Shad will become the new host of CBC’s cultural affairs radio show Q, which will retain its name as it relaunches in mid-April.
The 32-year-old is a multiple Juno-nominated artist who has drawn praise in Canada and the U.S. for his humour, passion and originality, winning in 2011 for Rap Recording of the Year.
Born in Kenya to Rwandan parents, Shadrach Kabango was raised in Canada, earning a business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Simon Fraser University.
His first full-length release came in 2005 with When the Music's Over, and he broke out in a major way on the follow-up The Old Prince, which was nominated for a Polaris Prize. His most recent release was 2014's Flying Colours.
Cindy Witten, executive director of CBC Radio Talk, said that management conducted an exhaustive search for a new host, looking at more than 200 people.
"We were looking for someone who is an original thinker, curious and emotionally intelligent," said Witten. "Also, a good conversationalist who is witty and fast on their feet. We wanted someone steeped in arts and culture in this country.
"We found there were different points of connection with the guests when the host was a creator or an artist themselves."
The show has been searching for a permanent replacement host since the CBC fired its original host Jian Ghomeshi. He was dismissed after managers said they viewed "graphic evidence" that Ghomeshi had physically injured a woman. The former host is currently facing sexual assault charges.
"It was a difficult time last fall and it is behind us. We’re excited to introduce Canadians to their new host and a fresh and lively Q," Witten said.
Although there had been questions as to whether the show’s name would change, Witten said CBC focus groups revealed that a large majority of listeners wanted the name of the show to remain the same.
The new show will have more musical performances, she said, and will be less structured, with a more conversational tone to allow more live spontaneous moments.