CBC Edmonton hijacks Portia Clark's final show to say goodbye

As the sun sets on the Edmonton chapter of Portia Clark’s radio career, guests, and colleagues lined up to say good bye Friday.

Clark will host Nova Scotia's Information Morning starting April 9

CBC Radio Active host Rod Kurtz surprises his co-host Portia Clark with a show dedicated to her. 1:06

As the sun sets on the Edmonton chapter of Portia Clark's radio career, guests, and colleagues lined up to say good bye Friday.

Clark was named host of Information Morning, CBC Radio's morning show for mainland Nova Scotia — and Friday was her last day behind the microphone on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.

Clark expected her last show to follow in the footsteps of countless others. Instead, co-host Rod Kurtz steered the show to what the Radio Active crew had planned for weeks — a dedication to Clark's time at CBC Edmonton.
Co-owner of Bar Clementine Evan Watson made Clark a special cocktail called 'The Portia.' (Leslie Goldstone/CBC)

"If you wonder why your microphone isn't working, it's because I've taken over the show," Kurtz said. "You know all that prep you did today? You're not going to need it."

"I didn't do much today, I will confess," Clark replied, laughing.

The Radio Active crew went behind Clark's back, collecting goodbye messages from columnists she has worked with over the years and roping in other columnists to share tips and advice for her new adventure out east.

Food columnist Doreen Prei prepared some Atlantic salmon tarator with Clark in the Radio Active studio. Gardening columnist Jim Hole shared gardening tips for gardeners in Halifax.

Paul Haavardsrud, Radio Active's business reporter, offered tips on some places to visit in Halifax. Evan Watson, co-owner of Bar Clementine, made Clark a special drink for her farewell called "The Portia."

'We'll miss you'

Other columnists recorded messages for Clark.

"You were always a delight — engaged and actually interested in what I was saying," said Graham Thomson, the show's political analyst. "I'm going to miss you terribly."

Scott Persons, Radio Active's resident dinosaur storyteller, was thankful for Clark's role in quizzing him on the latest dino discoveries.

"You've permitted me to come on your show and talk about a lot of very old, dead things — and I've loved doing it," Persons said in his tribute to Clark.

"She's so awesome, so smart, so warm, so fun and will succeed at whatever she does," money columnist Bruce Sellery said.

"[She's] so curious and engaging and warm and it's made my time so so easy," said science columnist Torah Kachur.

The In Crowd, Radio Active's weekly segment on what's going on in the city on the weekend, even wrote a song for Clark.

Weekly columnists from the In Crowd wrote a song for Portia Clark's farewell. 1:47

"She's been stolen from us by Halifax," said digital culture columnist Adam Rozenhart. "You've made a huge mistake Portia — and we'll miss you."

"We'll miss you so much," Kate Leadbeater added.

CBC Edmonton will miss her too

In her final segment of her final show, a few co-workers from CBC Edmonton stopped by to share their memories of working with Clark for the past 18 years.

Mark Connolly, host of CBC Radio's Edmonton AM, co-hosted the 6 p.m. television newscast with Clark for eight years. When Clark was asked to host Radio Active for six months, Connolly remembered saying to her that she'd never come back to TV. She didn't.

"It was always my pleasure to co-host with you," Connolly said. 

"She's got that warmth that comes through over the air," CBC Radio Active's Ken Dawson said. "You can hear that she cares, that she listens to you, that she respects those she's having a conversation with.

"Lots of people ask when you talk to people about hosts, what they are really like," CBC Edmonton's James Evans said. "Portia is the same on-air as off-air." 

"You inspire me, I think you inspire us all, you're so empathetic the way you can tell a story," CBC Radio Active's Leslie Goldstone said.  

If you find you miss hearing Clark's voice, you can wake up at 3 a.m. and listen to Information Morning, starting April 9 here.