Frank Moher, a VIU Creative Writing and Journalism professor, has been appointed to the position of Director of Spoken Word by the Gabriola Radio Society.
Moher, a resident of Gabriola Island, who recently completed a ten year term as artistic producer of Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre, will be responsible for developing a training program for the station and producing spoken word pilot projects.
“I have been a big supporter of the idea of a community radio station on Gabriola for a long time and I have been helping out with the logistics of the project for eight years,” Moher says. “It is fantastic to finally be at the point of creating some programming for the station.”
Moher says that the position will allow him to learn more about audio and radio production from the dedicated team of volunteers in the Gabriola Radio Society: “It is interesting new territory for me to get trained in while I am helping people do the same.” The veteran journalist currently teaches new media classes in subjects such as digital storytelling and online magazine production. He is also editor of the online magazine <www.backofthebook.ca>.
In Nov., 2011 the CRTC awarded the Gabriola Radio Society a licence to operate CKGI, Gabriola Co-op Radio, at 98.7FM. The spoken word pilot project is funded by a $17,850 grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada. In addition to funding the Director of Spoken Word position for eight months, the grant will be used to purchase equipment and train volunteers.
Ken Zakreski, president of the Gabriola Radio Society and former CHLY developer, says that he is excited to have Moher involved in the project. “Frank is a rock star,” Zakreski says. “He is very adept at developing spoken word and handling word in a performance venue.” Zakreski says that he forged a strong trust with Moher while completing his undergraduate degree at VIU, including the development and publication of Pier Magazine.
Zakreski says that spoken word encompasses anything from poetry slams, long form documentaries, short form documentaries, news, and ambient reporting. He notes that the spoken word pilot project is a very difficult task to undertake: “Typically, a radio show that’s an hour long would take three hours of prep time for a music show [but] for an hour long spoken word show it could take seven to nine hours prep time.”
Zakreski says that he has already received around 30 program proposals. He maintains that future programming will reflect the Gabriola Island community: “We’ll be talking about our issues, such as barking dogs, lack of water in the summer, too much water in the winter, and trees falling down.”
Moher adds that community radio will also be necessary in case of an emergency. “It would be essential to have this service that is specifically about Gabriola and what to do, and allowing people to remain in communication with first responders.”
“Beyond that, there just happen to be a lot of really talented artists, writers, social activists on Gabriola for whom this station can become a voice. We have CHLY, which is a fantastic community radio station, but it can’t really be expected to be Gabriola’s station—Gabriola needs its own.”