As some of you may or may not be aware, I have started volunteering at local community radio station CKUT. In an effort to encourage more people to get involved in community radio I will ocassionaly post my thoughts on what I have been up to as I begin my radio journey. This is the first of my "radio daze."
Because the station gets so many CDs the music library has pretty much reached the bursting point. With over 65,000 CDs and countless vinyl albums crowding the shelves, the staff has been forced to archive all the cassettes just to make some space but clearly that is not enough so new shelving is being installed that will hopefully give us some more space to store the approximately 200 CDs that are recieved at the station every week. After a general orientation session at the station two weeks ago where myself and about 7 other new volunteers were given a tour of the station (housed in an old frat house just off the campus of McGill University), meeting the staff and getting a general idea of what community radio and CKUT in particular is all about, I returned the following week for a music library orientation session as I have decided to lend my hand with the reorganization of the music library. Not the glamourous job that some of you might think of when you think of radio but neccessary none the less, I have begun the task of CD shifting which is a fancy way of saying that I am moving CDs from one section of the library to newly installed shelving in another section, making sure that I leave enough space for future CDs. Similar to wandering the aisles of a good library, the music library is an amazing resource with all kinds of music, the vast majority of which I am not not at all familiar with. You can spend days here just roaming around and randomly picking CDs and records just based on their covers and playing them in the listening room that adjoins the library. While I was working last night I had everything from the Ramones to Universal Honey to a great Rainbow Quartz promo sampler blasting in the background. If I’m not careful, I could see myself losing days in this place as I spend less time working and more time just playing records!
While I have signed up for production training and will eventually make my way to a training session for learning the ropes in the broadcast studio, jobs like maintaining the record library are just some of the hundreds of tasks that need to be accomplished at every community station around the world and they will accept help from anyone with open arms. While moving CDs from shelf to shelf is mildly physical work, it certainly doesn’t seem like work. In between reading CD liner notes and blaring records, before I knew it time had passed and I had to go and I didn’t even get a chance to listen to that Minus 5 track on "Working Class Hero – a Tribute to John Lennon" that I stumbled across in the "various" section. Oh well, there is always next week.