Leaving high school, I was a shy, shy person. The kind of person that had one small group of friends (which we called “the Hermit Club”) and really didn’t talk to anyone else.
So how did I end up in a career path that has me networking, talking in front of crowds, and all other sorts of communication I never would have thought of doing those years ago?
The answer lies in a small room up a weird yellow flight of stairs at the University of Winnipeg. A small radio station that let’s nearly anyone test out the Winnipeg airwaves. That little place is called CKUW.
I first heard about Creative Communications and the joint degree program after seeing some hosts from Kick FM, the former RRC radio station, during a school tour. I thought the idea of being on the radio was so cool. Being able to speak your mind and play cool music, but no one had to see what you looked like. While at the University of Winnipeg, I decided to try out their radio station.
My first show on CKUW was guest hosting on a show called Only Cowards Sing at Night. I was so nervous I couldn’t even say one word through the microphone for the full hour and a half.
The Power of Radio
Not long after that I found myself co-hosting Only Cowards every Sunday. It was great; we’d get to sit back, play some cool local and underground music, and talk about whatever we felt like – as long as it tied in somehow.
I discovered some of the best local music around and I could confidently say “I heard of them before they were big.” Of course I didn’t do that because I don’t like to consider myself some pretentious hipster.
CKUW opened me up as a person, made me better at articulating my thoughts, and helped me become a better speaker on and off the air.
It also opened my eyes to how amazing the local music scene is. Throughout high school, I was under the impression that Winnipeg was a total culture wasteland with nothing to offer, but really it was all behind the doors of tiny bars and pubs in downtown Winnipeg.
I would meet some of these bands face-to-face on our radio show and would get starstruck.
Soon I brought on my friend Ginaya as a co-host and our random banter between songs became so natural that it made that tiny, extremely hot area with so many posters you couldn’t find a white patch of wall, feel like a fantastic getaway.
“You’re tuned in to Only Cowards Sing at Night on CKUW 95.9 FM. We’re your hosts Shanell and Ginaya.”
Because CreComm is the way it is, the first half of this year I had to step away from the microphone to focus on my schoolwork. I missed CKUW almost immediately.
The past two weeks I’ve finally found my way back up that flight of yellow stairs up to the station to do something I love: playing music, talking on the air, and having fun with a good friend.
Insert my shameless plug here. CKUW is a community radio station run mostly by volunteers and has gone all of 2014 without advertising. This is because of the generous support of the community during the annual Fundrive telethon.
This station is not only my lovely little getaway place, it’s a wonderful place for many who take the time to put together shows every week, sort through thousands of albums, coordinate programs, and so much more.
Although this year’s Fundrive ends today, CKUW always accepts donations to help keep the station running for another year – hopefully without advertising.
Thank you to everyone who listens to CKUW regularly, and if you’re intrigued, check out Only Cowards! We go on air every Sunday from 5-6:30 p.m.