Former ‘Freq’ now having a ‘Riot’

Photo by Heather Snowdon

Dan MacInally, station manager at the Riot.
 Photo by Heather Snowdon Dan MacInally, station manager at the Riot.

Photo by Heather Snowdon

Dan MacInally, station manager at the Riot.


By Heather Snowdon, Tracy Wright and William McGinn

Call it a ‘freaky’ coincidence.

Dan MacInally started Durham College’s (DC) radio station, called the Freq (pronounced, the freak), with a friend in 2003. He is back at the station as manager of the current visual radio station now known as Riot Radio.

MacInally began working for the Student Association (SA) as a coordinator in 2010 but his job became obsolete due to the SA split, which was when the student government at DC and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) divided into separate entities. Luckily, he had high seniority and was able to take the position at Riot.

“I was hoping to start during the summer. We learned that a lot of changes were going to go on,” says MacInally.

The SA split has affected the station’s budget. Now only DC students are able to volunteer and UOIT students are unable to participate, because UOIT students no longer pay into Riot Radio like they did in the past. The fee to maintain Riot Radio is $10.95 per year for each student but this only now applies to DC students, says MacInally.

His love of music started at a young age when he began playing the guitar at age nine.

He grew up in Oshawa and started a band, travelling with other bands such as Billy Talent and Three Days Grace. He now plays his guitar with tunes from Paw Patrol for an audience of one, his new daughter Addison. His passion ended up bringing him to radio. He graduated from the Music Administration program at DC. The program is now known as Music Business Management, where he learned many transferable skills and brought them to Riot Radio.

MacInally started his new role in Sept., 2017.

“It was kind of like being thrown to the wolves,” and he is now becoming more comfortable after his experience.

Jonathan Franz, Riot Radio’s previous volunteer coordinator, showed MacInally the ropes when he returned to his craft with an updated version of responsibilities.

“He quickly adapted to the new situation,” says Franz about MacInally’s training.

MacInally’s current position has new responsibilities, such as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the radio station, screening student auditions for programs they’ve pitched. Riot claims to be one of North America’s first visual radio stations. The goal of Riot Radio is to promote education, by having students produce, write, host, create their own shows and work behind the scenes as a technician, the station’s website indicates.

In his position, he plans to expand Riot Radio.

“I feel it’s underappreciated,” says MacInally. By keeping on top of technology his plan is to stay relevant and expand on educational features and transferable skills.

In 2003 when the station was still The Freq, “it was literally a computer and a music system that streamed music online,” says MacInally.

He also plans on starting a secondary feed for Riot Radio by implementing an audio stream so viewers are not reliant on the visual aspect and they can just listen.

MacInally started as a Freq, but now he’s having a Riot.