you need to eliminate people like Nancy Wood. She is a very bright and perfectly bilingual threat to this stealth. She sees what is going on and is not afraid to ask questions. Well, now you can see her in french on Radio Canada, but the rest of Canada won’t be able to benefit from her fine journalism. Harper’s way is to silence opposing, rational opinion.
I think you’re thinking of Anne Lagacé Dowson. Wood’s politics have never been an issue, and your suggestion that the CBC is run by conservatives would no doubt make many of them laugh.
Well there’s some alarmist, highly emotional tripe; yikes!
CBC conservative? Ha..there’s an oxymoron for you.
All in a weekend is done… It might as well be off air now that Dave isnt there…
It lost its flavor, no fun anymore, its dull and uneventful.
The weekend mornings are ruined for listeners.
I, for one, can’t stand it anymore and YES I turn it off…
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