Andy Barrie CBC

Andy Barrie to Retire From Metro Morning

Andy Barrie told listeners this morning that he'll be retiring as host of CBC's Metro Morning in a month's time. This will come as sad news for many early morning commuters who appreciated his quick wit, interesting digressions and obvious journalistic integrity. He was an excellent interviewer, never letting his subjects off the hook when they tried to evade his questions.

Today's announcement is not a total surprise. In June of 2007, the affable host revealed that he was battling Parkinson's Disease. Upon delivering the bad news, he indicated that he intended to remain at the helm of Metro Morning for three more years.

Although he took an extended leave to care for his wife at the beginning of 2009 (she succumbed to cancer last February), Barrie was back on the air in early March.

In recent months, however, Matt Galloway -- host of the afternoon show, Here and Now -- had been making more frequent appearances during the morning commute.

Barrie started at Metro Morning in 1995 and accrued a loyal following in making it one of Toronto's most successful radio programs.

He will be missed.

Below is a copy of Barrie's farewell message:

I'm heading back into the world of a full night's sleep. On Monday, March the first, I will be vacating, relinquishing, abdicating the host's chair at Metro Morning.

Let me explain. This past fall Metro Morning went to its new start-time of 5:30, fifteen minutes earlier than it had been. Might seem like a small thing, but if you know anything about the circadian rhythms that guide our sleep, this was a big deal. And Daylight Saving time had just ended, making it kind of a double whammy. And there's my Parkinson's Disease, so make that whammy a triple!

All I know was that (my) body was getting a very loud wakeup call of its own, and the call said: "Fifteen years is more than anybody's held this job. A guy's got just so much stamina. You have been there and done that, and it's time to do something new."

If we go back to my student radio days hosting something called The Suppertime Show in university, I've been doing daily radio now for forty-five of my sixty-five years. Forty-five years of me doing the talking and you doing the listening. Well, it's that part of the conversation where it's time to say, well, enough about me.

When I joined the CBC 15 years ago, I told my wife, Mary, I felt like an immigrant all over again.

The day I pushed the mic button and introduced myself as the new host of Metro Morning it truly felt like I was taking the Oath of Citizenship a second time. On Monday March first, someone else is going to have that thrill, too, that someone named..... To Be Announced.

Until then, our producers here have very kindly allowed me some on-air time to study up on starting new, with some well-known Canadians who have re-tooled rather than re-tired. As far as CBC is concerned, the adoption papers were signed long ago. I'm family. So I'll be here at the Broadcasting Centre trying to do less talking and more listening, sticking my nose into all kinds of interesting projects, and turning my ears to Metro Morning from the comfort of home.

Again, this is, for me, good news! This is my idea. Once I convinced Denise Donlon, CBC Radio's executive director, that this is what I'm really ready for, we could start talking about the future: Metro Morning's and mine.

But listen, hey..... I'll be at the mic for another month. My alarm clock will continue to wake me up so I can wake you up until, come March, someone new wakes us both up.

Photo by photojunkie on Flickr.

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