An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE to allow Jim Harrison’s departure from Radio NL to go unacknowledged.
Harrison stepped down from his job as news director awhile back but had carried on with his Jim Harrison Show and daily editorials.
‘Harry,’ as he’s known to co-workers, worked his last day at the station yesterday, Jan. 10, 2019. True to form, he didn’t waste his final editorial on thank-you’s and sappy reminiscences. Why squander a minute and a half on that when you can use the air time to blast the carbon tax?
He was part of a team that made CHNL a popular morning source for news, opinion and chit-chat. Harrison, Bob Price, Rick Wile, Peter Olsen and Angelo Iacobucci are now all gone from NL — Angelo, of course, having died in December.
Harrison’s editorials could always be counted on to create interest. He even graced the ArmchairMayor.ca’s opinion section for about a year and unfailingly attracted a lot of comments, for and against.
He was at his best dissecting City council decisions, though of late he tended to concentrate more on events at the provincial and national levels, blasting away at Justin Trudeau and the failure to get the pipeline built.
Harrison’s opinions had a decidedly rightwing bent and I often shook my head at some of the stuff he wrote but that’s what editorials are for — to challenge our thinking.
He once told me he was comfortable in front of a microphone as long as it was in his office at NL; live crowds were a different story. That’s a clue to the fact he’s a modest man in spite of a career of notoriety, driven not by ego but by his commitment to the community and the fun of being a radio journalist.
And that’s as sappy as this editorial is going to get.
In 2007, Jim Harrison was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award, an honour he and I share. It’s hard to believe he started his news director’s gig with NL way back in 1975, and that he delivered those editorials five days a week since then.
Time flies when you’re having a good time. Best wishes, Harry.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.