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After 6 years at helm of CBC’s London Morning, Rebecca Zandbergen signs off | CBC News


After six years as the host of the city’s London Morning radio program, Rebecca Zandbergen is signing off and moving to Ottawa to be closer to family. 

Zandbergen moved to London in the summer of 2017, when CBC London launched. She came to the city from Kelowna, where she hosted the afternoon radio program. She was hired for her curiosity and compassion, said Bernard Graham, the executive producer of the station when Zandbergen was hired. 

“What really stood out about Rebecca when searching for a host was her energy. She passes along that energy to her listeners every morning, and that’s no easy feat at 6 a.m.” 

Zandbergen has a keen eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to the truth, and has talked Londoners through numerous significant events in the the city in the last six years, including the Afzaal family tragedy, the house explosion in the Old East Village and the pandemic. 

The London Morning radio program runs from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on weekdays, but Zandbergen’s hosting duties extend well beyond those hours, and include writing news stories, human interest pieces, and speaking to people in the community. Zandbergen has felt a keen sense of responsibility to tell the stories of Londoners from all walks of life. 

One of her proudest moments actually involved stepping away from the microphone and allowing Frances Elizabeth Moore, of Timiskaming First Nation, take the reins of the show in 2021 for National Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Moore selected and interviewed all of Monday’s guests and assembled an all-local Indigenous playlist. She called the two-and-half-hour show, a ‘love letter to her community.’

During her tenure as host, London had three mayors, and Zandbergen interviewed all three many times. 

“There was a great deal of excitement in the air when CBC London launched,” said former mayor Matt Brown. “Rebecca always asked the hard questions, whether about Dundas Place or bus rapid transit, the Syrian refugee crisis and the role London was playing. When you were on her show, you knew you had to be on your toes.” 

Ed Holder became mayor in 2018. “One thing you always know about Rebecca is she comes exceptionally well prepared. She was a pitbull. She was exceptionally firm.” 

Current mayor Josh Morgan echoed those sentiments: “Sometimes she would let loose a rapid-fire set of questions and I value that because I like to be genuine and from the heart, and when you have questions coming at you, you can only be authentic. She’s very good at getting the information out that needs to be out for listeners to be well informed and have a sense of what is going on and what our leaders think about the issues.”

Zandbergen was known in the newsroom for her energy, enthusiasm, and strong work ethic. She interviewed people who were incarcerated and speaking out about conditions London’s provincial jail, and the parents of young people lost to the opioid crisis.

She also wrote countless human interest stories about quirky people in the community — a 93-year-old runner who smashes records, an arm wrestling club that meets in a barn on the outskirts of the city, and 90-year-old twins celebrating their birthdays. 

One memorable interview included an on-air interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during which Zandbergen realized she was in labour with twins. After completing the interview, she went and gave birth. 

“After the interview, she continued to host the show for another 15 minutes to ensure that Londoners got on their way for the day,” said Amanda Margison, CBC London’s executive producer. 

“Rebecca has always prioritized Londoners, finding ways to make sure they’re voices are heard loud and clear. She’s guided all of us through many big moments on air. She’s also happens to be an incredible colleague. We’re going to be telling Zandbergen stories for many years to come!”

During her time in London, Zandbergen won two national awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. One was for best live news special for the program Learning from London: What will you do to end Islamophobia, which was broadcast in the days following the murder of the Afzaal family. The second award was in the opinion category for the show produced with Frances Moore. 


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