IN THE LEDGE – Tributes to ‘respectful and fair’ NL stalwart Angelo Iacobucci

Comments by Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Langley East MLA Rich Coleman in the B.C. Legislature today, Feb. 21, 2019.

T. Stone: Recently Kamloops lost a well-known news reporter. There aren’t many of us in this House who haven’t, at one time or another, had dealings with Angelo Iacobucci.

For nearly 40 years, he was a stalwart in the Radio NL newsroom. Angelo’s desire to learn and report the news was exemplified by the fact that after doing a practicum at NL in the summer of 1979, he literally refused to leave. They didn’t have a job for him, so he worked for two months for free. When that rare opening in the NL newsroom came, NL was quick to hire the kid from East Van who would not take no for an answer.

Angelo was larger than life. He was big and brash, sometimes awkward. But a sure sign of acceptance was a nickname. Those of us who answered probing and often unconventional questions from Angelo, we all had a nickname that only he would call us. Angelo was widely respected, and he knew it, and he earned it. He was, after all, a self-proclaimed legend.

But for all of his tough questions, Angelo was also respectful and fair. He was honest, and his commitment to keep his word was golden. “Off the record” was never a risk with Angelo.

I’d often receive a text from him that simply said: “Hello, Stoner.” Then another text would come in half an hour later that would say: “Are you there?” That would be followed by another text that would say: “Are you alive, Stoner?” All of this would happen in the span of a couple of hours.

So I’d call him back, when I finally could, and I’d say: “Angelo, what’s the emergency?” His reply: “Oh, nothing. I’m just checking in to see what’s up.” He had more cell numbers of Premiers, cabinet ministers, MLAs and others that he interviewed than anyone else, and we all called him back.

A celebration of life service for Angelo was held on February 2, and it was a testament to the man. Hundreds of friends, family, politicians and colleagues gathered for tears and tributes for a man who was so greatly respected.

Angelo was also dedicated to the city he would not leave. He was beyond proud of his community, and that community will be forever proud of him….

R. Coleman: …. Then there was Angelo, who the member for Kamloops–South Thompson just talked about. Angelo and I became friends in the 1990s. Just because we happened to bump into each other when I was in Kamloops, we sort of hit it off. That was the first reporter that I ever gave my personal cell phone to. I can’t say he never abused it, but he certainly was topical.

As the member from Kamloops just a few minutes ago talked about,Booch, as we called him, had a nickname for every single person. Mine was a lot nicer, and so was the member from Kamloops’s, than some of the nicknames he had for everybody in the newsroom, everybody on council and everybody else. Mine was Richie or Richie Rich.

He used to answer the phone all the time when he recognized a number. He’d say: “Mr. Premier.” Well, we found out, of course, because a number of us were there, and I’ve talked to some colleagues from both sides of the House, that he would call pretty much every House Leader, every Leader of the Opposition, every cabinet minister and members of the opposition who weren’t in a position on either side “Mr. Premier.” At the memorial, one guy stood up and said: “We never figured out who Mr. Premier was. That’s because just about everybody was.”

But, you know, the remarkable thing about him was this. He was a person that literally understood the game, understood integrity, understood tough questions, understood that he had to take you on sometimes and, at other times, he had to not take you on. As the member from Kamloops said, it also was that if Angelo said it was off the record, it was off the record. That’s a trust you build in this business to the legends of the media, because people that do that are special.

The reason I talk about that is because this will be about…. Well, it would be after at least 20 years where I used to talk to him after every throne speech and after every budget day. When the budget was being read the other day, I thought: “Jeez, should I bother phoning NL?” After all, Angelo is not there, and that’s who was going to take my call, because we were such friends. He had a lot of humanity, professionalism, class and was fact-based.

Source: BC Hansard transcript.

About Mel Rothenburger (7763 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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