After raising $94,671.82 during their annual fundrive, CJSR, the University of Alberta’s volunteer powered radio station, has even more to celebrate after garnering six national awards for its programming.
The National Campus and Community Radio Association’s (NCRA’s) 2020 awards acknowledge programming from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. CJSR programming brought in awards in categories such as best indie or rock music show, news, and syndicated radio show, the Breaking Barriers award, best in sports broadcasting, and the Neskie Manuel Award For Aboriginal Affairs And Culture Programming. CJSR also brought in honorable mentions in documentary and creative production.
Wen Chan, a fifth-year sociology and psychology major, and Michelle Deng, a third-year pharmacy student, collaborated on an episode on Asian representation for CJSR’s show, Adamant Eve. Their collaboration won the NCRA’s Breaking Barriers award, for programming that fights discrimination and oppresion to promotes equity,
“For me, seeing Asian representation in media — and queer Asian representation in particular — was something really scarce, so I wanted to draw attention to that,” Chan said.
The episode featured an interview with the band cutsleeve, a queer, East Asian rock group based in Toronto, about how they navigate their experience in a space that is predominantly occupied by white men.
“I remember them saying ‘sometimes you just have to take that space’ and that really resonated with me,” Chan said. “As Asian women in particular, you’re told not to take up space. Often asian women are depicted as really submissive.”
Additionally, the episode included a conversation between Deng and Chan about their shared experiences.
“I wanted to talk with a peer about how [the representation of people of colour] impacts our daily lives and how we kind of navigated this as young people of colour, and also talk about what it would look like to have that representation.”
Both Chan and Deng expressed their surprise at having won the award, Chan adding that their success marks a unique opportunity to receive feedback.
“In a way this radio community, the boundaries are really blurry,” she said. “You throw this piece out there but you don’t know who your audience really is. [When we received the award] it was like, okay, other people see the importance of this piece in this moment.”
Best in sports broadcasting goes to CJSR program on athletics in feminism
Autumn Moronchuk, who recently graduated from the U of A with a Bachelor of Kinesiology in April of 2020, won an NCRA award for best sports broadcasting for her program on athletics in feminism.
Moronchuk was inspired to record the show after talking to one of her friends, a woman who competed in throws on the Panda’s track and field team.
“She’s competed in events like hammer throw, which is sometimes thought of as a more masculine event because it’s a show of strength,” Moronchuk said. “Lots of times women are made to feel like they don’t belong in those types of sporting areas or competitions.”
Her broadcast was also part of the show Adamant Eve, a space that Moronchuk highlighted as particularly generative of work that is invested in inclusivity.
“We have guests of lots of different identities and backgrounds and we try to create a community that’s very welcoming,” she said. “We’ve become a very close group.”
Moronchuk was excited to hear she had won the award, shouting out both Deng and Chan in their success as well.
“I just feel really proud of our show, and how we’ve created this content that was recognized as award-worthy,” she said. “I’m so proud of my fellow creators at CJSR in general because we did a really great job.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic made social distancing a priority, Moronchuk was happy to find community with those at Adamant Eve.
We ended up doing Zoom calls with each other and creating content,” she said. “It was something that really helped me through the isolation that we dealt with. Being able to be creative with a group of likeminded people was something really special that I cherish, especially during these times where it can be easy to feel kind of separated from everyone.”
CJSR brings in award for piece on Métis Bilingualism
Diana Chiang Jurado, who recently graduated from the U of A with a masters in medicine, also reflected on how being a part of CJSR has provided her with a refuge.
“With all the struggles of graduate school, it was like my time, my me time I guess,” she said. “The moment I arrived [at the station], I forgot about the research I was doing; it definitely made being a student easier.”
Jurado, who is originally from Equador but moved to Canada six years ago, was inspired to do an independent piece focusing on Métis bilingualism after noting similarities between the group and her own Mestiza identity.
The term Mestiza or Mestizo typically refers to those who have mixed European and Indigenous South American heritage, though Jurado explained that nowadays, the term can describe any person who is of mixed race.
“From what I could conclude [after doing the show], there are a lot of differences between Mestizos and the Métis people,” she said. “Unlike the Métis, we are currently the majority population. The entire historical process is different.”
One of the guests Jurado interviewed was Les Skinner, a language teacher who speaks Michif, French, English, and Cree.
“I felt so lucky,” Jurado said. “He was able to share all this information about Métis identity, culture, and heritage.”
Her independent piece won the NCRA Neskie Manuel Award For Aboriginal Affairs And Culture Programming.
What Jurado emphasized about the experience is the responsibility outsiders studying Indigenous communities have in ensuring their research contributes in some way to those communities.
“The [Indigenous] community somehow needs to receive something from that, even if that is some form of education others in Canada,” she said. “That’s a small way to give back to the community for allowing us to interview them and do some research about them.”