by Sheldon Birnie
Part of the excitement at a volunteer driven organization like CKUW is that things are always changing. Volunteers come and go, the ones who stay learning new skills and developing new interests. New volunteers always bring with them fresh enthusiasm, and new ideas. While many CKUW volunteers have been with the station for years — some of them at the helm of shows that have been around since the station went FM in 1999 — there are always new volunteers eager to get their feet wet.
With the school year starting up again in September, CKUW generally receives an influx of new volunteers, both from the student body and the community at large. This year is no different, with both new volunteers and some more experienced volunteers launching new shows out to the airwaves.
“The main draw of doing radio is the medium itself,” says Sam Heinrichs, co-host of Nonsense as Salvation (Sundays at 11:00am). “I like that a radio broadcast is ephemeral.”
“I especially love [the] depiction of radio as a message in a bottle – waves pulsating in silence through space,” adds Jill Belanger, Heinrich’s co-host. Belanger is a new volunteer with CKUW, while Heinrichs has been involved with the station for five years now. The pair started their show in the summer of 2013.
“CKUW was one of my first stops after moving to Winnipeg earlier this year,” explains Daniel Emberg, who moved from Edmonton with “a modest history in campus radio” and wanted to stay involved. Emberg is the host of Smorgasoundborg, which airs from 10 to 10:30pm on Wednesdays, and “features a particular tool/technique from the music and sound world” each week. “The show is heavier on talk than music samples, and I try to keep it accessibly informative without sacrificing fun.”
Sam Doucet is also a relatively new Winnipegger who gravitated to CKUW after performing on air at this past year’s Fundrive. “I am an avid music fan, as any DJ would tell you,” he says. “I’m always the guy recommending new bands to people and CKUW allows me to amplify my enthusiasm.” Doucet hosts Blast or Bust just before Smorgasoundborg every Wednesday, from 9:00 to 10:00pm, focusing on extreme genres like grindcore, powerviolence, punk, and death metal. “Fast stuff, basically,” Doucet clarifies.
Topher Duguay, another recent volunteer, also hosts a show on Wednesday, though much earlier in the day. Totally Wired runs from 1:30 to 3:00am, and focuses on “obscure post-punk” and related music. “I like being able to play music for people,” says Duguay, “especially when there’s a near-zero chance they’ve heard it before.”
Rico Ras is the host of Wake Up Winnipeg. Airing Fridays from 6:00 to 8:00am, Rico explains that WuW is all about “variety and diversity. I reach out with a variety of African based music, to diverse communities … All of this is interspersed with a few news and commentaries from the African, Caribbean and Canadian communities, and or what affects them.”
Rico explains that while he has been “in and around” CKUW for a while, he only became a volunteer this past summer.
As you can probably tell, CKUW hosts showcase a wide variety of the musical spectrum. But there’s also plenty of talk radio, for those who are interested in news, cultural events, and discussion on topics otherwise absent from the radio dial.
Niall Mackintosh is the host of 11 @ 10, “Winnipeg’s only live, local broadcast dedicated exclusively to ‘proper football’ (ie. soccer).”
“It’s my feeling that soccer is unfairly ignored by the mainstream media,” explains Mackintosh, who only recently became a CKUW volunteer, after first pitching the show back in February. “Any good publicity or profile I can give to the sport at a local, regional, national, or international level is a step towards legitimising the Beautiful Game.” 11 @ 10 airs Tuesdays from 10:00 to 10:30pm.
Jordan Poitras, on the other hand, is a seasoned CKUW vet who started with the station in either 2003 or 2004. “I can’t remember exactly when,” says Poitras, “but I was in grade 11.” After working with a number of shows over the years, particularly People of Interest, Poitras decided he wanted to do a show of his own, focused on science.
The resulting Dark Matter Defined airs at 11:30am on Thursdays. Poitras explains that his idea for the show stems from his desire to “get a view of what students and faculty are doing for research at the university and then broadcast it in a way that non-science folks can understand.”
So no matter what your interest might be (apart from Top 40 radio hits, of course), you can probably satisfy that interest at some point in the week by tuning in to 95.9FM. If, for some reason, your particular area of interest is unrepresented, then maybe it’s time to step up to the plate and start volunteering yourself!
For more information on how to become a volunteer and start making (air)waves, check out ckuw.ca. And, of course, don’t forget to tune in to CKUW at 95.9FM.