What goes into a good Canadian radio station’s catalogue? According to the CRTC, the federal broadcasting regulator, the ingredients must be 35 per cent Canadian.
But one campus station in Toronto’s got a little carried away and is dumping the whole can into the mix.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to shed light on new and upcoming Canadian artists,” said Kylee Winn-Thurrott, promotions manager for 96.9 Radio Humber.
“We’ve broken a lot of great artists,” she said. “We saw an example of that recently with The Glorious Sons.
“We were their first-ever interview and a year later they were nominated for a Juno and now they’re huge,” Winn-Thurrott said. “We’ve seen that happen with Alexisonfire, City & Colour, The Arkells.
“It’s great to be a part of that and then bring it back home at the end of the day too.”
Station manager Dean Sinclair said Toronto always has been a focal point for music in Canada.
“If you look at the artists back into the ‘60s, especially in this market, Toronto is just a huge melting pot for great music and there’s a lot of product that’s not heard,” said Sinclair.
He pointed to a Zoom R8 audio recorder sitting on a table and noted the tools to producing a great show and recording music are available to almost everyone.
“Everybody knows somebody that wants to record music and everybody’s got a unit like that, that can produce a great show,” Sinclair said.
“I think we’re very approachable,” he said. “We’re not out to try and compete.”
The station’s program coordinator, herself a graduate of Humber’s radio broadcasting program Shelia Walsh said 96.9 pushes the Canadian musical agenda.
“No matter what the genre of music is, we’re real advocates for Canadian,” said Walsh. “We believe in Canada and we believe in Canadian musicians.”
Humber College’s Radio Broadcasting program, founded in 1972, has a looming presence in the Canadian media industry at large with graduates including 680 News’ entertainment reporter Rudy Blair and Hockey Night in Canada’s host George Stroumboulopoulos.
“It’s a very small and intimate industry,” said Walsh. “Plus, all the professors who are teaching here are either still active or recently active and we’ve all had experiences. The alumni represent a huge presence in the industry.”
Walsh also runs the Radio Humber Alumni Twitter page, which has more than 400 active followers.
“The best thing about doing the Junos is that you’re sitting in a room with a bunch of Humber graduates,” said Winn-Thurrott.
“We work with a lot of small PR companies that have small artists – up and comers – that’s how we get our band of the months,” she said.
Radio Humber 96.9 FM broadcasts from a studio on Humber’s North campus. The Radio Broadcasting program’s open house will be held on campus on Nov. 7.