Category Archives: Broadcasting 2014-15

The Hour of Code

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and there’s a huge worldwide activity going on this week called The Hour of Code, where millions of people will learn how fun and easy it can be to learn to write computer code. Whether you’re trying to build or fix your own website, animate your designs, write an app for your phone or tablet, or just see what you can teach computers to do, learning code is really important and fun. You have no idea how much you’re capable of doing right now, until you try.

These skills will help make you part of a growing work force of people who require computer science skills. These skills are becoming more important in almost every area of society, and sadly, there aren’t nearly enough people with those skills to fill important positions. By increasing your skills, you give yourself a far greater chance of landing a good job in the future, and unlock worlds of new possibilities now.

Please Join our class:
If you go to, you could just use our class code: RLQKFF

OR you can try it out at CodeHS:



Amazing radio/podcast

As popular as podcasts in general have become, there’s never been one that has really took off and captured widespread attention and acclaim. Until now. In the US, everyone is talking about this one. Time for you to find out why.

Episode 1

Serial is a very interesting show in that it mixes news (factual, straightforward information) along with the personal stories of the people involved.

I’d encourage you to find out more about the show or subscribe for yourself by visiting


Audio Storytelling

Radio and audio can be used really effectively to tell a story or form a narrative. There’s something more powerful about listening to a story and having to visualize it yourself – these stories can really affect listeners.

Your job is to come up with a topic or a story that you can tell about something that happened. You will mix in audio from an interviewee, as well as music, and edit your piece together to form a mini documentary. These are really good for highly personal stories. Tell about a tragic event, your biggest achievement, fears, dreams, etc. Interview me, a classmate, someone in the school, a family member, or a friend.

These tend to be longer than news pieces! It is impossible for me to say exactly how long your piece will be, but you want to try for at least 4 minutes. Find a story or person who has lived an interesting life, and get them to tell you the story. You will add in your voice to introduce the story, tie parts together, and wrap it up.

Here are some examples:

DNTO – How not to break up with your girlfriend...

Spark – Can Zombies use touch screens?

My Last Mile (transcript)

This one is a lot more personal, so you can show emotion and opinions here. Ideally, the story will be told primarily by the person being interviewed, but you need to talk as well to frame and guide the piece. These are a little more difficult, but can be a lot more fun.

Use good instrumental music in the background of your piece. I like the following sites (your job is not to sit around listening to music, it’s to quickly choose music you can use in your piece. I have some instrumental music available for people overwhelmed and distracted by the number of choices): – this is one of my favourites. Free songs that are legal to use in your own stories. Add search terms to search for specific instruments, genres, or feelings, or browse through and find the piece for you.



The general rule for content like this is that you need to give credit to the source, so put something in the credits at the end of your story, which tells people who created the music you’re using, and where you got it.

News Story Assignment

After completing the Pledge-O-Rama news piece, it’s your turn to put those skills to work. Create another news piece, approximately 2 minutes in length.

Choose an event or organization that you can research easily (and right away.) The simplest would be to choose a topic within the school.

You could choose a school event (school calendar) (school announcements), a school group, or a school team (sports calendar). Like our UMFM interview, you’ll need to find someone in charge or heavily involved in the event, group, team, etc. You will have to come up with some interview questions which will help you gather the information for your story. You will have to interview the person and record that for use in your piece.

Again you want to focus on the main facts (think of the 5 Ws and an H – who, what, when, where, why, how.) Again you want to be careful NOT to voice an opinion yourself – your job is strictly to present the facts – the listener can form an opinion based on that.

You need to write a script for me to look over and to keep your facts straight for presentation. You will likely need to practice that script a few times to make sure that you can read it naturally (don’t let the listener know that you’re reading.) You want to record this in a quiet place and sound serious and professional. (*note: you COULD – but don’t have to – record some background sounds to add into your piece to make it really come alive. ie if you are interviewing a volleyball coach, why not record a bit of one of their practices or games to insert into your piece. It will sound much more interesting and I will be glad to give you bonus marks for the extra effort.

News pieces typically do not have music.



UMFM Pledge-O-Rama interview

Last week we talked to Station Manager Jared McKetiak from CJUM 101.5 UMFM about the station’s annual fall funding drive, Pledge-O-Rama. This is an event that people might want to know more about.

That’s what we call “News.”

Reporting on news is called Journalism. If you haven’t been exposed to this style of writing and presenting before, here’s your chance.

Your job is to present a factual representation of this event. You need to tell people all of the relevant details that they will need to know to truly understand.

Some important points:

  • Journalism is based on FACTS, not opinions. If you love UMFM or hate UMFM, it’s irrelevant to the story. Any feelings that you might have are irrelevant and have no place in the story.
  • As such, you need to avoid using value judgement words like “great” “amazing” “terrible” “interesting,” etc. Your job is to present facts and let the listener form an opinion.
  • If you want someone to say that the station is great, then that is where our interview comes in. Anything that you want to say that could sound like an opinion needs to come from the person being interviewed. I think that Jared had some clear opinions. You might agree or disagree, but your job is to let Jared present his opinion, and for you to present the facts.
  • You will need to go back through the interview audio and select clips where Jared expresses an opinion or says something factual in a way that you can’t, or says it better than you could. You need to find ONLY the most important things that he says. YOU TELL THE REST OF THE STORY.
  • Journalism always starts out with something called a ‘lead,’ (often spelled ‘lede.’) (rhymes with ‘bead’ or ‘seed.’) This is the essence of the story in ONE sentence. Your first job is to summarize your story and come up with that lead. I’ll help you with that part by offering a suggestion. You can change it or write your own as you see fit:
    • example: “From October 17-24, 101.5 UMFM, the University of Manitoba-based campus and community station, runs its annual fall funding drive, Pledge-O-Rama.
  • Your job from there is to pick out the relevant details and present them to the listener to tell the rest of the story. Your job is to use Jared’s comments to back up that (consider it proof or evidence that you are telling the truth) and to make your story more lively and interesting. He’s a pretty passionate guy. You as the writer and reporter can’t be passionate, so let him do it for you.
  • Your factual details should be in some rough order of importance. Your next sentence should explain the next-most-important fact/detail. Consider something about how much money they want or why they need it, but the choice is yours to prioritize however you see fit.

Again, this is not you telling a story. This is you laying out facts for people. You don’t have an opinion on the subject, but you need to offer up the relevant facts so that listeners can form their own opinions.

WRITE THIS FIRST. Do NOT try to ‘wing’ this by making it up as you go along. List a bunch of facts and try to prioritize those, and list them in order. Then make a story out of that, using Jared’s words to back it up.

I would recommend showing me your script BEFORE recording this.

The audio clips can be found in the same folder as before via this link.

DO RESEARCH! The best place to go is the UMFM home page for official details:

Take your time!

Contact me via email (or in person if I’m in class that day) if you have any questions!

Bell Media Field Trip Assignment

As mentioned in class, your job is to create a radio piece based on what you learned/saw on our field trip this week. The nature of the piece can be up to you, but it is NOT like writing an essay, and it’s NOT ABOUT YOU, it’s about the stations. Your piece can be more like a news story or a documentary. It must include well researched FACTS and AUDIO CLIPS from our tour, as well as your voice explaining it all.

In a previous post, I explained some of the things that you were to research before the tour. If you didn’t have a chance to do so, please look at the list of things that I suggested and include those kinds of facts and information.

Also please remember that you will have to compare the stations next week, so putting together a piece about the stations we’ve already visited will help prevent you from forgetting/mixing up details next week.

link to tour audio – download to your computer and open from there!


Field Trip tomorrow!

Hopefully you brought in your permission slip today! If you didn’t, please tell me why! Send me an email or come see me tomorrow morning, please.

Please talk to your period 6 teacher today! Tell him/her you will be gone for at least a good portion of period 6 tomorrow. Find out if that’s a huge problem and if there’s anything you can/should do to get caught up. This is IMPORTANT!


Catch Up/Get Ready

Today I would like you to make sure that you’ve completed and dropped off all of your previous assignments! Remember, you should have completed your PowToon, a splitter, a station ID (call letters and location included) and a show introduction, as well as a 1 hour radio broadcast.

Please check your PowerSchool account to see what’s missing. For many of you, there are a lot of things. Those might have been completed but not dropped off properly, or they need to be completed ASAP. Nobody has handed in all of those things yet! There are still 2 people who I don’t think have even set up the shared DropBox or Drive folder (ahem, Liam & Logan) so hopefully someone can help them with that today!

After that, I would like you to work on the show promo that we had discussed previously. I would LOVE it if you could help me out by creating a promo for one of my shows (Tell the Band to Go Home or Steel Belted Free Range Radio) which mentions my Pledge-O-Rama shows (Sunday, October 19 and Thursday October 23) where I will be having special guests, giving away prizes galore, and celebrating our great station and our valued supporters. That should also mention the amazing station incentives (view here) OR our kick off party, October 16 at The West End Cultural Centre.


Tomorrow we are planning to go visit the studios of TSN 1290, 99.9 BOB fm, and Virgin Radio 103.1. Please do a bit of research about the stations so you can ask informed questions while we are there. You will be asked to create a short news/documentary piece about our visit, so try to know as much as you can, and find out even more, when we visit! Use not only the links above, but all of them can be found on wikipedia and other online sources (including the history of broadcasting site we used in the beginning) so you should be able to get a good sense of the stations. Here are some things to consider:

  • What is each station’s format (music, talk, oldies, hits, etc.)?
  • Who are some of the main personalities on the station (the morning show hosts are usually the most ‘famous’ and important)?
  • How long has each station been on the air? Radio stations change names/formats a lot, so what else have these stations been known as?
  • Look for big contests & promotions for each station
  • Look for celebrity endorsements, famous affiliations, etc.
  • What do the stations do to try and gain/encourage new listeners? Do they do anything to try and keep listeners (loyalty programs, etc.)
  • Any other information you think might be interesting/relevant!

This isn’t a research paper, so you don’t have to write a formal piece, but know the information and be ready to use it in your recording later in the week.

New task/challenge. Rewards for your participation…


The radio station that I work for does an annual fall funding drive. This year we’ve got a bit of a competition going on among show hosts, where we’re given some tasks we need to complete. And in this case, but “we,” I mean “you!”

We need to create show promos (commercials that advertise our shows) and in it, mention the exciting things that are going on during the funding drive, Pledge-O-Rama. We also have to mention one of the station’s incentives/events.

Promos can/should mention a specific show. If you feel like helping a brother out, try promoting Tell the Band to Go Home or Steel Belted Free Range Radio. On my Pledge-O-Rama shows, I’m hoping for special live guests, and will surely have a huge pile of prizes to give away, as well as copies of my annual “Best of” compilation.

UMFM is putting on a kick-off party at The West End Cultural Centre on Thursday, October 16. We also have some great ‘incentives’ to donate, like t-shirts, hoodies, and travel mugs.

So… wanna help out? You’ll get your commercials on the radio, and you’ll help a swell teacher (or one of his teammates) out! Maybe I’ll even buy you lunch or something…