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November 03, 2020 26 min read

In this episode of the Proudly Made in Canada podcast Connor sits down with Simon MacLeod and Jess Arc from CJSW. The three chat about CJSW's recently launched Funding Drive. From now until October 30th, support community radio and learn about how you can donate, the type of custom products you can pick up and more ways you can get involved. 

Simon chats about the inspiration behind the CJSW Beacon Radio design that we recently collaborated on. Learn about how the design came to fruition, the local artist that created it and how you can purchase limited-edition gear to support CJSW's Funding Drive!

"In times of loneliness and isolation, CJSW can be the voice of a friend. We are here for you. Here to bring you the music you love, stories you love, the radio you love." 

Listen to the full episode here!

Connor Curran:

Live from Studio B, this is Proudly Made in Canada by Local Laundry. We are your cohosts and co-owners of Local Laundry, Connor Curran and Dustin Paisley. Today, recording not from Studio B. We usually record from Studio B, which just stands for studio basement.

Simon MacLeod:

Studio basement.

Connor Curran:

But today we're actually in a proper... This is going to be the best-sounding podcast you guys have ever heard on this show. We are at the CJSW studio station. We're at the U of C campus, and we have two very special people here. The University of Calgary Student Radio Society, CJSW Radio, is one of Calgary's only independent media outlets, and is Calgary's only campus and community radio station based on the campus of the University of Calgary, located on Treaty 7 land. CJSW operates as a non-profit society with a small team of staff and a large dedicated volunteer base. We recently had the opportunity to work with CJSW on custom Canadian-made t-shirts and sweaters, and we are so excited to be here today to talk with Jess from CJSW and Simon from CJSW about the collaboration and more of their story. Welcome. Thanks so much.

Simon MacLeod:

Thank you. Thanks, Connor.

Jess:

Yeah. Thank you so much for having us on.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Well, please introduce yourselves.

Jess:

Okay. I'll go first.

Simon MacLeod:

You go first, Jess.

Jess:

All right. So, as you said, my name is Jess. I started volunteering here at CJSW back in 2018, so it's been a couple years now. I've hosted various programs, each one kind of special and unique in its own way. I feel like the program I have now is the one I feel most passionate about. But yeah, I started as a volunteer, and I was around all the time anyway, so I'm like, why not go back to school? So, CJSW has been a huge kind of pillar of support for me in that way, where I went back to school, have a bachelor of arts and communications now, graduating this year, and then they recently welcomed me onto their team as their production coordinator, which was a dream come true because I love the staff members. I think it's just a place where I feel like I can belong for once. It's kind of the first time that I've felt that sense of belonging.

Simon MacLeod:

That's so nice.

Jess:

Yeah. I'm just so happy to be here.

Simon MacLeod:

That's fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. My name's Simon MacLeod. I am the marketing and development director at CJSW. I started volunteering here in 2012 when I graduated high school, in the first couple years of my undergrad. I did a bachelor of music in classical saxophone, which is the biggest oxymoron out there. So, obviously, that's not necessarily a career path that was, shall we say, profitable, and so I am now working a lot in arts admin kind of roles, and came back to CJSW on staff in 2018. So, my role here looks after mainly the funding drive. The funding drive is kind of the big project of the year, but also other projects, a media sponsorship with our friends like Sled Island and the Calgary Underground Film Festival.

Simon MacLeod:

The very minimal advertising that we do, we're noncommercial in our approach to advertising, and so the only advertising that we run on CJSW is really kind of local and grassroots things, arts and culture events and small independent businesses and things, and so partnerships like this with Local Laundry are obviously very important to us. Yeah. I host a weekly show on Tuesdays from noon until 2:00 called iNTaNGiBiLiTy that is Canadian classical music. It's very sort of bleepy-bloopy, avant-garde kind of stuff that is maybe not the most appealing to listen to at first listen, but I really get a lot out of it, and it's-

Jess:

I love it.

Simon MacLeod:

It's important to me to kind of get those kinds of Canadian composers out there and stuff, and CJSW gives you a channel to do that.

Connor Curran:

Very good.

Jess:

It's nice for relaxing. It's my favorite program to relax to.

Simon MacLeod:

Good.

Jess:

I work in advertising, so I kind of bring a lot of Simon's and the community partnerships, I guess, to life on the air, so Simon and I work pretty closely together, which it's been a treat, and-

Simon MacLeod:

[crosstalk 00:04:02]

Jess:

Yeah. I think it's important to the station.

Simon MacLeod:

Yep.

Connor Curran:

Absolutely. Well, we were really excited when we got connected. I think it was this time last year. I think we were down at Market Collective, and we bumped into each other, and we started chatting, and we hit it off, which was really great, and so-

Simon MacLeod:

The rest is history.

Connor Curran:

The rest is history, and every year during your funding campaign, which we'll talk a little bit about, you do garments, and they're part of the prize packs and ways people could sponsor the station. This year you said, "We'd love to get them Canadian-made, and we'd love to work with this crazy ginger guy," because you're a fellow ginger yourself. We've both got-

Simon MacLeod:

It's a match in-

Connor Curran:

... glasses and beards and-

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, a match made in heaven.

Connor Curran:

Yeah. You want to support your kind, which is really great, but we also wanted some Canadian-made, and so we produced these amazing, I love these, Beacon Radio CJSW shirts, all Canadian-made. They're printed on bamboo and organic cotton blend t-shirts and crew necks, and we're so excited. Then part of it, we actually get to sponsor Jess's show.

Jess:

Yes.

Connor Curran:

Tell us a little bit about your show, which I'm going to be on in less than an hour.

Jess:

So, my show is named Mint Condition, been on for about a year now. Of course, I've been a huge music fanatic. I have a pretty extensive vinyl collection as well, so I suppose it started with the name, because the grading system for records is mint condition if it's something new, or in good condition, good shape. That's kind of where the name came from, and I loved the idea that I wanted to bring some little gems from my own collection into the station and play it on air, but then I got kind of hung up on it because I'm like, I don't want to focus on the old.

Jess:

I should be focusing on the up-and-coming as well, and there's a lot of fresh tracks coming through the music department here, and a lot of great local and Canadian and underrepresented artists that I've really wanted to spotlight on my show. So, I kind of switched more into that and wanted to make my show have this element of discovery. So, each and every week I am trying to spotlight new and upcoming artists. New releases are really exciting for artists, so I want to be able to help kind of garner interest for that and show off the hard work they've been doing.

Connor Curran:

Absolutely. We've got a selection of songs we're going to play on your show together. I'm really excited to share them, some great local talent. But let's take a step back. Simon, tell us a little bit about CJSW and the history of CJSW, for those out there who may not know.

Simon MacLeod:

So, CJSW has a really long and very colorful history. Everybody has different sort of interpretations of when CJSW became CJSW. Our history goes all the way back to 1955.

Connor Curran:

Wow.

Simon MacLeod:

We were the Radio Club at SAIT, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and then over the years moved over to the University of Calgary when the University of Calgary opened, when we were just sort of the campus radio station. We were only broadcasting in the halls of Mac Hall and the campus residence buildings and things. It was just on campus, and then in the mid '80s we got our FM license, which is where the call letters CJSW and 90.9 FM came from. 90.9 FM is what you turn your FM radio to to hear us, and CJSW is a totally random four-letter call sign that every radio station has. So, the joke has always been what does CJSW stand for, and everybody has their own interpretation of what. The only thing that I can figure out is that the C is for Canada. In the US it's K, KEXP and that kind of thing.

Jess:

Interesting. I didn't know that [crosstalk 00:07:30]

Connor Curran:

I did not.

Simon MacLeod:

C might not stand for Canada, but most-

Connor Curran:

All the Canadian-

Jess:

It does now.

Simon MacLeod:

... if not all Canadian stations, their first letter is C, so that's what I figured out. But yeah. So, now we broadcast on 90.9 FM at 18,000 watts, which gets us all the way out to BAMF and down to Nanton.

Connor Curran:

Wow.

Simon MacLeod:

So, we reach quite far into sort of Southern Alberta circle in this kind of Calgary center of Southern Alberta. We're online, cjsw.com. You can listen live all around the world. We have listeners as far as New Zealand and Denmark and stuff. We have quite a following in Denmark, actually-

Connor Curran:

Really?

Simon MacLeod:

... for whatever reason.

Jess:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Must be the ginger beard.

Simon MacLeod:

Maybe, yeah, those Nordic folks.

Jess:

Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. So, lots of listenership online, and all of our programs are podcasted too.

Connor Curran:

Interesting.

Simon MacLeod:

So, you don't have to listen live. You can listen back on the website or subscribe on iTunes and all that kind of stuff. So, we've got right now over 110 radio programs in more than 10 different languages, all kinds of really good stuff, covering all sorts of different genres, from heavy metal to classical to punk and jazz and indie rock and all of that kind of good stuff, folk music, anything. There is something for everybody on CJSW these days, and so... Yeah, and all of our programmers, all of our hosts are volunteers. That's something that makes us unique from other radio stations in Calgary, is that we are really a volunteer-powered radio station, and do a lot of really cool stuff. Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Very cool.

Simon MacLeod:

Anything to add? Oh, yeah. Jess mentioned it earlier too, that part of what we do here is really try to support underrepresented groups, whether it's musicians and artists and bands that wouldn't get airtime on other stations, to nonprofits and charities in Calgary that don't get coverage elsewhere, and small local businesses and that kind of thing. We're always trying to kind of give back to the community and represent the underrepresented.

Connor Curran:

Absolutely.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Wow. Yeah. There's no more underrepresented than Canadian-made garment companies.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

A fun stat that we always like to throw around is prior to 1989, over 70% of all clothing consumed in Canada was made in Canada. Fast forward to 2015, only 5% of all clothing consumed in Canada is made in Canada.

Simon MacLeod:

Wow.

Connor Curran:

So, you guys are doing it in more than just your shows, and you're able to also... You're walking the walk with how you purchase your merchandise and what garment companies you support, so you're living true to your word, sir.

Simon MacLeod:

There we go. Yeah.

Connor Curran:

I really appreciate it.

Simon MacLeod:

That's the idea.

Connor Curran:

I did want to kind of ask, we kind of touched upon it, where do you guys kind of see a radio station kind of living in 2020, in today's day and age as more and more things go more digital, you don't need... Any idiot with a mic like myself can start a podcast and that kind of thing. Where do you see the role of radio stations, and in particular, a student and volunteer-led organization like this in today's modern society, and as we move further?

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. That's a really good question. I think we've been conscious of that over the last couple years. I think the whole idea of radio, most people say they listen to the radio in their cars on their way to and from work. Calgary's a commuter city, and so we know that most of our listenership is still in the car, but it's definitely the whole landscape of radio with cars going to more SiriusXM and to the extent of no radio in some cars and things, and so have to kind of adapt. Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

Over the years we've increased that broadcast range to reach farther outside of Calgary too to open up to listeners in Cochrane and Canmore and those kinds of places, but also our website, being able to listen online, listen live online, and browse through past programs and past episodes, that's been something that's been really important, and podcasting too, trying to make our programs accessible to a wider and more technologically-diverse audience on different devices and different platforms and things too. So, we'll continue to kind of go to where the listeners are and make sure that our programming is available and accessible wherever the people are.

Connor Curran:

Very cool.

Jess:

I think also collaborating as well, if somebody like you has a podcast, let's reach out and kind of support each other and learn more about what each other does. I think that's an important part of radio too, is hearing those local stories.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. A lot of our podcasts are sort of partnerships with other community groups. The Sprawl, for example, is a local journalism outlet, and they do Sprawlcast, a monthly podcast that we aired live on CJSW, and also lives on after the fact as a podcast for them too, and it gives them the chance to use our studios. We've got some pretty state-of-the-art equipment and things that we've invested in over the years and stuff, and so it's nice to be able to share that with other community groups too.

Connor Curran:

Totally. October's a very special month for you guys. It's a big month every year. October's my birthday month, so it's a very special month for me as well.

Simon MacLeod:

It's a very special month, yeah.

Connor Curran:

Tell us a little bit about this funding drive that's happening from October 23rd to October 30th.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. So, the funding drive is our annual fundraiser campaign. We only do it once a year, and it's really what we need to be able to keep the lights on and the radio broadcasting for the next 12 months. As a non-profit radio station, we don't rely on advertising sales in the same way as commercial radio does, and so this funding drive is really what we need to keep the lights on and keep the radio broadcasting. We're very lucky to have gotten the support we need over the last few years, every year, consistently from our listeners. It's been really cool to see in Alberta CJSW, and even other campus stations up in Edmonton and Lethbridge and things do quite well in Alberta. Radio has a really cool history here in Alberta. [CKUA 00:13:17] was the first radio station in Canada kind of thing, and so there's a lot of really cool history in radio here. So, the funding drive, we try to raise $200,000 over the course of a week.

Connor Curran:

Wow.

Simon MacLeod:

We do. Historically, it's usually higher than that too a little bit, so that's been really nice. But yeah, we do the funding drive once a year because that's what we need to kind of survive, and we need that funding to keep the radio on. Yeah. As you said, the funding drive goes from October 23rd to 30th, and it takes the form of a radio telethon. So, it's live for eight days straight, 24 hours a day, kicks off that Friday the 23rd at 9:00 a.m., and runs all the way to 6:00 p.m. the next Friday.

Simon MacLeod:

So, the idea is that listeners can visit our website and donate online to get some awesome prizes and swag, but also, you can phone in during the drive itself. You can phone into the station and make a donation over the phone and donate to your favorite show. Some of the hosts have sort of extra prizes and things. It's really the most exciting week of radio of the whole year. The atmosphere is filled with sort of adrenaline and excitement, and just really good energy, and a love for CJSW. Everybody here loves what they do, and loves CJSW, and it really kind of gets out there into the world during that week. It's very exciting.

Jess:

Emphasis on fun on the funding drive.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, emphasis on the fun. Yeah.

Jess:

Yeah. You get to see people you haven't seen in a long time, and I think a lot of the programs that happen during that week and a lot of the shows, they're making something super unique. They're bringing people together, and I love watching it.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Jess:

It's like we're all rooting each other on. It's really nice.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Is it going to be quite a different year this year, with COVID and everything?

Simon MacLeod:

A little bit, and a lot of it, it's tough to kind of plan two weeks out right now because things can change so quickly, so we'll see where things are at, but we're running less phones this year than we have in years past just because we can't have as many bodies here in the station at the same time. Hosts can have guests in, but are encouraged to have a phone guest in instead maybe, just again to try to avoid having too many bodies in the station at one time. But we've got really good cleaners coming in every night, and with the idea that we'll have 12 to 13 to 15 hosts coming in over the course of the day, we really make sure that the booth is spotless. Every hour or two we have to go in and clean it very thoroughly, very regularly, because we have different voices coming in so frequently and such. So, it'll look a little bit different, but it'll sound about the same. The energy and the excitement is still going to be... It's the biggest week of the whole year for us. This is the big one.

Jess:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

That's great.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

That's so exciting. Do you do any other kind of funding drives throughout the year, or just this?

Simon MacLeod:

No, it's just the one. Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Wow.

Simon MacLeod:

We only ask but once a year, and we really try not to... We'll never ask outside of this one week. It's kind of like this is the one time of year.

Connor Curran:

Because you guys have some dedicated followers. You guys have some... People who love CJSW love CJSW.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

You've got some people, I can imagine, that every year, year after year, come back and make donations and that kind of thing. That was one of the reasons we were so excited to work with you guys, because I think you guys really almost give us this certain level of cool that we didn't have before.

Simon MacLeod:

We feel the same.

Jess:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

When I see people rocking CJSW gear, I'm like, I don't know anything about this person, but I know they're pretty cool, they are with it, they know what's going on. Yeah. They're probably a lot cooler than me. So, when you guys called I was like, CJSW thinks we're cool enough. This is so much fun. This is awesome.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Jess:

That's so funny. I'll probably talk about it on my show as well, but my parents know that I'm in radio, and they're totally supportive of that, but it wasn't really solidified until I was like, "Local Laundry is sponsoring my show now," and they were like, "Jessica, your credibility, you're so cool now." So, there was a role reversal a little bit.

Simon MacLeod:

That's funny.

Connor Curran:

Turns out we're all pretty cool.

Jess:

We're all pretty cool, yeah.

Connor Curran:

But the garments and the t-shirts are always a big part of the funding week and the funding drive every year, and you've shown me some of the past examples. You've actually given me some past examples. I wear them all the time, and I still get comments from them all the time. They're like, "You guys did that?" and I'm like, "Well this one's not ours, but it's still pretty cool."

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

So, tell me a little bit about the past years and how the garments have become such a big part of the drive every year.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. I think you mentioned earlier a sort of cool factor. I almost think of it sort of like you see someone walking down the street with a CJSW t-shirt, and it's sort of like this unspoken sort of connection, "Oh, yeah. We're in this same cool club together. We love this unique thing." I bumped into somebody who was wearing a CJSW toque in a liquor store once, and I was like, "Hey, nice toque, man," and it's just sort of like you just have that split-second connection with someone over a shared love for something.

Connor Curran:

Totally. It's like the biker's wave.

Simon MacLeod:

Yep.

Connor Curran:

You know when you're ever on the highway and the bikers give a little two-finger sign?

Simon MacLeod:

Totally, yeah, the courtesy wave. Yeah, that's right.

Connor Curran:

Courtesy wave, yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, yeah. For sure. But yeah, I think the idea over the years is we want to find a way to give back to our listeners and give back to our donors as well, and so that's where these kind of donation incentives have come into play. There's ones that stay the same every year from our friends cards. Our friends card is the discount card that we offer. We partner with a lot of local businesses, and they offer discounts to our cardholders, so that friends card this year has over 150 small and local independent businesses and non-profit arts organizations and things like that, so you can get discounts at the Globe Cinema and I Love You Coffee Shop and, oh, gosh, Tubby Dog, and all sorts of really great kind of local legends.

Connor Curran:

And Local Laundry. We're on there as well.

Simon MacLeod:

Yep, Local Laundry's on there too. Yeah. That friends card is kind of a staple of our funding drive, and then things we... We try to keep a t-shirt, have a t-shirt option. The mug has become a bit of a collector's item. We've been doing mugs consistently every year for an amount of time that I don't know the exact number of. It's been too many years to count at this point, and then sweaters, and then we usually try to do something really special, a new item every year. So, in the past we did... There's a group out of New York that makes Mason jar radios. It's literally an FM radio in a Mason jar, only tuned to one station. So, you turn it on, and you only get CJSW. It's great.

Connor Curran:

That's amazing.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. They're really, really cool.

Jess:

The aesthetic is pretty awesome.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. Then this year we're doing a puzzle, and the idea there was we know you've run out of puzzles to do because everybody's been cooped up at home all year, so we're going to give you one more to do. It's a nice little puzzle. We've got a mural at the front of the station, so we turned that into a puzzle. So, it's pretty cool.

Connor Curran:

Oh, that's great.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. So, we always try to find some cool ways to give back to the listeners and to the donors.

Connor Curran:

Absolutely. Walk us through a little bit of the design this year. Both Jess and I are rocking the Beacon Radio shirts.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

What was the inspiration behind this year's design?

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. So, every year we commission a local artist to design a bit of a kind of funding drive artwork. Every year we try to kind of create a different theme around the funding drive. Last year it was kind of a space theme with interstellar signals, and the year before that was kind of a pirate treasure hunt kind of thing, FM anchor. Every year we come up with something new for the funding drive. So, this year's funding drive, obviously we are just coming into the home stretch of what's been a pretty interesting year in the world landscape and things, and so we've been really trying to provide listeners with a bit of an escape from the real world. When it comes to the pandemic, lots of media outlets are reporting the new case numbers for the day and that kind of thing, and we've tried to just take the approach of give you a bit of an escape from that, and just here is some good music, here are some good stories, here is some good radio.

Simon MacLeod:

We kind of came up with the idea of Beacon Radio. We see CJSW as a beacon in these dark and uncertain times that this year has been, and so that's where the slogan and the artwork came from, this kind of barren landscape, and CJSW is kind of at the core of what's been a bit of a dark time, and it's been pretty cool. I think right now, and especially coming out of quarantine, there's been a lot of people, many of us included, that have been just kind of cooped up at home, working from home or living at home, and not necessarily going into work, maybe laid off from work and stuff. So, we've seen actually our listenership go up quite a bit-

Connor Curran:

Really? That's really great.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, in online listeners just kind of tuning in to CJSW, and I don't know. Maybe I'm out to lunch on this, but I like to think of it as CJSW can kind of be the voice of a friend to people right now, and if you live alone or something, or if you can't go out to see your friends as regularly, CJSW, you get to know the voices on the station, and they become kind of part of your social circle, or your cohorts, or however you want to call your kind of COVID bubble, your COVID pod.

Connor Curran:

Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

CJSW's voices are your friend. We like to be there for you, and we want to be there for you through this time.

Jess:

And we get to know our listeners too. There is a listener named Bob from Ohio who texts very awesome... He texts in pictures all the time of his property and the lunch that he made or whatever, showing his workshop, listening to CJSW, and we just want to continue those friendships.

Connor Curran:

How did Bob in Ohio find CJSW?

Jess:

I know.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. Bob is our... He's our pandemic buddy. He found us online, just was kind of looking for things to... He has a bit of a farm and a bit of a workshop and things, and so he was just kind of browsing the internet, looking for things to listen to, and somehow stumbled across CJSW, and has never looked back. He texts us a couple times a day. He listens all the time, and just while he's working on his little yard, and it's great. Yeah.

Jess:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

That's incredible.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Jess:

We form friendships here with everybody.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Jess:

It's great.

Connor Curran:

Yeah. I love it. So, for anyone listening, how can people kind of support the funding drive? How can people get hands on some of these Beacon Radio Canadian-made bamboo, organic cotton t-shirts and crew necks and mugs? I kind of want this Mason jar radio, if I'm going to be honest.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. We might have to bring that one back. It was pretty popular. But yeah. So, the funding drive runs on air from Friday, October 23rd to Friday, October 30th, and you can check it all out at cjsw.com, and then during the week of funding drive you can call 403-220-5000, and make a donation online, or over the phone, or online.

Connor Curran:

That's really cool.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

I'm going to have to call in. Well, one of the other reasons we were very excited to work together, and I know we kind of touched upon it ourselves, but community building is at the heart of what both of our organizations do. You've touched upon it so much in every single story that you just told, just bringing people together, and especially now more than ever. That's our whole goal. We want to bring... You bring people together and build community through radio and through shows and that kind of thing, and we want to bring people together through Canadian-made garments, and we both think that they're powerful vehicles to be able to bring people together. What would you kind of say is your number one tactic for building authentic, engaged community? How does CJSW do it so well?

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. I think from our perspective, really what we're just trying to do is give back to the community in a way that helps to build it. We look around for people like Local Laundry, Sled Island, the Calgary Underground Film Festival, all these kinds of what we see as community builders. We don't necessarily see ourselves as the one building it. Those kinds of groups that are actively on the floor, building it up, and work to just help support them, and give them a platform to share their story, whether it's through interviews or media sponsorship or whatever kind of thing, or partnerships like this where we get to design some awesome t-shirts and sweaters and things, I'm trying to use our airwaves as a platform to elevate those kinds of community groups that are actually doing the work to build the community. Yeah, yeah.

Connor Curran:

That's very cool. How many people are at CJSW?

Simon MacLeod:

So, we have seven full-time staff, a small team of seven, and I think at this point our volunteers, I think we have over 300 total.

Connor Curran:

Wow.

Simon MacLeod:

There's about-

Jess:

There's a lot.

Simon MacLeod:

... over 130 different voices with programs on the airwaves, and they range in age from age 12 to 89 kind of thing. CJSW is for everybody.

Jess:

Yeah. People assume that it's just mainly students, but we have all walks of life at CJSW.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

So, what's the best way if people actually want to go beyond donating, want to get involved somehow, want to become one of those 300? How can people join the community?

Simon MacLeod:

Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, for starters, you can visit our website and sign up there, or just come by and come say hi. Campus is open with reduced hours and things, but you can still come by and introduce yourself. We'd love to meet you.

Connor Curran:

What are some of the things that people could do? What are some of the things that those 300 people do?

Simon MacLeod:

All kinds of stuff, everything from making buttons, we take little buttons to events and things, and we make buttons, to organize and work in our music library, which has thousands and thousands and thousands of CDs and vinyls.

Connor Curran:

It's one of the coolest places I've ever been.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. It's one of the largest libraries on campus. You can help Jess with production, audio, creating CRTC stamps and stingers and ads and things. You can work with Hailey to produce live sessions when we have live bands in and live artists in, teching live sound. You can go out to events like the Folk Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and work at the CJSW booth, and all sorts of fun stuff, and then I think the crème de la crème is eventually you get your own program too.

Connor Curran:

Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

Maybe if you stick with it and hang out, you'll get your own radio program or your own podcast program. Yeah.

Jess:

Well, and it's an interesting time right now because with the pandemic our programs have had to kind of shift in a sense. At the end of every show, we have 10-minute spaces between each show where we're transitioning hosts because of the pandemic. We don't want that interaction there in the booth, so we really look towards volunteers to kind of use that as a mini radio spot-

Connor Curran:

Oh, cool.

Jess:

... to create whatever they want. So, production and volunteer tasks and all those things are always changing and always in flux, and we're trying to think of ways to really engage with volunteers and make things exciting.

Connor Curran:

Oh, that's so neat.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

So, what kind of advice would you have, I'd love to hear both your takes on this, for someone that is looking to get into radio, to kind of start their own show, whether it's CJSW or just pop on a mic and start their own podcast? What is some great advice for people that want to kind of start their own show and get into this radio world, as it may be?

Jess:

Go for it.

Simon MacLeod:

I was going to say you should take this one. You're a volunteer success story.

Connor Curran:

Yeah.

Jess:

I guess, in a sense, because I was homeschooled my whole life. I rarely left my house, to be honest, but CJSW really helped me kind of step out of that shell that I was in, and I never imagined I could be a radio host. I'm so fumbly with my words and so insecure, but they gave me the confidence to just be myself and to have that support. Again, you feel a sense of belonging and community, and it's just constant empowerment from everybody to just go for it. So, I think because the atmosphere is so nice, you find your footing, and you have to embrace that discomfort, and then eventually you just get past it.

Connor Curran:

Yeah. I actually think that's great advice for a lot of things, because people always ask me, "I want to start a business. What's the number one piece of advice?" and that's my go-to thing, just stop talking about it, and just do it. Just go for it. Stop waiting because the only person that's going to make it happen is you. So, it sounds like it's the exact same thing, whether you want to start a business or you want to start a radio show or... Just shut up and start going after it, start doing it.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, yeah.

Jess:

If it takes time, that's okay. It's never too late to start.

Connor Curran:

Yeah, and that's the big thing, and people want to be successful by tomorrow, and I think that's the thing. That's the second thing I always tell people, is things take time.

Jess:

Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

We live in a generation of now and instant gratification. Things will take time, so be patient.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah. The other thing I think too for you especially, Jess, is I think volunteering at CJSW can be kind of like what you make it, what you make of it, and there's so many different ways that you can help out, that even if it's not this, it might be that. Right?

Connor Curran:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Simon MacLeod:

So, just come in and try out things, and you might like one thing and maybe not the other thing, and that's okay. It's kind of like, just try it all. Come in here and hang out and try some things, and you might become the next host of Mint Condition or something like that. You know?

Jess:

Yeah.

Simon MacLeod:

There's always something for everyone.

Connor Curran:

Absolutely. Well, very well said. Last thing, where can people find you at for more information, they want to volunteer, they want to donate, they want to get involved, they want to buy one of these great Beacon Radio Canadian-made Local Laundry shirts?

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah, for sure. On all the social medias, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and we've got videos up on YouTube, playlists up on Spotify, all kinds of places. The big one is our website. It's cjsw.com, and you can browse all of our programs, all of our music programs and spoken word programs. You can sign up to volunteer. You can look at the full list of friends on the friends card. You can read about CJSW, and you can check out the funding drive, all of the different donation levels and such, as well as the really, really great prizes or donation incentives that are available during the funding drive, including those awesome Local Laundry t-shirts and sweaters.

Connor Curran:

Perfect, and if people wanted to hear more of you, Simon, and hear your show, when can they tune in?

Simon MacLeod:

Oh, yeah. My show is on Tuesdays from noon until 2:00. It's called iNTaNGiBiLiTy. It's contemporary Canadian classical music, and Jess's show is...

Jess:

Mint Condition on Mondays at 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. It's a mixed block. You're going to hear a little bit of everything, but new, all new, all new music.

Simon MacLeod:

Yeah.

Connor Curran:

Very cool, and you could also find both of your shows online, and you can listen online, so if you miss Tuesday noon to 2:00, or you miss Monday 2:00 to 4:00, you can always find you guys retroactively.

Simon MacLeod:

That's right.

Jess:

Totally.

Simon MacLeod:

Yep, on the website, cjsw.com, and on the podcast on iTunes too.

Connor Curran:

Awesome. Well, I want to thank you so much, both of you, for making the time, for taking a chance on us to work together. Hopefully this is a long-term relationship, we come back every year for the funding drive.

Simon MacLeod:

The start of a beautiful friendship.

Jess:

Yes.

Connor Curran:

Yeah, absolutely. So, thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me, and I hope this has been one of the best sounding because this is... We've got proper mics. We're all in the same room. This is fantastic. So, thank you so much for having me on.

Simon MacLeod:

Absolutely. Thanks, Connor.

Jess:

Thank you for having us.

Connor Curran:

Thank you so much for tuning into Proudly Made in Canada by Local Laundry. We are your cohosts and co-owners, Connor Curran and Dustin Paisley. You can find us anywhere, anytime, at www.locallaundry.ca. For all of our Canadian-made garments, you can find out what we're up to in the community at Local Laundry and all social channels. Sign up for our newsletter, sign up for our e-blasts, and you can find all previous episodes of the podcast wherever you stream your podcasts from. Until next time.

 

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