One of a kind Sarnia broadcaster signs off (GALLERY)
A legendary Sarnia broadcaster read her final newscast on CHOK Friday morning.
After more than 40 years reporting local news, weather and sports, Lee Michaels has retired.
The soon-to-be 64-year-old joined Sue Storr on Wednesday’s CHOK talk show.
Michaels said it’s been tough saying goodbye.
“I thought, I’ll know when the time comes. I beat cancer 10 years ago and I had another cancer scare this spring, which turned out to be benign. But I kind of made a promise to myself and to God and to everybody that if it turned out to be nothing, I was going to retire and try to do a little bit more good in the community that’s been so good to me,” said Michaels. “I adore my job, I love the people I work with, I love the community, and I love what I do. Every day when I came in, I was happy. But I just can’t get up at 3 a.m. anymore.”
Michaels said it was never her plan to get into broadcasting, despite her love for radio.
She said things changed after graduating from Western University and returning to London from a year-long backpacking trip across Europe.
“I came back and a friend of mine from CFPL, Pete James, said ‘Well you know, you can write really well,’ and I had an English minor, ‘Why don’t you consider broadcast journalism?’ So I went to Fanshawe College and the head of the course then was Warren Michaels, and he told me ‘Well you might as well quit right now because you don’t have a voice for radio.’ Hahaha Warren,” laughed Michaels.
“For years I was told ‘you’re too folksy, you’ve got to be more like Walter Cronkite,’ you know all staid and proper and that. But Andy Oudman said, ‘You’ve got to write like people talk and you have to relate to them.’ He taught me the love of writing the news the way people want to listen to it,” said Michaels. “And then Larry Gordon. He was my first boss and my only boss. Top-shelf all the way. He taught me the work ethic needed for this industry. He was the best boss ever.”
Michaels plans to do some travelling but will retire in Sarnia, adding she’ll have plenty of time to meet up for a beer.
To listen to the entirety of Wednesday’s talk show, click the audio link below.