CKUW to open up airwaves for Culture Days

CKUW volunteers help out a DIY DJ participant during Culture Days in 2012

CKUW volunteers help out a DIY DJ participant during Culture Days in 2012

DIY DJ event to return September 26

CKUW relies on volunteers to create the unique sounds and conversations you won’t hear over commercial airwaves.  But it’s not every day that those volunteers come up with something that surprises those who know the station well. With DIY DJ, it’s a different story.

“One woman brought a whole tickle trunk of things she found in her parent’s basement,” says CKUW Program Director Robin Eriksson, explaining that the woman played old tapes and performed songs using sheet music found in the trove. “Lots and lots of folks who come through here have been amazing, and surprising.”

The DIY DJ event is a chance for anyone, with any level of radio experience, to take the mic for a half an hour. CKUW will provide technical assistance to help participants showcase favourite tunes from their home collection, their own musical prowess, or whatever else they think listeners might like to hear.

“As a community access radio station, we figured that was a good way to showcase what we do here behind the scenes,” Eriksson says of the event’s origins four years ago. She says over the years DIY DJ participants have returned to offer their talents to CKUW in other capacities. “There are lots of different ways for volunteers to get involved; we recognise that people have time limitations.”

There are many opportunities to volunteer at the station aside from taking up the commitment to produce or host a regular show. Eriksson says for the musically inclined, it can mean joining the music department, helping catalogue CKUW’s expansive collection, or curating playlists for overnight hours when the station doesn’t feature a live broadcast. For the more technically inclined, volunteering can mean learning to operate shows, produce stings and short segments.

For news junkies, Eriksson says they are always looking for contributors to provide interviews and field recordings with their news magazine program, People of Interest.

CKUW had its origin in the 1960s when student David Shilliday and physics professor Ron Riddell recognized a need for audio-visual services on campus. The station initially operated as a sort of record playing club, broadcasting on and off on a closed circuit in United College. The station continued to evolve as the college became The University of Winnipeg, and continued to have influence on the music scene in the decades to follow.

In the 1990s, the era of CKUW being heard only on campus came to a close following a long, successful push to license as an FM community radio station. Since then, CKUW has served as a “true community/campus station,” a non-profit corporation that reflects the grassroots community of board members, staff and volunteers behind the programming.

To get involved in DIY DJ, visit the CKUW website, where you can also find more information about how to volunteer.

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