Barbara Frum: The Journal premieres
Broadcaster Barbara Frum pioneered a tough interview style on CBC Radio's As it Happens and later on CBC Television's The Journal. Whether she was talking to Nelson Mandela, Harold Ballard or the grower of the world's biggest cabbage, Frum's unrelenting curiosity, her fearless search for the truth, and her empathy and humour made her one of Canada's most important broadcasters.
The decision to revamp CBC Television's prime-time format involves moving the 11 p.m.The National newscast to a new slot an hour earlier, putting it in direct competition with Dynasty and Hill Street Blues.
The National would then be followed by an innovative 38-minute current affairs program called The Journal, hosted by not one but two women: Mary Lou Finlay and Barbara Frum.
Finlay would later chuckle recalling the image of "a herd of guys. whispering, 'hey, can we do it, can we really put two broads on the air?'"
It is seen as a major victory for feminists.
Despite Frum's success on radio, CBC management questions her abilities on TV. Skeptics point to the failure of another popular radio personality, Peter Gzowski, and his short-lived television show, 90 Minutes Live.
Initially even Frum has apprehensions about being the host of the new program. The Journal's executive producer Mark Starowicz, who worked with her on As It Happens, eventually convinces her to make the move. It's a decision that will transform CBC Television. The Journal launches on Jan. 11, 1982 and becomes a huge success. Each night, it consistently pulls in 2.5 million viewers across Canada, far exceeding everyone's expectations.
It's the program Canadians tune into before bed and talk about the next day around the water cooler. Its host Barbara Frum becomes synonymous with The Journal.
. Mary Lou Finlay left her co-hosting duties after two years to become a field reporter for The Journal. The decision to go with one host was made by Mark Starowicz who believed a 38-minute show was too short to justify two hosts.
. Frum would become the master of the "double ender" interviews. Often both Frum and her guests stared into the lens of a camera, conducting the interview to a mirror image of their own faces. The technology fooled the audience into thinking that Frum and her guests could see each other during the conversation.
. The first episode of The Journal received mixed reviews.
. Frum lavished attention on her poodle Diva. Mark Starowicz jokingly referred to Diva as the "bane of his existence." He recalled how they had to stop taping The Journal more than once because Diva could be heard in the background.
. Her constant companion during the long hours she put in for The Journal , Diva had been a surprise birthday present from her daughter Linda.
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Jan. 11, 1982
Guest(s): Lloyd Axworthy, Dennis McDermott
Host: Barbara Frum
Last updated: March 19, 2012
Page consulted on June 12, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Barbara Frum hits the airwaves as a co-host for CBC Radio's As It Happ...
Frum talks about the stress of being a "superwoman."
Behind the scenes at CBC Radio's As It Happens.
Barbara Frum's hilarious attempt to interview the grower of the world'...
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Frum's legendary clash with the irascible sexist Harold Ballard.
Frum reads a letter to Ballard forgiving him for his sexist outbursts....
When Harold Ballard, the controversial and outrageous owner of the Tor...
Barbara Frum looks back on her famous interview with Sandra Good of th...
Friends mourn the loss of an incredible journalist and a loyal friend ...
CBC Radio show remembers its longtime host.
Remembering the pioneering broadcast journalist.
Canadians remember the popular CBC host.
A monument in memory of the popular CBC host.
The sudden death of Barbara Frum on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. ...