Radio By The Seat Of Your Pants

CHLY Volunteer Programmer Profiles

As a youngster growing up in the northern community of Houston, British Columbia, Ron Makowichuk didn’t have a lot of listening options; it was either CBC, country or a cheesy AM station. Although KISS was his favourite band when he was in Grade 3, Makowichuk readily admits that he didn’t have great taste in music. When he graduated from high school and left the pleasant valley to attend the University of BC in Vancouver, he moved away from the mainstream and was influenced by alternative college rock.

Free Trampoline, just one of Makowichuk’s creative outlets, is a rarity at CHLY in that it spans three Canadian provinces. Free Trampoline started in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2006. After 3 years on the East Coast Makowichuk and his wife moved to Ontario in 2008 where he introduced his show to listeners in Kingston. In August 2010 the couple arrived in the Harbour City and by December, he was back on the air. It seems like once bitten by the indie rock scene, it’s hard to get it out of your system. Free Trampoline offers a mix of rock, pop, techno, hip hop and alt country.

Thinking that the name of the show had something to do with Makowichuk’s ‘radio by the seat of his pants’ approach, he clarified that it was actually lifted from an episode of The Simpsons, which was his favourite TV show for many years. Episode number 88, entitled Bart’s Inner Child, revolves around Homer discovering an ad for a free trampoline in the newspaper. What could be more fun than a free trampoline? With almost six years of programming under his belt, having your own show on independent radio is about as much fun or more.

A self described music nerd, Makowichuk has been crazy about music since he was seven. A large portion of his brain has been devoted to housing vast amounts of musical knowledge and a couple of days before his show he’ll start thinking about what he wants to play. He may bring in about 10 hours of music for his three-hour show, and then proceed to make it up as he goes along. Not one to be pigeon holed, Makowichuk enjoys having the freedom to throw in some curve balls. Don’t be surprised to hear some old Neil Diamond or even some Bollywood film music, which is in keeping with the ‘do what you feel’ mantra from the aforementioned Simpsons episode. Interestingly, the episode also features a cameo of singer James Brown.

Although his retention of music is vast, Makowichuk is also creative with words and has had an essay published in the Globe and Mail. Having abandoned a career in IT support, Makowichuk is currently trying his hand at freelance writing. If his first essay is any indication, expect to see more of Makowichuk’s word in print. Until then, tune in to 101.7fm every Wednesday from 4:00-7:00pm where you’ll never know what you might hear on the show, but it definitely won’t suck.

Alison Roberts is also a music nerd who looks to CHLY to guide her musical education. She recently learned what a ‘mash up’ is and enjoys the quirky nature of independent radio.