By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Is radio dead? Some think so. Many say so.
I guess they haven’t listened to Indigenous Waves Radio on CIUT 89.5 FM.
Even better would be for doubters to be on the show or in studio as the show happens.
I had the opportunity of doing both last Monday.
My slot was between 4:35 and 5pm. I showed up early, set up my camera to videotape the show, and watched Indigenous Waves in action.
Susan Blight and Lindy Kinoshameg were on the mics with their first two guests as Jamaias Da Costa did tech in a separate room.
There was a calm feel in the studio. Both hosts and their guests chatted, everyone had smiles, and words flowed easily around the room. There were no “ums” and “ahs” or trick questions to stump guests. And the hosts did their research; they knew what they were talking about.
4:30 pm hit and the first half of the show was done. The three guests were thanked for their time, a song was played followed by Lindy reading some news and community announcements.
I shook hands with the previous guests and I sat in a chair, put a pair of headphones on, and moved the mic in front of me to the side. I don’t like things in front of me so close. But it’s radio. Susan looked at me with an expression that said, “Hello! You’re on the radio!”
After realizing what I had done (which made no sense) I started laughing. Susan also laughed. I had to cover my mouth so my giggles didn’t hit the airwaves.
After Lindy was done reading it was Black Coffee Poet time.
Lindy and Susan introduced me to listeners, welcomed me to the show, and asked me to read a poem.
“We are very lucky because Jorge has agreed to do a reading for us,” said Susan.
They Still Around?, a poem about me reading After and Before the Lightning by Simon Ortiz on the subway, is what I read on air. (Watch the video to see and hear.)
“Meegwetch! Thank you, that was fantastic!” said Susan after I finished.
Then came the questions.
You never know what you’re going to be asked by interviewers. Even when they tell you the focus of the interview things can change and questions that surprise you can come up.
None of that happened with Indigenous Waves.
Not that I don’t welcome the unexpected but it’s great to see people stick to what they said is going to happen.
Susan and Lindy, both followers of blackcoffeepoet.com, knew what was happening on my site and asked about past, current, and future weeks. Throughout the 25 minutes we talked about why I started my site; my special week Remembering Reena Virk Week; local band The Johnnys; the benefits of blogging; who reads and views blackcoffeepoet.com; the political impacts of blogging; electronic vs print media; and my activism.
Like my site, my interview on Indigenous Waves Radio was about me, the guest, but it was also about so much more. The hosts weren’t solely focused on Indigenous issues. They asked questions about my work on different communities and made links.
Although the room was plain, had a table and chairs and a few mics, there was lots of good energy filling the space.
I felt at home.
The comfortable feeling didn’t just come from being around people who looked like me and who had similar beliefs, there was a care in the room, a welcoming feeling that felt like a hug.
The two hosts had only worked with each other two times before our show but it seemed like they’d been working together for years. They knew their roles, sat and talked in a relaxed manner, laughed a lot, complimented each other, and remembered that it was about teamwork and the listeners.
Lindy and Susan described one another as “awesome” a few times.
There was no ego in the room. Neither Susan or Lindy fought for air time. True to the shows name there was a flow, an energy, a force. They took their job seriously but were not anal. There was a real community spirit throughout the entire interview: sharing, smiling, learning, and giving thanks.
After many good questions and a flowing conservation I ended with a poem about my mom: I Use My Mothers Last Name.
I was honoured to surf Indigenous Waves Radio!
Tune in Friday November 23, 2011 to watch a video of Black Coffee Poet on Indigenous Waves Radio!!!!