Radio station provides hands-on learning
Photo: CFNU teaching mentor Will Yuzicapi
Oct 5, 2023
by Belinda Nelson
CFNU The Stream went live on June 11, broadcasting from its internet streaming radio studios at First Nations University of Canada.
“The onus here is to create a safe, but realistic radio environment for the students,” said CFNU program director and teaching mentor Will Yuzicapi.
The first version of CFNU was a low-power station that reached listeners on the Regina campus for a few years in the mid-1990s. It operated out of a small trailer under the supervision of Shannon Avison, associate professor in the Indigenous Communication Arts program.
The station served its purpose at the time, but students didn’t have a chance to put their stories out to the wider public.
With the arrival of online streaming technology, Avison was finally able to kick things up a notch and give students a taste of what it’s like to work in a real radio station with listeners all over Turtle Island.
A grant from the Inspirit Foundation helped equip two working studios.
To get the station up and running, she turned to Yuzicapi, an experienced broadcaster who founded The Creek FM, a station that aired out of Okanese First Nation for over 20 years.
“I had the time, so I jumped in,” said Yuzicapi.
He assists Avison in delivering the INCA 291 Community Radio class, which gives students a chance to learn how to launch and brand their own community radio station.
Whether a student chooses to stream live on air or create a podcast, they are mentored on preparing a show, conducting an interview, asking questions, delivering a story, pacing of speech, using the mic correctly, voicing, recording, editing.
When Yuzicapi shares radio teachings in the classroom, and then students experience the lesson hands-on in the studio, he sees that “lightbulb moment.”
“It does give you a nice little sense of accomplishment to at least know you are getting through and that’s really cool,” he said.
After more than 30 years in the radio business, Yuzicapi’s passion is now to pass his knowledge along.
It used to be rare for Indigenous voices to be heard in the media, but now there are more opportunities for Indigenous people to create their own platforms, he said.
“We can send out our own voice now. The goal here is to get Indigenous minds and voices into the media.”
You can listen to CFNU at http://www.cfnuradio.ca