TORONTO — Evan Solomon, a former CBC personality who was fired over conflict-of-interest allegations, has landed a new job as the host of a political talk show on SiriusXM Canada.
The satellite radio company’s head of programming said Wednesday he didn’t hesitate to hire Solomon despite the controversy.
“Evan took full responsibility for his actions at the CBC, he apologized and he’s moving on,” John Lewis, senior vice-president of programming and operations, told The Canadian Press.
“We look at it as what type of content we’d like to provide to our subscribers, our listeners, and we actually feel quite fortunate to have him — he’s one of Canada’s most experienced political journalists.”
The show, called Everything Is Political: Campaign 2015 with Evan Solomon, will premiere Thursday at 6 p.m. and will follow the run-up to the Oct. 19 federal election. The one-hour show will air on Thursdays in August before airing daily on weekdays in September until Nov. 5.
Solomon anchored CBC News Network’s daily show Power and Politics and CBC Radio’s weekly The House until he was fired in June, following a Toronto Star report that alleged the 47-year-old used his position to broker lucrative art deals between a friend and wealthy interview subjects.
Solomon has said he never intentionally used his CBC position to secure deals and that he was “deeply sorry” for any damage his activities had caused.
At the time, the public broadcaster said Solomon had disclosed in April that he and his wife owned a production company that had a business partnership with an art dealer but insisted it would not conflict with his work for the CBC.
Solomon, who has kept a low profile since his dismissal in June, tweeted the announcement Wednesday.
“Very happy to join the team at SiriusXM to cover this great campaign,” he said.
The company approached Solomon a few weeks ago after connecting with him through a friend, Lewis said.
SiriusXM Canada says it broadcasts more than 120 satellite radio channels and has more than 2.6 million subscribers.
The company is partly owned by the CBC — a link Lewis said makes Solomon’s move “a little bit interesting for sure but I’ll just leave it at that.”
Public relations experts say the new show could help Solomon repair his reputation.
“He laid low for the right amount of time. The entire country is preoccupied with other political happenings. A satellite radio show obviously isn’t the summit of the world of public affairs journalism, but it’s a good place to ease oneself back in,” said Dan Robertson of Indent Communications.
Allan Bonner, whose namesake company offers crisis management and media training services, said the controversy surrounding Solomon was too complex to stir lasting public outrage.
“It’s hard for the average person to understand and the average person isn’t all that interested in trying to understand anyway,” he said. “Disappearing, writing a book, putting together some other deal is definitely the route to go.”
Solomon’s fate rests largely on the quality on the show, Bonner said.
“Sirius satellite radio is mainly available to people in cars and truckers — there’s a particular demographic group there, just as there is with CBC… So whether he appeals to that particular audience is going to be key to his bouncing back or whether he parlays this into another assignment somewhere else,” he said.