CHLY programmer profile: Ashta Cormier

Denisa Kraus
The Navigator

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Photo by: Denisa Kraus.

Interwiew with the host of The Sweet and Sour Variety Hour, a weekly multi-producer radio mosaic.

N: Why The Sweet and Sour Variety Hour?

AC: I wanted to give an opportunity to folks who can’t necessarily commit to producing a weekly radio show. There’s a lot of people who come to CHLY and have really great ideas for shows but can’t do one every single week. The purpose of the Variety Hour is to give them time on the radio to produce a segment whenever they can. There are some segments that happen once a month or once every other week, and there are even some that happen every week.

N: Who do you hope to approach with your show?

AC: The audience I have in mind is our whole broadcast range. We have lots of listeners from the Gulf Islands who rely on CHLY for their source of media. But the audience I want to reach is basically anybody who’s listening.

N: Which parts of hosting do you enjoy the most?

AC: I love interacting with the community members who are producing or presenting the segments. It’s a fun experience to come into the studio, be on the microphone, wear the headphones, work the board and controls, and know that you’re reaching so many people. It’s really gratifying for me to be able to host people in the studio. It’s a delight.

N: How do you prepare for each episode?

AC: I’m always in correspondence with the segment producers either on a monthly or weekly basis. I give advice about how they can submit their segment or how they go about presenting it on the air. There’s also time in between in which I have to come up with my own segments. Those tend to be audio clips that I come across in my daily life that I keep mental note of and want to share with the 1.5 million people who may be listening at any given time. Or, it can be music that I really like or a TED talk that I find interesting. So generally it’s correspondence with the segment producers and compiling the stuff that I’ve come across in my own life.

N: What was the most life-altering thing you’ve learned from hosting so far?

AC: I could probably speak about the other show that I co-present on CHLY, People First Radio and point to the segments that really altered my life, but off the top of my head, there’s a segment that I feature regularly in The Sweet and Sour Variety Hour called “Rap News” produced by Juice Media from Australia. These clips are 8-10 minute long hip hop raps which are news about what’s going on in the world. I definitely think that some of the stuff I’ve learned in those clips really helped me to understand the world. (laughs)

N: Where in Nanaimo do you go for inspiration?

AC: I go to the station. I’m really lucky as a CHLY programmer because I also work here full-time. So unlike the other programmers that I interview about their shows, I have the unique perspective of being here all the time. There’s no other place in Nanaimo that I’ve found that can measure up to CHLY in terms of where to find inspiration. This place is like an inspiration soup; like a medley of so many different people and different perspectives. You can’t walk in here and not be inspired in some way.

N: If you could have your dream show?

AC: I guess I might answer for many CHLY broadcasters, but if I could I would love to be paid to be on air all the time.

N: When you aren’t hosting your show?

AC: I have a sail boat, I like to scuba dive, I have a great garden, and just harvested ten pounds of tomatoes yesterday. I have six chickens that lay half a dozen eggs a day. I love hiking and all the great outdoors of Vancouver Island where I spend a lot of my time outside of CHLY.

Ashta Cormier works as the Production Coordinator at the Radio Malaspina Society.

The Sweet and Sour Variety Hour airs 8-9am every Wednesday on CHLY 101.7 FM. Listen to the podcast at www.chly.ca.

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