Canoe FM programmer wins station’s first award
By Vanessa Balintec
On-air host of Tuesday Night Sessions David Mair received the Best Indie and Rock Music Award for his program from the National Campus and Community Radio Association, marking the first official award Canoe FM has taken home. The award was announced during the NCRA conference from June 3-6, which saw representatives from 37 stations come together.
“When you get something like this happening, this award coming in, it’s a bit of a shock,” said Mair, who also hosts Fish Fry Saturday Night on Canoe. “I wasn’t expecting it, it was right out of the blue. For about three or four days I’ve been trying to think about words there are that I feel... and I guess [it’s] flattering, you’re gratified, you’re humbled. There’s a bunch of different words and none of them I’ve found yet are really the right one. But you know, it’s a great feeling.”
Mair’s program showcases music from musicians, producers and studios and has listeners learn more about their biographies and stories from their career. Ron Murphy, Canoe FM studio engineer, says it was Mair’s unique show and his natural confidence on air that helped him win the award.
“Dave’s got a lot of knowledge,” said Murphy. “The way he presents himself so confident on the air, and he’s got a little bit of a background in radio. We’re lucky to have him. He puts a lot of research into his shows. He works hard at it.”
Mair says it takes weeks to get from the conception of an idea to the finished written show. His hard work and dedication to his program showed the staff how much he loved being on air.
“For the longest time, he would drive up from Aurora to the station here coming in at 9 o’clock at night,” said station manager Roxanne Casey. “He drove for a couple years, every single Tuesday night, and hardly ever missed.”
Mair is grateful that the spirit and drive behind the Canoe volunteer team gives him the opportunity to get creative with radio.
“Someone answering phones, or typing out letters, regardless of what it is, they’re all valuable contributions to make this station as successful as it is,” said Mair, who’s been programming for close to seven years. “They create the whole atmosphere and allow people like me to do what I like.”
“It’s in my head,” he said about his creativity and passion for music. “Thank goodness that Canoe’s given me an outlet.”
Although his passion for music and radio have been present throughout his life, it’s support from the community that helps motivate him to continue.
“Radio can be like a vacuum,” said Mair, who dabbled in radio as a young adult in Oshawa. “You’re talking into this microphone, and you really don’t know if the person on the other end is about to fall asleep, or whether they’re getting up to turn the radio up. You really don’t know. You’re working in that vacuum, and you get little pats on the back, a call every now and then from a local listener, and those are the kind of things that keep you going.”
Casey said this award from the NCRA, which has received hundreds of submissions since the award beginnings in 1993, has the potential to inspire confidence in other hosts within the station to submit their own programming.
“I think we sometimes forget that we are as good as the rest of them,” said Casey. “Some of the hosts don’t want to put their programming forward because they think ‘Oh well, we’re just a little community radio station.’ But in the whole scheme of things, we’re a pretty great community radio station, and we’re well respected throughout the country in campus and community stations.”
Mair hopes this brings more attention and volunteers into the station.
“Maybe it’ll bring a little bit more attention to Canoe,” he said. “Maybe next time they’ll look at some of the other shows that are submitted that I think are great shows. Maybe it’ll encourage some other folks, listeners who are maybe on the fence. You can have a lot of fun doing it.”