David Common will be the new host of CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.
The veteran journalist, who has guest hosted the top-rated morning show in Toronto on many occasions, is set to start in the host chair on Oct. 16.
Common has worked as a host with CBC’s award-winning consumer watchdog show Marketplace while also serving as a foreign correspondent for CBC News, most recently embedding with a Canadian naval ship to get this story on tensions in the South China Sea. And yes, he has woken up early before: Common was the host of CBC Radio’s World Report.
“It’s so exciting to go from a global adventure to a local one, with the opportunity to meet and hear from people in all corners of this giant city about your lives, families and struggles,” Common told CBC Toronto ahead of his start.
“So much of the world exists in Toronto that you’re never short of the opportunity to feed your curiosity — or your tummy.”
Speaking of, Common joked there are still croissant crumbs on the studio floor from the last time he hosted a segment with food columnist Suresh Doss. The Etobicoke resident also swears by a dim sum spot on Dixie Road, won’t turn up his nose at raisins in butter tarts (an ongoing Metro Morning debate) and somehow, despite the dark and early starts, claims to not drink coffee.
Fun aside, Common said he wants the show to focus on the biggest issues facing Torontonians today, from the daily cost of living to the turmoil of transportation to the soaring price of rent.
“We want to help people navigate the challenges of our daily lives and be better informed to help our families thrive,” he said.
“And we are here to hold governments and others in power to account. It is imperative we do our jobs to ensure others are indeed serving the public and not the other way around.”
Prasanna Rajagopalan, CBC Toronto’s Director of Journalism and Programming, welcomed Common to the team.
“David brings a natural curiosity, quick wit, and a wealth of journalistic chops to our flagship morning program. Those traits will serve him well as he explores the daily workings of life in the GTA,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
From Star paperboy to foreign correspondent
Common was born in Winnipeg but moved to Toronto at age four, first living with his mom in an apartment in St. James Town. His first media gig: delivering the Toronto Star newspaper.
From there, his family moved around the city, and it was the city’s schools that made an impression on Common.
At Jesse Ketchum Public School, Common learned just how diverse the city was, with newcomer families from all backgrounds sending their kids there to study. Later, at Jarvis Collegiate, Common watched an air ambulance land on the school’s football field to take patients to a nearby hospital. He pinned his hopes on becoming a flight nurse until Grade 13, when a broadcaster (someone named Peter Mansbridge) came to talk to the class.
“A light bulb went off and I changed my path to pursue journalism,” he said.
Common would eventually go on to work with Mansbridge after studying at York University and Seneca College, which included an exchange trip to Sweden that he said inspired his love of travel.
While reporting from more than 90 different countries, Common has always called Toronto home.
“In global adventures, I have been exposed to amazing food and stunning culture, and then I come home to Toronto, and I can see it all over again — because we have it. There is nothing you can’t do or see or experience in Toronto,” he said.
Common and his wife have two teenage daughters and a dog, Shadow.
“[Shadow] thinks I’m the best human ever. She’s the only one who thinks that,” he said.
Those who have listened to the show for a few years are likely as familiar with Common’s humour as they are his news instincts.
At one recent Sounds of the Season event he hopped onto the Glenn Gould Studio stage to gift former host Matt Galloway a stapler — from Galloway’s own desk.
Asked if he’d learned anything from the long-time host, Common said Galloway has passed on plenty of tips over the years.
Chief among them, Common said, that it’s the “glue moments” — what’s said in between the interviews — that brings the show together and gives it its deep connection with the community.
Common said he’s looking forward to those moments in the weeks to come.