Production Intern Assistant, a reflection
–by Ioni Wais
Dear CJMP listenership and community,
Thank you kindly for all of your support, feedback and engagement with Powell River’s community station in the time that I’ve been here as a Production Assistant Intern.
I started this position in May of 2016, and I’ve had the privilege of being involved in everything from conducting news interviews to streamlining station protocol. In the few months I’ve been here in this position, I’ve shared in diverse and numerous projects and productions, helping to build up CJMP News and the broader CJMP community.
Looking at the state of corporate media worldwide, I find myself really valuing the importance of community radio in serving its locality. I feel honoured to have contributed so much of my time and ability to this cause in Powell RIver, and grateful for all of the support along the way which allowed me to do so, particularly the Youth on Air! Grant via the Community Radio Fund of Canada, and the continued mentorship of station staff and volunteers (especially Carrie Swiggum, Mel Edgar, Giovanni Spezzacatena and CJMP’s tech gnomes).
In the world of community radio, 360 hours feels simultaneously like a lifetime and like no time at all. Taking stock of all of the challenges and achievements in this position, a few highlights come to mind.
The first is the countless promotional snippets I’ve made for the organizations which support CJMP financially. The one I put together for Base Camp stands out for me as being particularly playful and fun… listen here! Through our community engagement mandate, CJMP has also produced numerous Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for community groups and non-profits. It was a pleasure to connect with so many diverse groups and facilitate the airing of their message to the community. I particularly enjoyed recording a PSA for the PR Metis Society with Matt Zaste… listen here!
Covering local news stories was another big aspect of my involvement with this position. On certain weeks, the global and national news I was encountering felt overwhelmingly sad, violent, and discouraging. It was at these times that the importance of community news was most clear to me—while we may not be able to control the outside world from our community, we can certainly take part in shaping our local reality. It was a downright privilege to report on local beacons of hope, like the story of the Azrak family moving from Syria to Powell River, and the beautiful welcome party held for them at the Westview Ferry Terminal… listen here!
Being part of the CJMP News Team was a great way to plunk myself into events or situations I had long been interested in, but never managed to make the time to explore. One such example is the Tla’Amin Language Circle, a great opportunity to learn more about the Tla’Amin language and meet some lovely people from this Nation. Many thanks to Darron Cound for welcoming me… listen here!
Working for the News Department also made it possible to devote my time to topics I feel very passionate about, such as language & gender, particularly as it relates to human rights. I’m very proud to have put together a piece on gender-based discrimination, and to have brought to light some of the sentiments held by our elected officials in regards to this topic… listen here!
Most of the content produced throughout my position went into the 1-hour news show at noon on Fridays, but some of it was also used for the daily News Briefs—5-minute snippets on Tuesdays-Thursdays at noon, covering the latest news in between feature-length shows. News Briefs ranged from event listings to updates on tragedies, to special-interest topics, such as the one I did on mushroom poisoning & mushroom festivals. Throughout all of this, my skills in finding stories, recording audio and creating content bloomed into a very useful and specialized skillset that I look forward to applying to future endeavours.
Another fun aspect of working with the News team was the audio production of the episodes themselves, namely operating the sound board, welcoming guests into the studio, air checks, live call-ins, and all other technical aspects of producing high-quality sound in the dynamic setting of a community radio studio. A real thrill! It was really rewarding to be able to support other programmers and producers in skilling up as well, particularly folks working on short documentaries.
Working as a Production Assistant Intern at CJMP here has allowed me to keep developing skills that branch beyond audio and production, namely skills relating to graphic design, social media, delivering workshops, working in a team, setting timelines, doing outreach at festivals, leaving good phone messages, and more.
I feel thankful and inspired by all of the ways CJMP has helped to build up my skills, confidence, social network and portfolio. I am also extremely appreciative of CJMP’s support of my travel to the National Campus and Community Radio Conference (NCRC) in Ottawa, which was AMAZING! Many thanks to the Community Resource Centre as well, for engaging CJMP and facilitating the radio career of DJ Kenny, with whom it’s been a real pleasure to work!
All in all, this has been a real treat! No doubt, I will miss the ability to be so deeply involved in community radio via the financial support afforded to me, but I am excited to continue engaging with CJMP and the broader community radio scene for many years to come.
With much love,
CJMP is proud to have been part of this year’s Blackberry Street Party, Marine Avenue’s biggest festival. With music, food, dancing and more, the festival drew in locals and tourists to celebrate together and showcase Powell River’s culture, arts, businesses and non-profits. CJMP set up their live radio station at the south end of the festival, channeling the airwaves coming live from the studio and playing them out onto the street. Many thanks to Bad Karen (Every Day is Like Sunday), DJ Kamandi (Cowbell Radio), and DJ TripleDub (Pow!Town Get Down) for their awesome shows which we got to blast onto the street, as well as a big thank-you to everyone who helped set up, staff the booth and take down. Good times were had by all!
Featured: our high-tech equipment for playing radio over our huge speakers and modern sound system: an old Sony Walkman
A dozen radioheads snugly learning about the craft of researching and producing radio documentary here at the Community Resource Centre on July 21, 2016. Presenters Claudia Medina, Carrie Swiggum and Ioni Wais did a great job covering everything from concept to post-production. Some of the topics covered were:
- Personal access to stories or topics; passion there and where the personal becomes public
- Storytelling craft (narrative arc and creating a ‘container’ for the audience to position themselves within a narrative)
- Audience considerations and the motivation of characters
- When to let your interviewees and materials collected lead you in different directions — and when not to let this happen
- Interview techniques
- Recording techniques and considerations (recording ambient sounds, wearing headphones while recording, eliminating external sound sources, etc.)
- Structure: leading with attention grabbers, and the need to have a clear initial ‘elevator speech’ topic or theme
- Pre-interviewing; not leading characters; avoiding ‘yes’/’no’ answers
- Embracing silence
- Letting interviewees know that it’s ok to have silence and that there will be editing involved
- Rule of 3’s: retell the central theme
- Sound editing essentials
and more, with samples too!
Stay tuned for more FREE audio workshops coming up soon.