Saskatchewan

Tom Roberts signs off hosting duties for CBC La Ronge

"It's been a blast," CBC host Tom Roberts said Friday as he signed off for the last time prior to his retirement.

"It's been a blast," CBC host Tom Roberts said Friday as he signed off for the last time prior to his retirement.

Roberts, the longtime host of the program Keewatin Country from CBC studios in La Ronge, was celebrated by audience members and colleagues for his affable on-air manner and generous spirit.

He has been associated with the program for most of his professional career, the majority of which was spent as an announcer and host for CBC radio.

"Twenty-seven years," Roberts noted Friday. "And when I started here it was scary getting into CBC. As the years rolled by, it got easier and easier."

"I used to sit in studio about 20 minutes before air time and I'd be shaking and trembling," he said.

In later years he said he felt comfortable walking into the studio with only seconds to go before being on air.

"I've learned a lot from CBC. I've met a lot of people. I've traveled to places. There's no other better place [than CBC]," Roberts added.

As the Friday noon-hour broadcast came to a close, Roberts' voice rose with emotion and he thanked his on-air colleagues for traveling to La Ronge to be there in person for his final broadcast.

The program ended with more congratulatory greetings from audience members who phoned in to add their goodbyes to a familiar voice.

A new host for the program has not been announced.

"Nobody can ever replace Tom Roberts," Jill Spelliscy, the managing director for CBC Saskatchewan, said Friday. "But he is graciously passing the torch."

She added that northern audiences will hear the CBC radio noon hour program Blue Sky for the time being.