Getting ready to host "The Informer"
I was working as a TV producer in the business side of the Agriculture Resources Department of the CBC in Toronto when I was invited by Ottawa producer Ken Johnson to audition for the position of host/producer of a new CBC public affairs show he was starting in Ottawa. I won the audition, rented our house at 465 Sackville Street, in Toronto, and moved with Liset and Peter to a rented town house in Kanata, a bedroom suburb of Ottawa.
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I had mixed feelings about the title of the series, The Informer, a name I came up during discussions about what to call the show. It suggested the program would be investigative in nature (good) but could also mean sneaky (bad). In neither setting was I completely add ease. The experience showed that "hosting" shows, especially "live" ones that Ottawa was, did not play to my strengths. I couldn't read a teleprompter confidently and my ability to remember scripts was just as lousy.
Far more skillful on-air talent working at CBE Ottawa at the time ( it was a Regional Station not just Local ) were Carol Taylor, who I worked with at CTV's "W-5" and 9 (to me at least) an aloof Patrick Watson. I had hoped Watson, former host of "This Hour Has Seven Days" might give some tips on hosting. But he made no offer, not even to introduce himself. It was not a big office.
We did do several documentaries in addition to the regular magazine-style format. One was based on a trip to Atlantic City to investigate the gambling scene there. I believe the reason was an debate over whether to open a gambling casino in Ottawa. We did a full-scale profile of the colorful Reeve of Napean, Andrew Haydon, and hosted a student forum at the University of Ottawa. We also travelled to Toronto to do a story on "Maggie and Pierre" a play by Linda Griffith. We screened the film at the Ottawa Press Club ( now sadly closed ) but I seem to recall few people watched it.
Several years later young Peter and I met Linda Griffith and interviewed her about her Star Trek parody, "Father Andre's Heart". The interview was for our ill-fated Star Trek documentary project.