Metro Morning: Goodnight, Andy. Good morning, Matt.

Andy Barrie was the voice of CBC Radio Toronto for 15 years. He helped take it to the top. Can his successor, the subdued Matt Galloway, keep it there as a thoughtful refuge on a dial dominated by sports jocks and morning zoos? This week we feature Kristina Gutauskas’ story from the winter issue of The Ryerson Review of Journalism.

With only 10 minutes left in Metro Morning’s live outdoor broadcast, the show’s host has disappeared. At 8:20 a.m., the table where he and his colleagues have been sitting is completely abandoned in Toronto’s Simcoe Park, above which the Canadian Broadcasting Centre looms, and yet Matt Galloway’s voice continues to resonate over large speakers. It’s Bike to Work Day, and he’s stepped away from his chair, taking the discussion to the listeners who have been strolling—and riding—through the park all morning. Galloway, wearing a bright blue T-shirt with a white bicycle symbol, is barely visible amid the 20 people clustered around him.

He asks one of them what she thinks would help drivers, cyclists and pedestrians get along better. “Signaling would be my key thing,” says Erika Steffer, who is perched on her bike, helmet still strapped on. “The number of people that do not signal drives me around the twist.” Galloway enjoys a quick chuckle and casually places his other hand in his pocket. He gets it—he rides his bike to work every morning around four.

But just days earlier, when the CBC Radio One host explored the controversial decision in the Michael Bryant case, it was impossible to presume he was such an avid cyclist. On May 25, 2010, the Crown withdrew all criminal charges against the former Ontario attorney general related to the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard in August 2009. The next day, Galloway sat across the studio’s table from former journalist Susan Reisler, who is now vice president of the public relations company Media Profile, to discuss the aftermath. “The special prosecutor explains in great detail why these charges were dropped, because he didn’t believe they would result in a conviction,” Galloway said just over three minutes in. “And yet, there are people who still think that Michael Bryant managed to get away with something.” What he didn’t tell listeners was that he’d been involved in his own bike collision almost 20 years ago—a van hit him—but there was no telling if he counted himself as one of those “people” or not. He didn’t allow his own take to slip out over the airwaves.

Galloway then played an audio clip of Yvonne Bambrick, then a director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, expressing her frustration with the outcome, arguing that cyclists receive a ticket for something as small as not having a bell. “Does that add to the conversation in terms of us better understanding what happened or what didn’t happen, or is it a distraction from the issue at heart?” Galloway asked evenly. “It’s a distraction from the issue at heart,” Reisler responded, tossing back the host’s words verbatim.

In the early hours of the morning, extracting illuminating answers from every interview subject is no easy job. Succeeding Andy Barrie, the radio legend who retired after 44 years in broadcasting, 15 of which were at Metro Morning, Galloway is working hard to maintain the show’s reputation for offering the best local journalism on Toronto radio while still holding top spot in the ratings against the morning zoos and sports talk. His predecessor helped make Metro Morning the number one morning show in Toronto in the early 2000s, but Galloway is no Barrie, who rarely displayed reserve when it came to sharing his opinions with listeners. And that means Galloway must put up with the inevitable comparisons, even as he takes on the task of continuing the show’s mandate: to be the voice of a multicultural city, and not only keep current listeners, but attract younger ones. That’s a lot to throw on Galloway’s small frame. Read the rest.