Just a thought… The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning. [Ivy Baker Priest]
Today marks the beginning of a month, but also the end of a longtime relationship between morning TV viewers and their favourite host. I’d like to tell you a little bit about my experience with Kevin Frankish, who today is doing his last Breakfast Television show with Dina, Frank, Winston and the morning show family at City in Toronto.
Over the 30+ years I’ve spent in radio (and some television) I’ve met and worked with a lot of people from the TV side of the media business. As in any form of “show biz,” including radio, there are egos galore and plenty of people who are not at all how they present themselves when the red light is on.
Kevin Frankish is the real deal.
His professionalism is only surpassed by his compassion. He has an innate sense of what makes good television, witnessed daily on City, but really put in the bright spotlight when he hosts the Easter Seals Telethon annually for CBC. Since the passing of Royal Canadian Air Farce host Roger Abbott and the retirement from the fundraiser of castmate Don Ferguson, the show was in need of someone who embodied the goodness, the drive, the energy and integrity of Easter Seals.
I was always delighted to work with Kevin in any capacity, but was in true awe of his abilities to spark excitement, get phones ringing and build a real sense of teamwork among everyone on the crowded telethon set. His enthusiasm is real; his love for what he does is palpable.
Kevin is as honest as he is entertaining and shared openly his bouts with depression and anxiety. More than anyone I know, he has worked to remove the stigma of mental health issues and that transparency is further proof of his selflessness and interest in the greater good.
But in being that open, Kevin did something else that is rare these days: he invited viewers into his life. He let them know that television does not have to be a one-way medium. He made people feel they were as important to him as he is to them.
Today will undoubtedly feel like a family is splitting up. My heart goes out to Kevin as well as to the rest of the Breakfast Television crew, especially Dina, for whom I also have the utmost love and respect as a performer and a human. Finding a dance partner is easy. Finding one you love and respect and play off like a sister/brother act is nearly impossible. I wish her luck in finding that next great partner.
City assures viewers that Kevin will be working on a documentary series on the network to air in prime time. He’s a marvelous storyteller and has a genuinely curious mind and adventurous heart. Kevin’s Twitter account describes him as “A 54-year-old man about to reinvent himself” and I can’t wait to see how he does that.
Someone whose birthday is March 4th can’t help but take big steps forward into the future, and with his sweetheart, wife Beth by his side, I’m sure the adjustment to sleeping in, not travelling the 400 at all hours between Barrie and Toronto, and easing into a more gentle lifestyle will be as rewarding as the last nearly 40 years in media.
In an exchange on Wednesday, I offered them a place to stay if they want to explore Canada’s west. I hope they’ll take us up on it. And I’ll share with him the joys of reWirement: finding peace and fulfillment and new challenges in ways they cannot even picture right now.
I love the quote that opens today’s journal. Here’s to new beginnings, Kevin – good luck and bon voyage, my friend.