May 8, 2016

INTERVIEW BY CHRISTIANE BEYA (RSJ ’18)
cbeya@ryerson.ca

Ryerson School of Journalism alumni Kathleen Goldhar is executive producer of CBC Radio’s The Current. Goldhar, who began her journalism career at The Whitehorse Daily Star and Vancouver Sun, and joined the CBC as reporter and associate producer Winnipeg in 1999. 

Have you always known that you wanted to be a producer?
No, not at all. I thought I was going to get into print. I grew up with a dad who was a print journalist … and he used to work at the Toronto Star. That’s what I thought I wanted to do. My first few jobs were in print and I did a couple of internships when I was at Ryerson in print. The only reason that I got into radio was because eventually I moved to Winnipeg with my husband at the time. He got a job at a local newspaper, and I had a friend who worked at the CBC who helped get me a job as a casual reporter there.

Since you have a history in print what would you say you enjoy most, print or radio?
Radio, 100 per cent. I love telling stories on radio. I love how intimate radio is. I love how it’s so personal and so straight to your heart. Working at The Current I’ve been able to tell in depth and big stories on radio. I just like the way that you’re able to bring so much humanity into radio.

What was it like being part of the team that started The Current?
It was a whole bunch of things, it was very exciting. It felt big and important because we came out of a real need to be able to respond to breaking news. We were sort of borne out of 9/11. The CBC didn’t respond quick enough and coming out of that, the bosses realized that we needed a mechanism that could respond to those kind of stories. We were a really young crew and a lot of people were new to radio or new to journalism. There was only a few of us who actually came from CBC. A lot of people were hired from outside so it was really exciting that way. We had all this energy and all this excitement. We thought we were given a free range to be sarcastic and edgy and fun.

Is it hard to find new angles for weeks ahead?
We don’t really do much weeks ahead (planning), because we’re pretty responsive to the way the world is moving. The job of a good current affairs program, and what I think The Current does really well, is to open up a story in a way that hasn’t been done in the news. Some days, it’s hard. Some days, it’s easier. It’s all part of the process. We work hard every day and we push ourselves to be the best we can.

Do you have any advice for students who are interested in radio?
Anytime someone asks me for my advice, I say you should leave Toronto and go to a smaller place. Don’t think you have to be in the main city to start your career. My very first job was in Whitehorse in the Yukon and it was amazing because it gave me a chance to get a full-time job. It’s a territorial capital so I got to cover stories that were the same stories that were being covered in Toronto. I got to cover murder cases and really big things that I would never have been able to cover in Toronto because I was just starting out. Canada isn’t just Toronto and Ottawa.

What is your most notable memory at Ryerson?
One time, Kirk Makin, who was at the time the justice reporter at The Globe and Mail, came to talk to us. He talked about how he wasn’t really that good a student but he ended up doing well in journalism. It came down to how he loved being a journalist. He loved his job and when he actually got out and started working, he did really well. That really inspired me. I never really loved going to school but I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that journalism was where I wanted to be. I just thought that I was going to get through this and this is just about getting me to the profession that I want to get into.

Grads at Work is an occasional series of profiles of RSJ alums. If you know of a notable grad you’d like to see featured, send us an email at office.journalism@ryerson.ca.

Kathleen Goldhar

Kathleen Goldhar
Executive producer of CBC Radio's The Current
Class of 1996