By: Janik Shannon
Algonquin’s radio broadcast program co-ordinator Dan Pihlainen is hosting the new Sunday Morning Blend on CFRA 580 – AM.
Faithful to its name, SMB will be a blend of the current news and events in the city. The show will be home to a variety of guest speakers as well as people calling in to share their opinions on current issues.
Airing every Sunday morning between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., the first show took place Sept. 9 and was said to be a success by SMB’s tech producer. With the amount of events taking place on this day such as fundraisers and festivals, SMB was able to give the audience a wide range of activities to take part in. The Kidney Foundation Walkathon in Brockville and an organizer from the Latino Festival were both featured on the show. Elias El-Zein, producer for SMB said there were many people who called in to congratulate Pihlainen on the show.
“[We were covering] a lot of things that were going on that day,” said Pihlainen, 50. “Helping people out who were just waking up and didn’t really know what to do.”
The show has been compared to CFRA’s Madely in the Morning, which is hosted by Steve Madely and includes “top local, national and international stories and issues,” although SMB won’t consist of as much hard news.
Pihlainen didn’t pursue his interest in radio broadcast until the age of 30, but since his graduation from Algonquin he has worked as a reporter, TV producer and assignment editor.
Never having hosted a show before, Pihlainen couldn’t find himself saying no when the offer was presented to him. He not only saw the show as an opportunity to take part of something he has always wanted to do, but also a chance for his Algonquin students to get noticed.
“It’s a good opportunity for students to get their foot in the door,” said El-Zein, 20, who graduated from radio broadcasting at Algonquin in the spring.
Being up-to-date with current affairs, Pihlainen sees SMB being a chance for his students to have their material heard by a larger audience. There are approximately a dozen graduates currently working at CFRA under the radio side of Bell Media and several entry-level positions available.
A number of known Ottawa radio hosts are themselves graduates from the radio broadcasting program. CFRA’s Rob Snow, Magic 100’s Stuntman Stu as well as Hot 89.9’s Mauler and Rush are all Algonquin grads.
“Our goal is to be the best radio broadcasting program in the country,” said Pihlainen.
With a successful first show, the staff working for SMB hopes to keep it up.
“It’s going to go well; it’s going to go really well,” said Eilish Sullivan, 18, tech producer for SMB and second-year radio broadcasting student. “It’s going to be interested and I’m excited to see how it goes.”