"You start with a smile": Sean Henry replaces Mike Finnerty as host of CBC Radio's Daybreak

"I wanted the chance to connect with Montrealers in a different way, at a different time of day. Mornings are an opportunity to start fresh."

Sean Henry is the new host of CBC Radio Montreal morning show Daybreak.

Sean Henry didn’t hesitate a second when asked what his approach will be to his new job as host of CBC Radio One’s Montreal morning show Daybreak.

“I will start the morning with a smile, that’s clear, and that’s where I always like to begin things,” said Henry, in a phone interview Friday. “You start with a smile. Then I’ll open the floor a little bit. I’ll have a bit of a round table with the people I’m working with. And if people are already starting to comment or text or reach out, that’s when they come into the conversation. What I want to do is bring in as many people as possible as quickly as possible, at the beginning of the show.”

Henry, a seasoned CBC TV and radio reporter and host, is set to replace Mike Finnerty as host of Daybreak in January. Finnerty’s last day as host was Friday. After 13 years, during which he twice left the job to live in London, he is heading back to England again to work in a cheese shop.

Henry was most recently anchoring the 11 p.m. local CBC TV newscast, replacing Nancy Wood, who moved over to take a leadership role at CBC Montreal’s digital desk. Prior to that, he was anchoring the newscasts on the weekend. He’d had that gig since 2014.

He came to the CBC Montreal newsroom in 2012 after seven years at CBC in Windsor, where he had anchored both TV and radio shows, worked as a court reporter and as a video journalist. Before heading to Windsor, Henry — who grew up in LaSalle — reported from Quebec City for Global Quebec.

Henry says Daybreak is all about connecting to people on the most local level possible.

“I think it’s local, I think it’s really neighbourhood,” said Henry. “(Friday) morning they were talking (on Daybreak) about what’s changed over the last 10 years and one of the things I think has changed over the last 10 years in Montreal is that neighbourhood pride has increased. I live in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and it’s had its bumps in the road but at the same time, there’s been a lot of effort in the last few years to make sure we have everything we need in our neighbourhood, so we don’t have to go downtown. The focus has shifted from downtown to the neighbourhoods. For example, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve you can go to a concert in an alley in the summer or the street is closed for a circus party. Like the jazz festival in Verdun. I think we have to seek out these different situations in the different neighbourhoods and talk to the people who’re making it happen. And also see what people in the different neighbourhoods are talking about.”

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