I AM the Media

Before hitting the air waves in October of 2010, “Be The Media” was an idea that was tossed around for a couple of years. It is an idea whose time has come. Eager to create a platform from which students of the Media Studies Department at Vancouver Island University could showcase their work, lynch pin Marian van der Zon founded the show with two criteria in mind: it would be about the media and it would be inclusive.

A professor within the Media Studies Department, van der Zon currently teaches introductory and intermediate Digital Media Studies courses with a focus in the area of audio. She co-edited the anthology, Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada, (http://islandsofresistance.ca) is a mostly self-taught musician playing the banjo (including slide banjo), slide guitar, vocals and performs with the band Puzzleroot. A powerhouse of creative talent, van der Zon is a respectful, firm voice and her intent is clear: to provide a platform for upcoming media producers from which they can shine.

Augmented by monthly contributions from six Vancouver Island University faculty (including Robin Davies, Kevin Mazutinec and Alanna Williams), van der Zon is regularly flanked by Joy Gugeler and Niel Scobie. Gugeler is the voice of Books and Bytes and explores the ever-shifting landscape of the written word and social media. Scobie handles the technical end of things while completing his degree in Digital Media Studies. He takes pride in how the show sounds and has set the bar high in terms of technical quality.

While most of us will agree that change is inevitable, Gugeler doesn’t waste time lamenting the old ways; she is positive about the opportunities that technology brings and she also believes that a positive message makes for better radio. Magazines are moving on line, authors are making use of social media to promote their work and part of the role of the Media Studies Department is to help students figure out where they fit in.

Through the dedication of this talented trio, students develop skills and confidence on both sides of the mic. Moving from the safety of the classroom to the reality of a live show, Be The Media has welcomed students, colleagues and community members into the broadcast booth. Embracing media in all its forms, contributors focus on their medium of choice, be it television, sound, assembled music or spoken word.  Clearly, there is something in media for everyone.

The vibrant material showcased on Be The Media is living proof that the future is being created by spirited, imaginative, tech-savvy people who feel passionately about their subject. After listening to a couple of shows, I was informed about homelessness on Gabriola Island, how a dancer’s desire to perform translates into social action and what it takes for a television series to stay on the air.

In the current corporate climate, cuts in funding to the arts community are commonplace. All three agreed that local radio station CHLY plays a crucial role in the future of Nanaimo and a sustainable, healthy community. CHLY is one of the few outlets that provide a voice to the independent arts and culture community. As a result, we all benefit. The community gets to hear the other side of the conversation and a voice is given to those who do not normally have access to the airwaves.

Tune in every Thursday from 1:00-2:00pm at 101.7 FM for a jam packed show that is bulging at the seams. If that time doesn’t work for you, check out  www.chly.ca and listen to the podcast. Be The Media.

Alison Roberts has been listening to CHLY for the past 6 ½ years.