Nova Scotia

Louise Renault bids adieu to Information Morning after 11 years

Her calm, warm voice has guided people through their mornings on CBC Radio One's Daybreak and Information Morning. After spending more than a decade getting up at 3:50 a.m., Louise Renault has decided it's time for a change.

Renault's last day on-air will be at the end of June

Louise in the Information Morning studio earlier this week. (Portia Clark/CBC)

For 11 years, Louise Renault's voice has been in the ear of Nova Scotians every weekday morning to help them make good decisions as they start their day. 

Whether it's a reminder to turn on the headlights because it's foggy or to go back to bed because school is cancelled, Renault has been there for CBC listeners. 

Her calm, warm voice has guided people through their mornings as host of CBC Radio One's Daybreak and co-host of Information Morning for mainland Nova Scotia. Now after spending more than a decade getting up at 3:50 a.m., she has decided to step away from the show. 

Renault said the pandemic forced her to examine what she wants in life. 

"I've been doing a lot of reflecting, a lot of thinking and I'm not getting any younger and I realize after 11 years it's time for a change," said Renault. 

"This is my decision, it took me a long time... It would have been easy if I didn't like what I do. I really love what I do, and I love my colleagues."

Originally from Shediac, N.B., Renault started her career in public broadcasting after working as an assistant director in the film industry. Her first job was with Radio-Canada in 1998, where she filled in as an associate producer. 

That led to stints as a cultural affairs reporter, co-host, and technician. She later returned to the CBC airwaves in the recurring role of Renee Leblanc in the award-winning CBC Radio One drama Backbenchers.

In 2010, Renault was hired to co-host Information Morning with Don Connolly.   

"I thought I landed the jackpot, I was so thrilled to work on the show," said Renault. 

Don Connolly hosting his last Feed Nova Scotia Day show on Dec. 15, 2017, with Louise Renault. (Rob Short/CBC)

But she was also anxious about working across from Connolly, who had spent 30 years on air at that point. 

"I was scared, just nervous, and hoped I would do justice to the show," she said. 

"Listening to and watching Don do interviews, you know it's like sitting with a master. And just learning by absorption."

She was warmly welcomed aboard by both Connolly and the show's crew. In 2018, host Portia Clark took over from Connolly and joined Renault in the studio. 

"There's a real sense of family and respect," Renault said. "It really is my other family." 

Portia Clark and Louise Renault celebrate CBC Feed Nova Scotia Day in 2018 with a live taping of Information Morning for mainland Nova Scotia. (Robert Short/CBC)

Renault said she has been inspired by so many of the show's guests over the years. 

In early 2020, Information Morning featured a series of CBC stories on domestic violence. After hearing others share their stories, Renault felt she had to speak out too. 

"I ended up telling the story about my sister who was murdered by her ex-partner to Portia on the air, because I felt that we were covering the story so deeply, how could I not say anything?" 

Listeners responded to Renault's story immediately. 

People touched by domestic violence wrote "very beautiful and precious feedback and thanked me for sharing my story and that it helped them. That was pretty amazing."   

Renault is also proud of her role in leading CBC Nova Scotia's Do Crew, a team of Information Morning listeners volunteering their time for community organizations. 

The Do Crew in November 2020, after raking leaves at Halifax's Old Burying Ground and burying Louise, front and centre, in leaves. (Submitted)

The Do Crew has helped hang drywall with Habitat for Humanity, built benches on McNabs Island, and helped other charity groups with chores like cleaning.   

"To get people to come and help and then to shine a light on some organizations that needed some help, I think it changed lives," she said. 

"There are people who go back and volunteer for those organizations completely on their own."   

Renault's last day on air will be at the end of June.

"I feel a lot of gratitude for my relationship with our audience and Portia, and with all of our colleagues, so let's just enjoy each other's company for the next three months."     

Renault may return from time to time as a fill-in host, and may also do some voice work or writing in future. 

But she said no matter what she does, it won't involve any alarm clocks going off at 3:50 a.m.

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