Radio is always there for the communities it serves.
Kayla Whiteduck, a 2017 Algonquin graduate of the radio broadcasting program, thinks this is an essential point of pride for her as a radio host at the newly-unveiled indigenous radio station 95.7 elemnt FM.
“Honestly, the idea of getting indigenous content out there, because a lot of us aboriginal people don’t have a lot of media to do that, is really important,” said Whiteduck. “There is so much talent out there. I am so proud to work for a station where I can actually represent my people. To get their music out there and their voices, and to talk about issues in our community.”
Ottawa’s 95.7 elemnt FM was launched by First People’s Radio (FPR) Inc. on Oct. 24. FPR also launched 106.5 elemnt FM in Toronto as a part of a three-year long project headed by parent company Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), who wanted to move into radio.
According to a media statement issued by APTN, the stations are tailored to Indigenous people, and will consist of local and national news. Additionally, 25 per cent of all music aired will be devoted to Indigenous artists, and 60 per cent of airtime will be promised to local programming.
“A good radio station represents the area it’s in,” said Algonquin radio broadcasting graduate Aiden Wolf. “Aside from the fun content, it’s the only thing that, if there is a major problem, radio will be there. When we had the tornado here, how did we get updates? Radio.”
While both Whiteduck and Wolf take the role radio plays in the community seriously, their programming remains light and humorous for their listeners to enjoy. Whiteduck runs the midday show from noon until 3 p.m.
“I like to look at things not so much on a serious note,” said Whiteduck. “I like to talk about random funny stuff happening because that’s how I’ve always been growing up.”
Wolf runs the weekday morning shows at 5:30 a.m.
“My only claim to fame is that I am funny,” said Wolf. “I am not insightful, I am not going to change the world with what I say but I am going to make you laugh in the morning.”
The pair do contribute a lot of their success to the Algonquin radio broadcasting program.
“I think Algonquin College has one of the best programs in Canada,” said Whiteduck. “Our teacher Dan Mellon has so many connections from working in radio all his life.
“If you listen to a lot of what they tell you, you’ll realize that if this is something you really want to do and you have the passion, then you will work in this industry.”
Despite recent disruption that has constrained resources for local media, Wolf is convinced that radio will continue to endure, despite the changing media landscape.
“The strength of radio lies in its locality,” said Wolf. “Google isn’t local. Radio is now, it’s local and it serves you. Most importantly, it’s free.”