Robert J. Ballantyne
It’s been an interesting few months for CBC Winnipeg News at Six anchor Janet Stewart.
Stewart, 39, the popular former anchor at CTV Winnipeg, shocked many by announcing that she would be leaving to the CBC. On Nov. 10, 2006, she made the announcement on air at CTV, and that she would be leaving CTV effective immediately.
“I didn’t know it was to be my last day there until I arrived at 11 a.m.,” Stewart tells Popjournalism. “Too many rumours of my impending departure had surfaced — my bosses already knew I was leaving — so our plans of me staying on until the end of November went by the wayside.”
So what motivated her to leave her comfortable, top-rated post, for the lowest-rated newscast in the city?
“I needed a change, I needed room to grow,” she says. “I felt like a talking head at CTV. I was there for five and a half years. I was doing two hours a day of live television and a couple of reports a month, but I wanted more variety.
“I’ve worked 10 years at CTV, two years at Global, and of course, I always wanted to know what it was like at the CBC. Now I don’t have to wonder what if.”
Stewart says that at the CBC, there are more opportunities to work in the field, to produce stories and to contribute to radio.
“The easy thing to do would be to stay with the number one station,” she says. “I’m still learning how things work here: like computer programs, how to write in those programs — and where the bathroom is. I’ve figured that last one out already. But I’m going home at night really excited. I come in one hour early and leave one hour late.”
But Stewart is keen to point out that her split with CTV Winnipeg was more than amicable.
“Everyone was quite lovely to me,” she says of CTV. “I could’ve stayed there for another ten years, but I didn’t want to be stuck doing the same thing. It was time for change.”
CBC Winnipeg’s Janet Stewart first day on the air is Monday, Jan. 8. The program begins an hour-long edition on Monday, Feb. 19. CBC Winnipeg is available outside the region on many time-shifting packages.