Angelo Iacobucci was remembered on Saturday as a tenacious reporter with a heart of gold who always made his presence known and had a nickname for everyone.
Stories from the life of Iacobucci were shared as hundreds — including family, friends, colleagues and politicians — gathered at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre to remember the Kamloops broadcaster whose career spanned nearly 40 years and reach spanned the province.
Iacobucci died on Dec. 14, about two weeks before he would have turned 61.
Jim Reynolds worked for 35 years with Iacobucci before Reynolds retired as Radio NL’s program director. He recalled Iacobucci's hard work, dedication to his career and value as a mentor to young journalists before calling upon speakers to share their stories.
Former Kamloops mayor and former provincial health minister Terry Lake called Iacobucci “larger than life” and recalled the reach he had around the province — armed with every cellphone number he needed.
Lake remembered Iacobucci as a tough, but fair reporter.
He also recalled a text message from Iacobucci the week before his death, asking about CBD — cannabidiol — a cannabis compound sometimes used to treat depression. Lake said he didn’t read too much into the query at the time.
“You don’t know what people are going through,” he said, calling on everyone to engage with one another on issues of mental health.
Premier John Horgan, a regular interview subject for Iacobucci, also shared his remembrances via a letter read by Reynolds. It cited Iacobucci’s integrity, humour and curiosity as a reporter.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar said he grew up listening to Iacobucci on NL and noted his influence and importance as a broadcaster in the region, especially in the pre-internet era.
Milobar, who said Iacobucci once called him “the most boring politician,” also recalled how he dealt with Iacobucci’s tendency to let his phone ring in city council chambers when Milobar was mayor.
Milobar told the story of how he enlisted the help of city staff to address Iacobucci’s interruptions. He had a staff member seize Iacobucci’s phone during a council meeting and inconspicuously swap it for another.
“And then the gavel came down on it,” Milobar said, recalling the shocked look on Iacobucci’s face before he realized what had happened.
“His phone never buzzed again,” he said.
Radio NL broadcaster Brett Mineer first met Iacobucci in the early 2000s. He recalled Iacobucci’s swagger and the teasing relationship the two developed — something common among Iacobucci and his co-workers.
“Angelo kept folders of our screw-ups,” he said.
Mineer said that after he left Kamloops, he would sometimes receive calls from Iacobucci — but he wasn’t on the line; instead, Mineer would hear clips of his on-air mistakes before Booch hung up.
The chance to work with Iacobucci once again was part of the reason Mineer recently returned to Kamloops to work at NL.
Recently retired NL news director Jim Harrison, who did not attend the memorial due to illness, wrote that calling Iacobucci “one of a kind” was the most apt description for him.
Harrison said Iacobucci was unpretentious and incorrigible and that he didn’t care for titles, relying on an everyman kind of approach regardless who he was speaking with, even if it was the premier.
Harrison recalled that when Iacobucci first came to Radio NL, he was tenacious and showed promise, but that his time at the station had an end date from the beginning, which Booch chose to ignore.
“He kept coming to work even after I told him we can’t pay him,” Harrison said, adding that after three months, a position finally opened up and Iacobucci was hired immediately.
Iacobucci had a penchant for nicknames. Every Radio NL colleague of his had at least one.
Mineer was known as “Mr. Bean,” Howie Reimer was “Mikey,” Geoff Hastings was “Mr. Hassan” and of two of Reynolds’ nicknames, the only one that can be shared with readers is “Freddy.”
Only a few NL staffers understood the origins of the pet names Iacobucci had for them, but all remembered them fondly.
Even family members and those he regularly interviewed recalled monikers given to them by Booch, including local 1-417 United Steelworkers president Marty Gibbons, who was bestowed the nickname “Mr. Baboons.”
“I thought it was hurtful until I heard what he called everyone else. I think he liked me,” Gibbons said with a laugh.
The veteran broadcaster was also remembered as a mentor — and someone who helped his younger co-workers grow a thicker skin, something former NL broadcaster Raffelina Sirianni said was needed for a job on the beat.
At the end of her first day, Iacobucci told her, “You sound like a duck and your perfume stinks.”
“He toughened you up. … He’d give you a hard time to your face, but he’d talk great about you behind your back,” she said.
“I think that is the true meaning of a friend.”
The celebration of life for Iacobucci was attended by hundreds of people, including former TRU president Alan Shaver, former Kamloops MLAs Kevin Krueger and Claude Richmond and current B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman.