My life with radio

When I moved to Guelph, I immediately decided to get involved with the local campus-community radio station. Radio had always been an important part of my life, CBC Radio One omnipresent in the car and the kitchen. Shows like Radio Sonic and Brave New Waves opened up a world of daring, new music, changing my life. And although opportunities kept opening, for the longest time I resisted getting directly in radio.

I remember in Hamilton, a few older friends of mine had a late night timeslot on CFMU, where they played hip hop and plotted the revolution. Super cool, right? But not for me. A family friend from church took a bunch of us youngsters to visit the Mothercorp at 250 Front Street. We got to peek into studios and met some news producers. I had a blast, but that was about it. At the time (in high school), I didn’t see myself becoming a journalist, so I never followed up.

Later I moved to Montreal, and one of the first things I did was sign up for an orientation at the legendary CKUT. One of the reasons I moved to the city was the indie rock scene, after all. I imagined meeting CanCon legends in Montreal’s decrepit warehouses and dive bars: The Dears, Godspeed!YouBlackEmperor, Stars, DJ Kid Koala. Most exciting of all was the possibility of meeting BNW’s Patti Schmidt! So music was important to me, but not important enough to run the gauntlet of CKUT’s training regime. You had to join a collective show and work your way into your own timeslot… This foolish 19 year old decided it was too intimidating.

Years later, I took a class on the Canadian broadcasting system with Gregory Taylor. I was mostly interested in learning about CBC Radio. Having been an early addict of youth-oriented outlets like the R3 Magazine and New Music Canada, I wanted to know more about the future of radio online. As part of the course, though, I was reintroduced to campus-community radio. Greg invited a guest from AMARC / CKUT who left me with a lasting impression of the campus-community sector’s unique role in the broadcasting system.

CKUT kept finding a way into my life in other ways. My friend David Koch helped produce this audio tour of Montreal’s Chinatown. And after showing me how easy it is to work with the free, open source Audacity software, he finally roped me into producing a few segments for his campus news show, All Things McGill. Those were fun, but I never really set foot in the station, and I soon drifted off into other endeavours.

Now I’m in Guelph, another city well-known for its indie music scene. With no friends outside of my partner’s Masters program, I decided to join CFRU Radio as an easy way to tap into a new community. It worked! I helped out with the funding drive, meeting other volunteers who are students and longtime community members. The staff have been incredibly welcoming and encouraging. Plus, some of them are indie rock celebrities. It’s amazing. It may have taken a while to get here, but it’s definitely the right time and the right place to finally get involved with making radio.