As spring approaches, Durham College (DC) students may be off to placement or anticipating the summer. While some campus facilities will be closing, DC’s visual radio station, Riot Radio, is keeping its doors open.
Dan MacInally, Riot station manager, runs the day-to-day operations and oversees the volunteers and staff. He says during the spring, due to the transition in volunteers, they actively try to fill new positions.
“A large number of our students are going off to placement, so we’re quickly moving to try and figure out how to fill those spots,” says MacInally.
Riot Radio facilitates multiple programs from the School of Media, Art and Design (MAD) at DC, including Journalism – Mass Media, Broadcasting – Radio and Contemporary Media and Music Business Management. Students from DC’s Student Leadership program also volunteer the station.
MacInally says he hopes first-year students from these programs will take advantage of Riot over the summer.
“A lot of first-year students going into the second year will hopefully volunteer for the summer,” he says. “[It] would help prep them and give them a bit of an advantage.”
Eldin Atkin, a Broadcasting – Radio and Contemporary Media student and part-time employee for Riot, says he got his start in first year. Johnathan Franz, who was the previous volunteer coordinator for Durham College Students Inc. (DCSI), encouraged him to pitch a show.
“A classmate and I decided why not?” he says. “I’ve been hooked, I can’t get out.”
He adds regardless if students are interested in learning the tech-side of broadcast or hosting a show, the summer period “is the time for you.”
MacInally says Riot helps students build hands-on skills and portfolios which can help them secure placements and even future employment.
“One of the biggest benefits about Riot is students get great experience on air,” he says.
Atkin says his experience at Riot has been “really good” and attributes this to the station’s culture.
“Riot is a place where I feel like I can be myself,” he says. “I feel like I know what I’m doing, I can do what I want, and make sure it’s done well.”
Atkin also emphasizes the importance of Riot Radio to the campus community and encourages students to give it a chance.
“Riot Radio is one of the most important things we have on campus,” says Atkin. “It is an outlet for people who don’t think they have an outlet. Even if you think you’re shy, you should try it out and see what happens.”
In the past, Riot Radio has also been a part of Summer Shorts, a one-week collection of workshops where students aged 13-17 can get hands-on experience with what Durham’s School of MAD has to offer. Students pay a fee and can sign up for any of the workshops in any order.
“The whole thing is based around teaching them how to work in media art and what we do,” says Atkin. “We taught students how to be on a radio show, how to do podcasts and newscasts, all kinds of stuff.”
As DCSI comes under new student leadership after the current election period, MacInally says he hopes they’ll be more involved with Riot Radio going forward. Over the summer, DCSI will have a weekly radio show featuring updates on what’s going on with the student union.
Riot Radio is also saying goodbye to one of its part-time employees, Liz Morris, who is also a student at DC studying public relations. Like many of DC’s students, Morris is headed to placement.
“I’m hoping she’ll be back, we’re going to miss her,” says MacInally.
“We’ll still be graced by Eldin,” he adds with a laugh.
Students interested in volunteering at Riot Radio can fill out and submit an online application by visiting dcstudentsinc.ca.