When Kathleen Petty left her position in August as host of Ottawa Morning, the city’s top-rated morning radio show, listeners flooded the airwaves with their best wishes and lamented the departure of the tough interviewer with a soft spot for dogs. (In an exit interview with Judy Trinh in Ottawa Magazine, Petty talked fondly of her five years in the capital, but noted that it had taken some time to win over the local crowd.) And then the buzz began. Who would replace Petty at Ottawa Morning? Would the new agenda-setter be from Ottawa or would the CBC cast a wider net? It took two months, but, in October, BBC reporter Robyn Bresnahan was announced as the new host. Bresnahan, who grew up in Calgary, studied journalism at Carleton University and worked at the CBC’s Ottawa offices in 2000-2001 before heading to London, England. Ottawa Magazine caught up with her to find out what the incoming host has planned for the capital. Bresnahan’s first day on-air is Monday, Dec. 5.
Q: How did you hear that the job was up for grabs?
A: I heard from my best friend Rosemary Barton [a reporter with CBC’s Parliamentary Bureau]. She said “You should really apply.” She knew that my husband and I were talking about coming back to Canada at some point. Ottawa was a city we could both agree on — this is where we met! So I threw my name in the hat, never thinking it would go anywhere.
Q: And when did you hear that you had been short-listed?
A: I heard just as we were about to head out for a two-week vacation to Italy. So I’m like, “Great! Let’s do the interview when I get back.” And they were like, “No. The interview will be August 24.” I was freaking out a bit. I ended up doing my interview on the phone while in Tuscany. The interviewers couldn’t see me, but I remember thinking that that was actually kind of perfect because they would only be listening to me — they would know what I was going to sound like on the radio. I had a glass of wine just out of reach on the table for when the interview ended!