13-year-old learns radio on the Lake Cowichan airwaves

As 2016 draws to a close, Radio Cowichan is pleased to announce it has another student DJ who’s taken to the airways

Bryden Danis takes time to prepare a list of all the music he’ll be playing on his new show at Radio Cowichan. Danis is one of the student DJs at the community station who’s learning the ins and outs of broadcast.

As 2016 draws to a close, Radio Cowichan is pleased to announce it has another student DJ who’s taken to the airways and two more who are interested in starting shows in the new year.

Bryden Danis, 13, is a Grade 8 student at Lake Cowichan School and has launched his own show at the community radio station called The After School Hours with Bryden. (He said the show name is still subject to change.)

“I find it fun,” said Danis. “It’s fun to pick out my music and have a lot of other people listen to it other than my mom and my grandpa. And them not liking it.”

He described The After School Hours, which starts at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, as a mixed bag, with a focus on rock. However, he also plays folk, country and jazz. As he finds his footing planning out shows, he’s started focusing on one genre each week, rather than jumping all around, which can be jarring to listeners.

His show runs two hours, and compiling enough music to take him through till the end has been one of the challenges. Also figuring out what to say and avoiding the dreaded “dead air” he’s been learning about from Shelley Coburn and other volunteers at the station.

Although he’s still learning, the experience with Radio Cowichan has been positive so far.

“I wanted to give it a try,” he said. “I thought it would be good for public speaking because right now I can’t speak in front of a large group, but I can speak to people if I don’t see them. It’s easier if I do that. I have a YouTube channel and I have 3,000 views on one video, and I was talking clearly [on that].”

These are exactly the kinds of skills Coburn hopes that students will take away from the station.

“I think it’s good for students like Bryden because he knows computers already but now he’s learning more depth, and learning about the radio and recording side of things,” she said.

Coburn said she hopes that by getting involved with the station, students will gain insight into new career paths they might not have otherwise considered. Kakike Mackay, for example, who has two shows at Radio Cowichan, is now thinking about going to broadcast school after she graduates, said Coburn.

“It’s another area for these kids to see there’s something out there for these kids besides working in restaurants or sitting in an office,” she said.

Radio Cowichan is hosting its AGM in February (date still to be determined) and Coburn said the station is hoping to recruit more volunteers in the new year.

“We’re looking for volunteers with a knowledge of computers, so we don’t have to worry about teaching everybody,” she said.

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