Live with 90.1FM Fort Albany

By: Sam Calio, Community Journalism Trainer

A picture of the radio station in Fort Albany First Nation.

This month I’ve spent a lot of time in the Fort Albany radio station. It’s a small building tucked away in the middle of the community. My after school program, Junior Journalists, and community member Xavier Inishinapay have both been hosting weekly shows throughout September. 

I’ve mentioned Xavier before and he has now completed three episodes of Kah-wee-pehtuck show! His first show was about traditional hunting and harvesting and during his second show he interviewed foot care specialist, Patrick Rainville, and his team as well as Chief Leo Metatawabin. He ends his show with a segment called Say the Word, where he translates English words, said during the show, into Cree.

It’s always a great time working with Xavier. The show is full of fun and laughter. From the beginning, Xavier said he wanted the show to be educational but also entertaining. That has definitely been achieved. 

My big accomplishment this month was getting my Junior Journalists group, which is made up of grade 4-8 students, into the radio station. Our first show is something I’ll always remember. Our topic was back-to-school and the kids wanted to interview the new grade eight teacher. We also had the grade 5 report, which consisted of the students telling the audience what they did at school that day. On Tuesday, we planned the radio show and the live show was broadcast on Wednesday. I was worried they wouldn’t show up for the live show but some students were standing in front of the radio station 15 minutes early.

Once everyone was settled and knew their job, we were ready to go live. I sat our two hosts down in front of the mic and asked if they were ready. I turned on the mic and the show began. The hosts sounded a bit nervous but got through their part. There were lots of giggles and some long pauses but they were on the radio and that’s all that matters. Once the intro was complete I swapped in my interviewers and the new grade eight teacher. The interview went off without a hitch. Then in came the grade 5 report! One boy covered the morning events and his friend covered the afternoon. Our hosts swooped in for the closing and it was all over!

The whole show, once edited, was only around five minutes long but it was fantastic! After the show I felt on top of the world. I was so proud of my students for going on the radio and trying something new. It was such an amazing feeling. Even though it was a chaotic process and they made mistakes it was the best first show ever! 

You can find all the radio show episodes online at Peetabeck News. Xavier and my junior journalists try to host their shows every Wednesday. I’m excited to continue my work in the radio station and hope to get more youth involved. 

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