- Weekdays at 6:30 p.m. (7:00 NL)
- Monday-Thursday at 12 a.m. (12:30 NL)
- As it Happened: The Archive Edition Friday at 7:30 p.m. (8:00 p.m. NL)
- Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. (midnight NL)
- Weekdays 6:30 p.m. (ET)
- Midnight Edition: Monday-Thursday at 12:00 a.m.
- As it Happened: The Archive Edition Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET
ABOUT THE SHOWAbout the Hosts →
Book your ears on a nightly 'round-the-world trip with As it Happens. From conversations with news makers to up-close and personal accounts of the unusual and unexpected, hosts Carol Off and Jeff Douglas bring you the stories behind the stories of the day.
As it Happens gets its stories from "the horse's mouth" - securing interviews with world leaders, rabble-rousers and deposed dictators. The show has a soft-spot for "characters" and never turns its nose up at something wild, weird or wacky.
In 1968, As it Happens launches its first program. The producers reverse the popular call-in radio format. Using a standard rotary-dial telephone, William Ronald, Harry Brown and their colleagues hold a five-and-a-half hour conversation every night with newsmakers, politicians and characters across Canada and around the world. The sound quality is different, and so is the program. Three years later, in 1971, the producers recruit two more hosts to share the on-air workload (five-and-a-half hours a day is a lot of talking!). Cy Strange and Barbara Frum bring new voices to the show and new approaches to interviews.
A New Format, and New Challenges
In 1973, As it Happens takes a familiar shape: a 90-minute show every night, with two hosts.
Voices of the World
Over the next few years Barbara Frum, Harry Brown and Alan Maitland polish the art of interviewing people at the centre of the story. Among their guests:
A close friend of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn , just after his arrest in 1974.
Sandra Good, on her friend and fellow Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, just after her attempted assassination of President Gerald Ford.
One of a group of hostage takers at a New York bank, demanding the release of Patty Hearst and her associates, plus a ransom for himself.
A World of Change
Elizabeth Gray, Dennis Trudeau and Michael Enright host As it Happens through most of the 1980s and 90s. They witness the transformation of Rhodesia from a renegade country at war with guerrilla armies to a one-party state called Zimbabwe; the patriation of Canada's constitution, the signing of free trade agreements and the birth of the GST; the collapse of the Soviet Union and the union of Europe; Meech Lake, Charlottetown and the creation of the Bloc Quebecois and Reform parties. If Canada is talking about it, As it Happens is talking about it, too.
In January 1993, the city of Sarajevo is under siege by Bosnian Serbs, led by Radovan Karadzic. Mr. Karadzic's forces have gained control of most of the country and, in his words, have "cleansed" much of traditionally non-Serb territory. Reports surface of death camps and mass rapes. Peace talks hosted by the European Union have reached an impasse, mostly due to objections by the Serbs. In the midst of these developments, As it Happens' Michael Enright speaks for the first time with Mr. Karadzic, and asks him a very pointed question.
In 1997, Michael Enright cedes the hosting duties to Mary Lou Finlay, who begins an eight-year tenure in the co-host chair, opposite Barbara Budd. It just so happens her first day on the job is the day after Princess Diana is killed in a car crash. During her time at As it Happens she will cover the highly-contentious 2000 US presidential election, the fallout from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Air India affair and the opening of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After Mary Lou Finlay's departure in 2005, she writes a book about her experiences on As it Happens, revealing the behind-the-scenes circumstances of some of her most memorable interviews.
Fun and Games
In addition to serious interviews, As it Happens searches for stories about the lighter and more bizarre parts of everyday life. Canadians meet people who keep aliens in their basements, sell lunar real estate, collect telephone poles, walk backwards across the country, grow giant vegetables and can tell you where Howard Hughes put his last will and testament. If they're eccentric and charming, they find a home on CBC Radio.
Who can forget, for instance, the classic interview between Barbara Frum and the hard-of-hearing farmer about his prized giant cabbage?
Or Mary Lou speaking with farmer Mike Rees about his talking pig, Mouse?
Or the conversation between Carol and the Texas lawyer who took his donkey, Buddy, to court?
How Far From Reading?
The town where Oscar Wilde was once imprisoned becomes the geographic centre of Britain for As it Happens listeners, who learn the distance from Reading to anywhere in the U.K.
A Story-Telling Tradition
Alan Maitland opens his book of Christmas stories, and becomes Fireside Al every holiday season. Debuting in 1979, his reading of Frederick Forsyth's The Shepherd becomes a Christmas-Eve favourite.
Upon Al Maitland's retirement in 1993, the inimitable Barbara Budd assumes the co-host chair, a position she will hold for the next 17 years. She adds to the canon of As it Happens classic readings, with her renderings of timeless favourites like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Bone Button Borscht.
As it Happens Today
While it's no longer just about the phone, As it Happens continues to build on the brilliantly-simple concept that started it all: in-depth, one-on-one conversations with the newsmakers of the day, for first-hand perspectives of the day's developing stories.
From heart-stopping to heart-wrenching to heart-warming, As it Happens connects you with influential and inspirational voices from every corner of the globe. Take, for example, Carol's interview with John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics ambassador with Down Syndrome. He wrote an open letter to American conservative provacteur Ann Coulter, decrying her use of the term "retard" in a tweet to describe President Obama during the 2012 presidential debates.
And a day after the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that claimed more than 1,100 lives, Carol speaks with one of the surviving workers, Fatema Khatun, who recalls the horror of being trapped inside as the building came crashing down.
And of course, As it Happens is always on the lookout for tales of the outrageous and uproarious. Listen to Carol's uplifting conversation with a giddy Julie Ostrow, as she boards a plane after just having been crowned the winner of the first ever American Laughing Championships.
As it Happens. Radio that's to dial for.
ABOUT THE HOSTS
With extensive experience in both Canadian and international current affairs, Carol Off has covered conflicts in the Middle East, Haiti, the Balkans and the sub-continent, as well as events in the former Soviet Union, Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. She reported the fallout from the 9/11 disasters with news features and documentaries from New York, Washington, London, Cairo and Afghanistan. She has covered Canadian military missions around the world including its latest combat operation in Kandahar.
Her award-winning documentaries include: "Fatwas and Beauty Queens", the story of a young Nigerian woman journalist who fled into exile when her article on a Miss World Pageant was deemed blasphemous; "Of Crimes and Courage", the story of a child who survived the massacre of her family in Kosovo and then went on to personally hunt down the killers; "In the Company of War Lords", the story of Washington's complicity with Afghanistan's most murderous criminals; "Playing with Fire," about the anti-Indian movement in North America; "Children of Chernobyl", the story of Cuba's medical therapy program for child victims of the Chernobyl disaster; "Flight from Bosnia", an investigation into war criminals who found safe haven in Canada's refugee system; and "Thou Shalt Not Kill", a profile of religious extremists who kill abortion doctors.
Carol Off's coverage of the post-war reconstruction of the Balkans and the war crimes trial for Yugoslavia led her to write the best-selling book, The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle: A Story of Generals and Justice in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and another national best-seller on the war in Croatia, The Ghosts of Medak Pocket: The Story of Canada's Secret War, which won the prestigious Dafoe Foundation Award in 2005. Her most recent book, Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet, chronicles the international cocoa industry and the machinations behind Big Chocolate.
Carol Off was an arts reporter for CBC Stereo in the early 1980s, when she also wrote for several periodicals. She was the CBC Ottawa correspondent for Sunday Morning in the late 1980s covering the Canada/USA Free Trade Agreement, the Meech Lake Accord, the founding of the Reform Party and the re-election of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives. She then became CBC Radio's National Reporter for the Province of Quebec where she covered among other stories the Bloc Quebecois, the Montreal massacre, the Oka crisis and several election campaigns.
Carol Off has won numerous awards for television and radio work, among them: a Gemini; two gold medals from the New York Festival of Television; a selected screening at the Monte Carlo Television Festival; several awards and citations from the Columbia Television awards; a Gabriel award; a B'nai Brith Award and number of awards and citation from the National Radio and Television Association.
She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. She lives and works in Toronto.
As it Happens co-host Jeff Douglas brings a wealth of experience to CBC Radio One. He has hosted the award-winning documentary series Ancestors in the Attic (History, Global),chronicling the stories of ordinary people and their extraordinary experiences.
Douglas has travelled across the country and back in time exploring the lives of the common worker throughout Canadian history in Working Over Time (History Television) as well as starring in the documentary series Things That Move (History Television/National Geographic Canada), investigating the triumphs and failures of invention and how machines have changed our lives. More recently, he starred in Making History (National Geographic), an internationally broadcast four-part series exploring and re-creating significant historic places and events.
Douglas also hosted the 161 country-wide live broadcast of Jetman Live (National Geographic), a live television event showcasing adventurer Yves Rossy's attempt to be the first person to fly across the English Channel using a jet pack.
With a background in narration, storytelling and considerable experience in theatre, Jeff Douglas's dynamic personality has allowed him to tackle the most obscure and interesting situations ranging from mushing dogs in Yukon to leaping out of planes with 442 Squadron search and rescue personnel.
Jeff Douglas has won numerous awards for his work including three Gemini nominations. He is also a Kari Award recipient for his popular commercial work, which includes playing Joe Canadian in the now legendary "I Am Canadian" campaign.
Born in Truro, Nova Scotia, Douglas currently lives and works in Toronto.