Former CTV anchor shares life stories

(Photo by Ian Spence)

On Monday night, Lloyd Robertson, Canada’s longest serving news anchor, came to Waterloo to discuss his new book The Kind of Life it’s Been.  Hosted by Words Worth Books, the event took place at Knox Presbyterian Church where Robertson spoke, answered audience questions and concluded with a book signing where fans could personally speak with him.

Robertson began by discussing his upbringing in Stratford, Ontario. He described his father as a wise man who explained to him at an early age of his mother’s mental illnesses.

“My childhood was spent with my mother who was what would now be called bipolar. She had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, she was paranoid and with, I think, a touch of schizophrenia,” he said.

A dreary home life was what drove him to broadcasting and television, which he described as the world of imagination.

“I knew that out there was a different world that I could inhabit, be a part of and even maybe one day play a prominent role.”

While growing up Robertson soon became aware of his iconic voice and the career path this could potentially lead to.

“When I was in high school I was told about the voice…I then began to think maybe they have something there,” he said. Robertson soon took on his first broadcasting gig that consisted of reading the school announcements.

His stardom rose quickly, starting in Stratford and eventually making his way to Toronto.

However, his career began differently than a broadcasting career would today.

“In those days as a CBC announcer you did everything. You did jazz shows, you did the news, you did the sports sometimes,” Robertson recalled.

He went on to describe to the audience his major broadcasting breakthrough, which came from reading the bulletin for the John F. Kennedy assassination.

“That’s when the world changed. That was a real marker for the television age…suddenly we saw how effective this television instrument could be,” Robertson said.

Robertson described how television became the go-to place for both tragedy and celebration, regarding how the Kennedy assassination and the sheer drama and power of the images marked the beginning of what we know refer to as the television age.

From his interviews and experiences with many prominent Canadians from Lester B. Pearson to Adrienne Clarkson, Robertson had many stories to tell and kept the audience laughing throughout the presentation. Robertson joined CTV in 1976 and was promoted to the position of Chief Anchor and Senior Editor in 1983.

When asked about fellow Stratford resident and star Justin Bieber, Robertson joked, “He’s even competition for a book this year!”

An interactive question and answer period followed the talk and Robertson was asked about how journalism has changed over the years with regard to the Internet. He explained how he believes people still go to their favourite newscasts, newspapers and radio stations for reliable news.

“I think people do care where they get their news and while they may want to participate with Twitter and on the Internet and watch the gossip flow…. I think that when they really want to know what is going on in the world they will go to their reliable sources,” he concluded.

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