My good friend and colleague, Shelagh Rogers, knew what she was doing when she called her radio show The Next Chapter. Sure, it’s about books so the title is descriptive. But it represents more than that. This is the show Shelagh created after she made the decision to stop working full time for the CBC. The show lets her stay connected with the world of radio and books. But, by not working full time, Shelagh was free to pursue some of her other passions: helping build a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, adult literacy, mental health and education. It’s what allows her the time to be Chancellor of the University of Victoria. She has more time for her husband, family and friends, from her home on Gabriola to Newfoundland.
Shelagh’s decision to begin the next chapter of her life was not made easily. Walking away from being the host of a well-loved national radio show takes guts. She did what was right for her even when it meant an uncertain future. I admire her courage and am inspired by her success since leaving Sounds Like Canada. Shelagh is an example of many women I know who are entering The Next Chapter of their lives. I thank them for blazing the trail as I am about to make a major change in my own life.
I have taken early retirement from the job I have done for the last 20 years as host of a CBC radio show – 10 years as a morning show host in Moncton, NB and 10 years as an afternoon show host here with All Points West. When you get down to it, it’s the job I’ve had for the last 34 years. I took my first job as a reporter in 1978, fresh out of school with my degree in journalism. After five years as a reporter, I spent 12 years working part-time while our four children were young.
As much as I’ve tried not to be defined by my job, it’s hard not to be when, to do your job well, you have to share some of who you are with your audience every day. I will miss being a CBC radio host. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am passionate about CBC and its role in shaping and connecting our country. I will miss the great people I’ve met, the stories they’ve shared, and the terrific young people I work with. But, in my heart I know the time is right for me to give up the daily commitment of curious and politically neutral work and be able to have, not just thoughts, but opinions. I am also ready to have more say over how I spend my time.
I am moving on to something else. I just don’t know yet what it is and that is exhilarating and scary! But, I am grateful for those women who have gone before me and thrived. You have given me the confidence to say that I am not retiring, I am simply starting The Next Chapter.
Jo-Ann Roberts is an award-winning, veteran journalist who recently retired as host of CBC Radio’s All Points West.