Saskatchewan radio talk-show host stepping away from the microphone

SASKATOON — A longtime radio host in Saskatchewan is stepping away from the microphone.

John Gormley announced that his last day on air will be Nov. 24.

“I’ve been blessed beyond words and honoured to have had the opportunity to host this radio show for 25 years,” Gormley said Wednesday during his show.

Gormley's talk radio show has aired for 25 years. It has featured prime ministers, premiers and celebrities. Gormley described it as "coffee row for Saskatchewan," where people gather to discuss local and global issues.

His hosting has garnered praise and criticism, but the show remained popular throughout the province. During Gormley's tenure, he never shied away from polarizing subjects.

Authenticity, Gormley said, is important for anyone looking to build their career in radio or otherwise.

"If you are always authentic in terms of your principles, in terms of your belief, people may not agree with you. In fact, sometimes they may disagree so strongly they dislike you, but nobody will say you are a phoney and that you are not real," Gormley said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Gormley started his career in radio as a teenager and said he has always been captivated by the ability to paint pictures with words.

He left the industry and was elected as the Progressive Conservative member of Parliament for the Battlefords-Meadow Lake riding in 1984 for one term. He subsequently became a lawyer.

However, radio came calling again and Gormley returned to Saskatchewan in 1998 to host "The Gormley Show" on Rawlco Radio's two talk radio stations.

“My commitment from the beginning was to be a part of a Saskatchewan identity discussion that said, 'we do punch above our weight,'" Gormley said.

"We are bigger and better than even some of us think we are and it’s time that we started regarding the glass as half full.”

In the decades since, Gormley's booming voice has been broadcast across the province daily. He discussed city council, provincial politics and global events with his listeners.

Gormley recalled getting behind the microphone not long after the Sept. 11 attacks happened in New York City. The station had live coverage of the world-changing event for four days.

He also looked back on conversations with people in Humboldt, Sask., over their collective grief when 16 people died and 13 were injured after a transport truck went through a stop sign and into the path of a bus carrying the of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team on April 6, 2018.

There were also celebrations, including the Saskatchewan centennial, he said.

"It has left me very humbled and not many people get an opportunity to have the chance to talk with so many people … to have a front-row seat on life in Saskatchewan," Gormley said.

"I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

Gormley thanked listeners Wednesday and said it was an honour to have shared time with them.

He said he will be practising labour and employment law, and intends to remain active in the community. Gormley said he is looking forward to spend more time with his wife and family.

Gormley said when he first sat behind the microphone, he never expected a career spanning so many decades and important moments in the province.

"I really am one of the most fortunate people to have the chance to do it that long.”

The new host is set to be announced Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2023.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press