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Remembering 'Bootch'

In Angelo Iacobucci, Kamloops lost an icon. Bob Price lost a friend.
Credit: Kamloops This Week

By now you have likely heard about the unexpected death of well-known B.C. broadcaster, Angelo Iacobucci.

He worked at CHNL Radio in Kamloops for most of 40 years.  For 30 of those years, we were colleagues in what was a legendary radio newsroom. Angelo's sudden passing has left a gaping hole in the heart of all who knew him, either professionally or personally.

I was one of the lucky ones.

Angelo and I were so much more than "colleagues."  We were brothers. We were part of a team that we often referred to as the "three amigos," with the third member of our exclusive club being Jim Harrison.

Over the last three decades, Angelo, Jim and I would routinely spar, tease, and even ridicule each other at times. But we were also family in a  broadcasting setting that had no duplicate anywhere in Canada. I remember so many times when NL President and General Manager Robbie Dunn would walk into the newsroom, and then upon leaving would mutter to himself "you guys are nuts."

But when news was breaking and in the heat of a fast developing story, the "three amigos" could work magic. We each had our talents, and we reported the fast-paced events as if set to the William Tell Overture - composed of course by another famous Italian, Gioachino Rossini.

It was for one of those team efforts that we shared a Websters Award for best reporting.

To many, Angelo was larger than life. He was big, and brash, sometimes awkward, and didn't suffer fools gladly.  But a sure sign of acceptance was a "nickname."  Mine was "that Bubba guy" while Jim carried the title "Harry." The president of NL Broadcasting was "Dunner."

My radio brother was widely respected on several beats including municipal politics. Jim and I would often watch Kamloops city council proceedings on local cable TV and seeing Angelo at the reporter's table, would ask ourselves "what the hell is he doing?" The answer was anything from eating french fries to clipping his finger or even toenails.  I'm not kidding.  He was one of a kind and he wore it well!

Angelo was also a big man. But his true measure was the size of his heart. And it was huge. I've often told young broadcasters that if you ever aren't emotionally affected by the news you cover, it's time to quit. Angelo never lost his caring way, and that compassion was often displayed for all to see in the NL newsroom.

He was an absolute sucker for infants, kittens, and puppies.  He was never afraid to cry.

The news of Angelo's passing hit me like a ton of bricks. It hit all of us that way. I know that Angelo was deeply bothered when I and others fell victim to new ownership cost-cutting last June.  I suspect that he was equally shattered by a recent ownership decision to end Jim Harrison's legendary tenure at NL on January 10th. Remember what I said about Angelo's compassion!

Angelo was also long considered part of my own family. My wife, Jennifer, and daughters Ashley and Gabrielle have lost an adopted uncle who they've always known. Our hearts are truly broken.

"Bootch" was a teddy bear.  There are quite simply no words to express how much this goofy Italian meant to so many people.

A hell of a newsman. A far better person. And to me personally, so much more than a colleague.

Bob Price is a veteran B.C. broadcaster who anchored the morning news on CHNL radio in Kamloops for the past 30 years. Bob is also a past Webster Award winner whose previous stops included Vancouver and Calgary.