New host Sean Henry says Daybreak is 'one big breakfast table'

Sean will host Daybreak starting January 11, 2021. To get to know him a little better, here he answers some questions about how he sees the new gig.

Henry will take over as host of CBC Montreal's morning radio show on Jan. 11

'I wanted the chance to connect with Montrealers in a different way, at a different time of day,' says Sean Henry. (Charles Contant/CBC)

The new voice of CBC Montreal's Daybreak will be Sean Henry.

You probably know him from his time as weekend anchor on CBC Montreal's TV news, as a radio guest host and from CBC radio specials.

Sean will host Daybreak starting January 11, 2021.

To get to know him a little better, here Sean answers some questions about how he sees his new gig.

Why did you want to be Daybreak's next host?

I wanted the chance to connect with Montrealers in a different way, at a different time of day. Mornings are an opportunity to start fresh. The show allows us to do it together, at one big breakfast table, digging into the news of the day and talking about random subjects. I've noticed Daybreak listeners like to talk about food!

You're coming from a television background. How do you approach interviews? What's your style?

I'm used to timed interviews because television shows at CBC Montreal are typically 30 minutes, with items before and after interviews. I'm looking forward to spending more time on the subject, which will also change my interview style slightly. I like to get straight to the point, but now there's an opportunity to dig deeper and have a better understanding.

Sean enjoying a laugh with former Daybreak traffic reporter Jennifer Allen at Montreal's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. (CBC Montreal archives)

What do you hope to bring to the show?

My own Montreal experience. I spent the first few years of my life in Côte-Des-Neiges, grew up in LaSalle, spent my university years in Little Burgundy and moved away as "one island, one city" came into effect — remember that? I lived away from home from 2002-12 (Nassau, Bahamas, Quebec City, Windsor, Ont.) and I find you have a different appreciation for Montreal when you return. Like loving the fact we have a Metro system!

I'm a converted east-ender; Mercier–Hochelaga–Maisonneuve is home now. That choice is a story in itself, which I'll probably talk about one day. The west end was so familiar to me, and I'm in LaSalle regularly as my family still lives there. That said, exploring the east end has been a treat. I regularly take my bike and ride the bus, just to look out the window and see what's around or where it takes me. And warning: I like to laugh.

You're taking over the show in January. What do you think 2021 will bring?

Clear answers. We're all tired, trying to manage through this uncertainty. Our public health officials and politicians have said recently, "there's light at the end of the tunnel." First, that time has to come. When it does, hopefully the uncertainty will start to disappear, and we'll be able to plan for the future together.

Sean Henry and Julie Nesrallah behind the scenes at the 2019 CBC Montreal Christmas Sing-In. (Tam Lan Truong/

What's the definitive Montreal food?

Pass. I'm not trying to start a food debate this early!

Your favourite Montreal neighbourhood?

The bike path along the Rivière-des-Prairies, the part that starts at Eusèbe-Ménard Park in Montreal North going west. Ever been on a sunny Saturday morning?

Favourite interview you've ever done?

Off the top of my head: Aretha Franklin. There were other reporters there, but it was something to have her standing right in front of me. That happened at a memorable assignment in my career, when I got to cover Rosa Parks's funeral in Detroit.

Early morning drinks: coffee or tea? With milk, sugar?

Coffee. Medium double double. Yup.

Where do you see Montreal going from here?

I expect to see a continued focus on neighbourhoods, with a discussion on how to help downtown recover.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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