As I strolled through the John Street entrance of CBC studios yesterday afternoon, I crossed a threshold from the outside world—the world of streetcars and frostbite—into a world of possibility—the world of television broadcasting. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be on set during the taping of George Stroumboulopoulos’ New Year’s Eve show.
While the CBC technitians fiddled with the computer (they were setting up for a live interview with You-Tube sensation Anton Dobson), Strombo fielded a few questions from the audience. Here’s what George had to say when Lady Medusa asked about radio and television broadcasting and the future of Canadian communication.
George explained that we need to realize that as broadcasters, we’re just one brick in a long roadway of media communication. The infrastructure of media is changing, and rather than trying to see where the road is headed, journalists need to focus on laying their brick, on making their small sound. We need to understand how we, as journalists, are part of a larger discourse, an ongoing conversation that has been taking place since the early days of radio. When I asked George where he thinks he stands in the roadway of Canadian broadcasting, he shyly shoved his hands in his pockets and said modestly, “that isn’t my place to say.”
I asked George if he had any advice for aspiring journalists. Impulsively, he answered, “Do what you love.”
“Television is easy” he told me. “All of this—” (he gestured to the CBC set)— “is easy. In order to get here, however, you have to figure out what you want to talk about. You have to figure out what you want to say.”
During Strombo’s interview with actor Gordon Pinsent, I leaned forward intently; As much as I was interested in Pinsent’s answers, I was more interested in Strombo’s questions. An excellent listener and conversationalist, Stombo aims for his new show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight to be casual and conversational, in opposition to the stuffy and highly-edited recordings in more sober media. Strombo doesn’t script his interviews, he just lets the conversation flow. “We frame interviews” he tells me, “but we don’t script them. That’s what makes us different.”
Most of all, Strombo told me not to hold out. He believes that the price for admission into the world of broadcasting is doing and being everything you are right now, tonight—not tomorrow, or the next day, but tonight.
Thank you, George, for your insightful opinions, and please keep in mind that Lady Medusa is single.