Thunder Bay

CBC Thunder Bay's Lisa Laco signing off after more than two decades on the air

After more than two decades hosting CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning, Lisa Laco is signing off.

Laco announces retirement date of Dec. 31, 2020

Lisa Laco, who's hosted CBC Thunder Bay's morning show for more than two decades, announced her retirement on Monday. Her last day will be Dec. 31, 2020.

After more than two decades hosting CBC Thunder Bay's morning show, Lisa Laco is signing off.

Laco announced her retirement on Monday's episode of Superior Morning; her last day with the CBC will be Dec. 31, 2020.

"It's been a tough decision," Laco said. "As we all know, I have loved this job, but it's timely. It's time to move on."

Laco joined CBC Thunder Bay in 1992 as producer of the morning show. It wasn't expected to turn into such a long-term position.

"I was living in Newfoundland then, and it was time to begin my career moving up in CBC," she said. "I was working at the morning show in St. John's, and this position came open."

"I thought, 'okay, two years, let's go do this,'" Laco said. "I knew not one person in the city. It was a little terrifying, but look what's happened."

While she did have a chance to move on and continue her career with CBC, Laco instead chose to remain in Thunder Bay.

"I met Brad Laco," she said. "I stayed here, got married."

"My son Andrew joined the family, so, it's been an absolutely amazing experience."

CBC Thunder Bay executive producer Michael Dick (left) and Superior Morning host Lisa Laco (right) on air during a Sounds of the Season broadcast. (Ron Desmoulins / CBC)

And staying in Thunder Bay opened up a new opportunity, as well: hosting Superior Morning (then known as The Great Northwest).

"There was a lot of turnaround at the CBC at the time," Laco said. "The host at the time, Gerald Graham, was taking some time to go to Spain, and we needed somebody to sit in the chair."

"So, okay, I'll do that, it'll only be for a year."

But when Graham returned, he wasn't keen on returning to those early-morning shifts. He became host of the afternoon show.

Meanwhile, Laco's hosting duties didn't end after that year. When she retires at the end of 2020, Laco will have hosted CBC Thunder Bay's morning show for 23 years.

"It's the best job in the world," she said. "You get to meet people, you get to help people start their day, you have wonderful conversations."

Richard Wagamese (centre) and Jane Urquhart (left) listen to Superior Morning host Lisa Laco during a Canada Reads event in Thunder Bay.

"You survive that shift, but you also thrive on that shift."

The ability to ask people questions was what drew Laco to journalism in the first place.

"I'm nosy," she said. "I want to know what's happening, and that part, I've always been like that."

"I remember watching the Watergate hearings coming home from school," Laco said. "My dad and I, it was a game every time there was an election, we would stay up and watch everything. So I think that's where it came from, and I've been lucky enough to carry that forward."

And one of the keys to her success, Laco said, is the ability to listen.

"People have stories to tell," she said. "Give them an opportunity to share those stories."

"There are wonderful people in the city, wonderful people in the region," Laco said. "Right now, it's a critical time for Thunder Bay moving forward, and I've been so glad to be able to help document that along the way."

As for the future, Laco has a few plans.

"I have a roomful of knitting, and my book pile is getting higher and higher," she said. "I'll take my time over the winter, I think, and try and figure out what happens next."

"Although I've thought about retirement, I haven't thought about what that looks like. So, we'll see."

When Lisa Laco took over the job of morning show producer at CBC Thunder Bay in July 1992, she was just going to stay for a few years. Instead, she found herself at the helm of the morning show. Now she's moving onto the next chapter and reflecting on her years in the host's chair. 7:57