JUNE MD of the MONTH:
1. How did you first hear about CJUM (UMFM)?
Like any music nerd looking to hear new sounds before the ubiquity of the internet, I scanned the dial and read the alternative weekly.
2. How long have you been at CJUM? What is your history there?
I’ve been involved with the station for nearly 15 years and this October will be 12 years since I started my full-time job at the station. My initial involvement was through a friend who was hosting the weekly chart countdown show and asked me to co-host. We moved to an interview / new music show for a couple years and then I moved to Ireland for graduate studies. When I got back the Program Director job (which includes the MD duties) became available and I decided to abandon political studies and do something I enjoyed.
3. What are you most proud of accomplishing/changing at CJUM since you became MD?
A lot has happened over a decade-plus so it’s hard to pick one thing, but we only have two full-time staff (the Station Manager and myself) and the two of us oversaw a huge renovation to the station about six years ago that gutted the place and rebuilt it from the ground up. One of the things we added was a dedicated live band room (it used to be the same room / equipment used for voice-tracking and pre-recording shows) and have had around 400 bands in to do sessions since then. The facility has become a calling card for the station.
4. How does CJUM make itself known throughout Winnipeg? What sort of things do you do to connect with the community?
We’re big promoters of local acts, and partners with venues and festivals and in addition to having our banners at shows and our logo on posters, we have two live remote stream units and have been using them to get out in the community more. We’ve live-streamed Nuit Blanche, the Big Fun Festival, Islendingadagurinn, hockey tournaments and more on our second stream and even used the unit to do live shows during our annual pledge drive.
5. What do you love most/dislike most about Winnipeg?
Love: it’s a city with a really vibrant arts & culture scene that’s also fairly affordable to live in.
Dislike: It’s the mosquitos during the summer and the wind chill during the winter.
Hate: endemic problems with racism around our Indigenous population.
6. What artist/band have you heard for the first time this year that has impressed you the most?
I can never pick just one so I’m going to cheat;
International Pick: Beyond The Things I Know by Sefi Zisling. Funky jazz from Tel Aviv.
Canadian Pick: Landing, by BEYRIES. This one’s going to be on my Polaris Prize ballot. https://beyries.bandcamp.com/album/landing
Local Pick: Headroom by TUSK. All too brief psych rock record from a new group.
7. What still-to-come 2017 album release are you most looking forward to?
A tie between Grizzly Bear and HAIM.
8. We’ve lost a lot of huge artists in the past couple years (David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Chuck Berry, Chris Cornell). Can you share a story about how one or two of them might have influenced your early love of music?
Pretty much the entirety of my musical history can be traced back to George Michael (I’d go deep on Prince a little later). Wham!’s Make It Big was the first album I ever got, in 1984 when it was new and I was eight. I’ve always been a voracious reader and that extended to reading the liner notes and it was there I discovered that my favourite song on the album – “If You Were There” – was not an original tune but in fact a cover of the Isley Brothers original off of 3 + 3. In searching out the original I went down the soul and funk rabbit hole and things just blossomed from there. Fast-forward to August 2016 and my wife and I ended up naming our fourth son (you read that right) Isley, all because of George Michael (and Andrew Ridgeley).
9. What’s the one thing you can’t do without?
Cliched response (still true): my family.
Daily necessity: coffee.
10. What’s the best gift anyone has ever given you?
For my 35th birthday, my wife surprised me by sending me to Toronto to meet up with a friend and attend a series of Blue Jays games (I’m a lifelong baseball fan, Go Twins!). It was super elaborate – she got a friend to message me saying her dad had never been to a baseball game but would be in Toronto and where should he sit to experience the games from different perspectives. I ended up unwittingly picking my own seats and she had arranged with the Station Manager for me to be off work and informed me the morning of the flight that I was leaving that day. I still have to live up to that particular gift.
11. What is your favorite food or meal?
Tacos with a side of kosher dill pickles.
12. What is your favorite TV show from when you were a kid?
I didn’t watch a ton of TV as a young kid (I had those parents) but I can distinctly remember getting to stay up “late” during the summer months to watch M.A.S.H. in syndication before bedtime.
13. Lightning Round:
Dog or Cat? Dog(s) – I’ve got two beagles
Coke or Pepsi? – A&W Root Beer
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
City or Country? City
Watch TV or Read A Book? Read A Book
Mountain or Beach? Mountain
Dine or Delivery? Delivery
Hipster or Nerd? Nerd
Beard or Clean Shaven? Beard
Pants or Shorts? Pants
14. Do you find current US politics fascinating or do you think think everyone there is crazy and count your lucky stars you live in Canada?
Canada’s got its own historic problems and questionable leadership so I’m not about to launch stones from this particular glass house, but I will say that US politics is fascinating in the crane your neck as you pass a car crash fashion and I’ve become an avid / disheartened political podcast listener of late.
15. And finally, and most importantly, is there such a thing as too much frosting on a cake?
Oh, absolutely. Though my sons would consider this heresy.