by Tatenda Chikukwa
The University of Regina is increasing its outreach and communication through a new bi-weekly radio program on 91.3 FM CJTR Regina Public Radio called, University Matters. It is a 30-minute radio magazine show about the happenings at the university, airing at six o’clock on Thursday nights. The new program is created, hosted, and produced by U of R External Affairs representatives Dale Johnson and Jay Branch.
Johnson, who has a degree in political science, was in radio for 25 years before moving into communications. He has worked for news stations such as CJME NewsTalk, CJWW Saskatoon, and CBC Regina and Toronto. Branch worked with Johnson as a reporter for 22 years. He spent 14 years with the Canadian Press Broadcast News, and has also worked at other news outlets in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Branch said, “The University of Regina is one of the only universities in Canada without its own radio station [and that is why this program is] a great opportunity to tell the stories that are going on at the University of Regina.”
University Matters is a way to reach the wider community and the people who are not on campus. Johnson says that this program caters more to the general public because students can get information on campus or through e-mails. The program not only covers events happening on campus but also includes interviews with important research chairs and other interesting persons such as Bruce Walsh, publisher at U of R Press.
Johnson said, “It’s sort of like raw, uncut information so that people can get, as they say, unfiltered information.” The long form segments give more in-depth information than a regular news clip.
The first show broadcast had a segment about the new nursing program in Swift Current. It covered students’ opinions on how they are adjusting, and what it means to have a nursing program in their city. The first show also aired Branch’s interview with U of R president, Vianne Timmons, on the aboriginal aspects of campus and the internationalization of the university. There was also an interview with research chair, Peter Leavitt.
Johnson said partnering with CJMR is great because, “we need them to get our word out and they need stuff to put on the air.”
The university already has a history of collaboration with CJTR. Fourth year students at the School of Journalism have produced a bi-weekly news magazine show called 29:45 Overtime as part of their advanced broadcast class. The 2013 winter class produced and broadcasted three shows on CJTR that explored the themes of trust, intervention, and promises in Saskatchewan.
Keith Colhoun, CJMR general manager, said that the mandate of the radio station is to provide community information and the U of R is a big part of that community.
He said, “We kind of see ourselves as somewhat of a defacto campus radio station.”
Johnson said that feedback for University Matters has been positive. The program may bring the U of R more international attention, especially since the podcasts of the show are available on the CJTR website. The producers hope to see the show grow and be placed in a better time slot like the morning or evening commute so more listeners will hear about events and programs happening at the university.