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Radio revolution with CBC’s As It Happens

The Story


CBC Radio, once the lifeline of the country, is struggling to hang on to its audience in the television age. In an effort to resuscitate itself, CBC Radio launches a new show called As It Happens. Soon millions of Canadians are tuning into the program. Barbara Frum, the fifth host of the show, tells future host Mary Lou Finlay how she believes the show's success is due to the fact that they don't take themselves too seriously. At the time, the idea of initiating phone calls to the outside world from inside a studio is groundbreaking. It turns the familiar concept of a phone-in talk show on its head. Using rotary telephones, the hosts broadcast live to each time zone and conduct five and a half hours of live conversation each night. They bring newsmakers, politicians and a colourful array of characters from around the world into the homes of Canadians.

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Oct. 21, 1973
Guest(s): Barbara Frum
Host: Mary Lou Finlay
Duration: 8:54

Did You know?


• Past hosts of As It Happens include:
Phillip Forsyth (1968-69)
Harry Brown (1968-74)
William Ronald (1968-71)
Cy Strange (1971-73)
Barbara Frum (1971-81)
Alan Maitland (1974-93)
Elizabeth Gray (1981-85)
Dennis Trudeau (1985-1987)
Michael Enright (1987-1997)
Barbara Budd (1993-2010)
Mary Lou Finlay (1997-2005)
Carol Off (2006-present)
Jeff Douglas (2011-present)

• By 1973 As it Happens took on its current format: a daily 90-minute show with two hosts under the leadership of the young executive producer Mark Starowicz. Although Starowicz and Barbara Frum claim to have initially hated each other, the two quickly became and remained the closest of friends.


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