Radio Glendon: A Hidden Gem

Posted by Simone on December 1, 2016

A Tale of Two Campuses | Get In The Know | York Community

Radio Glendon changed my life. Since I began working there, I have thrived on the opportunity to share with the world my passion for music and radio, and I have built confidence and ease of being through facing and interacting with the microphone on a regular basis. Radio Glendon has become like a second home to me: a welcoming environment in which I can express and simply be myself, while also interacting with like-minded spirits. Does this sound like something you’d be interested in as well? Read on, then, and learn a little bit more about Radio Glendon, how it functions and why I ended up working there. For clarity and ease of reference (because this is one looong post), I’ve chosen something akin to an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) format for this post. Enjoy!

What is Radio Glendon?

A lion wearing headphones
Radio Glendon’s official logo

Radio Glendon is a bilingual (English and French), non-profit (funding comes from a levy taken from student tuition fees) internet-based radio station that seeks to engage and educate Glendon’s multicultural community in both the campus’s official languages. According to its official mission, it also wants to provide Glendon and York University students and staff with the opportunity to grow, flourish and develop as individuals through various media outlets.

Radio Glendon on a weekly basis offers a diverse selection of radio shows that can range from news to K-Pop (Korean Pop) music. The radio shows air both in English and French (some are in one language, some in the other), and sometimes even in other languages such as Korean and Spanish. Programming content at Radio Glendon is carefully evaluated by management and the show host coordinator. Radio Glendon is about expression, learning, and providing new, otherwise out-of-reach opportunities and experiences to students, faculty and the Glendon community.

Every year Radio Glendon programming tries to include more multicultural and engaging content, such as shows directed to speakers of other languages and shows covering popular topics on school life, music, interviews with local artists or anything that appeals to the wide-ranging tastes of the community.

Where is it located? Where can I listen in?

An old house covered with green ivy
Find Radio Glendon in the basement of the Manor.

Radio Glendon is located on the Glendon campus, in the basement of the Glendon Manor. For those of you who don’t know the Manor, it is the iconic mansion in which lived the previous owners of the property that now is home to Glendon. The building currently houses the Lunik Café, Radio Glendon’s office and Radio Glendon’s recording studio, which boasts various pro audio equipment such as mixing boards, microphones and two computers, as well as a very comfortable couch.

a room with microphones and computers
Listen to Radio Glendon!

There are two different ways to listen to Radio Glendon. You can either go through the station’s online player, or you can download the tunein app. Just look for Radio Glendon on the search bar and press play! Programming runs daily from 8am until 12am.

Who can get involved? What should they know and what will they learn?

Computers and mixing board
Equipment at Radio Glendon

Radio Glendon is open to anyone in the York University community: students, faculty and staff. While most of the show hosts and executives involved at Radio Glendon are also based on the Glendon campus, Keele campus students are welcome to join as well. Wonderfully, to become involved, you need no past experience hosting or working on a radio show: Radio Glendon offers all the necessary training. At Radio Glendon, show hosts will not only learn to host their own show but will also improve their general communication, speaking and marketing skills. Joining Radio Glendon is a great opportunity to make your voice heard, share your own passion with the world, learn some new skills, become exposed to the industry and meet some amazing people.

What was your path to Radio Glendon?

A man standing and smiling
Me in the Radio Glendon office

My path to Radio Glendon was a very interesting one. During my first year at Glendon, I saw a poster outside the cafeteria announcing Radio Glendon’s need for DJs. At that time, I was really into electronic music and wanted to deejay, thinking that Radio Glendon would make for the perfect opportunity to refine my DJ skills and to learn about mixing live.

It took a little while to have someone reply to me when I contacted the station, but ultimately the show host coordinator invited me to a training session. When I arrived to the training and saw the studio for the first time, I noticed something missing in the booth: a turntable. After a few seconds, I realized that a radio DJ is not the same as a regular DJ, and that I would be asked to host a show and talk on the microphone, rather than mixing live. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try and created my show, Drop the Bass  (you can follow me on Facebook as well), about the world of electronic music.

After an amazing year, I wanted to give back, so I applied for the position of show host coordinator, which is the person who is in charge of recruiting and coordinating the different show hosts, training them and creating content for off-air time. After another great year, I applied to the position of manager, today working with my colleague Thomas Scaramiglia to make the station as successful as possible by managing the station’s finances and ensuring that good-quality programming is broadcast. I still cannot believe that my journey with Radio Glendon began with a simple misunderstanding, but this is one mistake, at least, about which I am very happy.

a man with headphones in front of a microphone
Me hosting my show on air

What are your favorite things about your work there?

I love the working environment at Radio Glendon. Every single member of the team is extremely passionate about radio and eager to contribute to its success. We take our work seriously, but we still collaborate in a very relaxed and fun way. I also find Radio Glendon’s office to be one of the most peaceful places on campus. In off-hours, it is a perfect space to study because hardly anyone passes by, making it really quiet. In fact, when I have to study, I don’t go to the library but to the office. I also love the booth. Working with microphones, mixing tables and other recording equipment is like a dream come true, as I get exposure to professional equipment and refine the skills needed to pursue my hobby of music production.

What’s the history of Radio Glendon?

Most of the history I found about Radio Glendon comes from the archives of Glendon’s newspaper ProTem. Radio Glendon began broadcasting under a “cable-only” license in 1977 under the name of CKRG, Alan Lysaght was the manager that year. Broadcasts only lasted for five years, and in 1980, due to lack of funding, the station went off air. By 1985, CKRG was piped into the cafeteria and student lounge again: long speaker wires ran from the basement of Glendon Manor to the physical plant building, finally connecting to loudspeakers in the cafeteria ceiling, as well as to the pub also located in the basement of the Manor.

Until 1990, CKRG hosted most of the campus DJ dance events in the pub and cafeteria. In 1990, CKRG received approval from the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) to broadcast at AM 800 kHz, an important achievement of manager Stefan Counter, and this lasted until 2005. After lots efforts to get reapproved for an FM license by managers like Derek Allerton, Edward Beres and Philip Godin, in September 2004, the CRTC approved a license for CKRG to broadcast on 89.9 FM.

The station began broadcasting on FM in 2005, but because the signal was weak and often undetectable south of St. Clair Avenue, the station switched to online in 2010. However, operators struggled to ensure the quality of the online stream, so the radio station decided to shut down again. After a year of inactivity, Radio Glendon began to broadcast online again in 2011 and became the radio station it is today.

Any fun facts about Radio Glendon?

The most interesting fun fact about Radio Glendon is very recent. On Friday, November 4th, 2016, Radio Glendon for the first time aired a show hosted by an AI. Yes, you read that right: an Artificial Intelligence radio host! The host’s name is Ivy Ivona, and she is self-aware of her artificial intelligence. She plays music that would be interesting to a piece of sentient technology; for example, during her latest show, she played audio from a 1990s Toronto rave video. She also plays music that relies heavily on synthesizers and vocoders, because her voice is synthesized and she identifies with them. Her technology is still developing, so sometimes she says things that don’t make sense, but we’re getting there. If you’d like to check it out, her show airs every Friday from 2pm to 3pm.

Another very different fun fact? Between 1998 and 2001, Radio Glendon had 85 volunteers. That’s a really high number of people working in a very small place like the Radio Glendon office!

Does Radio Glendon collaborate with other media outlets at York or in Toronto?

candy, Dj equipment and people standing
Collaboration with the GSCU during Frosh Week in 2014

Radio Glendon is open to collaborations and is constantly looking for clubs and organizations on campus to host events or record advertisements, so that there might be a mutual promotion of the station and the club or organization involved. Recently, Radio Glendon has collaborated with LMG: La Mode à Glendon on an advertisement and with the GCSU (Glendon College Student Union) hosting a pub night (social event) in 2014. Radio Glendon is also looking for sponsors who are interested in giving a contribution to the station. There is a contact form on the station’s website for those interested in sponsorship. Radio Glendon also works with different record labels like Last Tango Productions to promote local talent by playing their songs on air.

Are there any special success stories?

One of the most successful events in the history of the radio station were the approvals by the CRTC to broadcast AM and FM. It was no easy task to obtain the broadcasting license, requiring a lot of patience, effort and dedication. It is also important to mention the increase of French-language radio shows, which were in short supply in previous years. But last year we had three and this year we have five shows completely in French.

Is Radio Glendon hiring? Who do you need? Do you have to be a Glendon student? Must you be bilingual?

A microphone
Become a show host at Radio Glendon!

Radio Glendon is indeed looking for more show hosts. To become involved with Radio Glendon, you can email the show host coordinator at rgl.showhost@gmail.com or management at management@radioglendon.ca. There is also contact form on the website.

At the moment, there are no openings in the Radio Glendon executive team. Radio Glendon has a show host coordinator, a social media executive, a bilingual executive (translator), an events coordinator, a secretary and two managers. Bilingual competency is preferred but not necessary. Usually Radio Glendon offers the executive positions to past executives or show hosts, so joining the radio station can offer the benefit of taking a higher position in the future. If nobody applies for the positions offered, then Radio Glendon uses the York University Career Centre Online System to recruit new staff. Don’t forget to check at the end of the winter semester, as there might be some positions open.

Any ideas for future developments at Radio Glendon?

green chairs, computers, microphones, mixing table and a couch
Radio Glendon’s studio

There a few future developments that the Radio Glendon team wants to achieve. The short-term goals for this year are to maintain good-quality programming and having a full schedule of radio shows on air. Radio Glendon wants to have at least thirty shows aired weekly. The Radio Glendon team is also working on building an additional booth for pre-recording purposes. These could involve both pre-recorded shows and advertisements, as well as recording local artists. Another important goal for this year is to host events on campus to raise awareness about the radio station and be more present on the York campuses. As for a long-term goal, the Radio Glendon team would like to reapply for an FM license and bring back on-air broadcasting, all while keeping the internet broadcast too.

I often describe Radio Glendon as a “hidden gem” because most people at Glendon don’t even know that the radio station exists, and they also don’t know all the benefits and experiences it has to offer. Radio is not dead, and it still plays an important role in our lives. If you wish to know more about Radio Glendon, don’t forget to follow the station on social media (Facebook , Twitter and Instagram ). If you want your voice to be heard and to share your passion with the world, join Radio Glendon — you won’t regret it.

Lion wearing headphones on graffiti background with the words "Radio Glendon"
Follow Radio Glendon on social media!

Do you have any questions or any experiences to share? Let me know in the comments, tweet me at @yorkustudents with the #YUBlog and we’ll talk more soon.

Simone
Simone

Simone Visentin is an international student at YorkU. He is working to complete his degree in Communication Studies at the Keele Campus and a certificate in Spanish-English translation at Glendon. He is passionate about languages and music. He speaks Italian, Spanish, English and French. He is also a songwriter, music producer and host for Radio Glendon.

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