As It Happens

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

As It Happens: Radio that's always trope-ical.[1]

This long-running Canadian radio show on CBC Radio One (and some National Public Radio stations) - it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in the 2018-2019 season - tackles news around the world, specializing in obscure but amusing news stories and giving alternate viewpoints on bigger stories. The key feature of As It Happens is that they almost always use outgoing telephone interviews with newsmakers, as opposed to using their main studio for visitors (which happens extremely rarely) or communicating with their secondary facilities (which never happens). With humble beginnings in 1968 as "What's New in Saskatoon?", the show eventually changed its name and jump-started the careers of radio legends such as Alan Maitland and Barbara Frum.

It's been billed as a "call-out show"; instead of having the public call in to discuss the news of the day, the show calls important and interesting people and interviews them over the phone. Yes, sometimes interviewees hang up when they get questions they don't want to answer... but in these cases AIH runs the interviews anyway, including the dial tone at the end. These interviews also tend to get picked for re-airing during the end-of-year retrospective shows.

As of the late-2010s, "AIH" was hosted by Carol Off (who interviews the guests; she left the show at the end of February 2022) and Jeff Douglas (the "I Am Canadian" guy, who introduces the segments and reads the non-interview items). Chris Howden took over for Jeff Douglas in January 2020.

Tropes used in As It Happens include:
  • Christmas Episode: The last episode before Christmas Day is always given over to Alan Maitland's reading of The Shepherd followed by a discussion of the novella. The usual news break a half-hour into the episode is skipped on this day so that the story is not interrupted.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • The first event that showed As It Happens was a serious news show came early in its run: it was given a court injunction forbidding them to air a particular interview, so the hosts filled the time by reading the court order verbatim, staying within the letter of the law while still getting the news out.
    • On March 21, 1977, Barbara Frum mediated a hostage negotiation on-air, convincing the hostage-taker to surrender peacefully without harming any of the hostages.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: The classic "God-damn cabbage" interview given by Barbara Frum.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: As It Happens airs in dozens of countries around the world, but in Finland, fans will frequently get up at 5:30 a.m. local time to listen to the show.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Every intro ends with one of these. They also show up in the middle of the shows.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The classic "God-damn cabbage" interview given by Barbara Frum.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Moe Kuffman's "Curried Soul".
  • Running Gag: For the longest time, whenever a British city was mentioned during a human-interest piece, its distance is measured from Reading. This became a running gag after London was mentioned as "thirty miles east of Reading".
    • And at one time during this period, CBC Radio's science show Quirks and Quarks finished a science interview with "and as it happens, our guest is in Reading."
  1. Not an actual quote, but typical of the Incredibly Lame Puns that end the show's opening almost every episode.