Susan Huebert, a frequent Community News Commons (CNC) feature writer, has published more than ten stories since first attending CNC training sessions in the fall of 2014. Reading the titles of her articles, one immediately picks up what matters to this correspondent.
Huebert incorporates humour into her piece, Minimalism: what can I get rid of next? She may be making light, but she’s not really joking. She is writing about how we relate to our community and the world around us.
In her articles, Driving on vegetables: Jon Isaak’s recycled oil car, and Learning about monarchs at the Living Prairie Museum, she speaks out about how we affect our environment.
She reminds us how important compassion is in articles like From high income earner to unemployment and depression – anyone can become homeless, and International Day for Eradication of Poverty: It’s time to act.
When Huebert took part in CNC citizen journalism sessions at the Millennium Library in October, 2014, she identified and embraced tools of expression which came naturally to her.
At one particular session, however, she realized a related communication vehicle might lie within her grasp. Huebert heard CKUW 95.9 FM News Director, Michael Welch describe opportunities for volunteers at the University of Winnipeg radio station.
A complete broadcast neophyte, Huebert was not afraid to take on something beyond her comfort zone. She hardly skipped a beat, eager to explore her potential as a program host at the University of Winnipeg station.
The station, located above the 4th floor buffeteria of Riddell Hall in the University of Winnipeg, provides guidance and support to volunteers interested in learning how to produce radio content. Such a person is Susan Huebert, and the program she’s been drawn to is called People of Interest.
When asked what motivated her to take on the challenge of radio broadcast, Huebert explains, “I think that several different things drew me to the radio volunteering. I was interested in learning a bit about the audio part of communication as opposed to the written part, and I thought that working with CKUW would be a good chance to learn something new.”
She adds, “I also thought that volunteering on the radio would give me a chance to talk and think about various issues that are important to me.”
So, how does it work and what does Huebert do at CKUW?
It’s Tuesday morning, Mar. 17, St. Patrick’s Day. An energetic, taped female voice pipes over the air waves: “CKUW 95.9 FM. Original spoken word programming. . . created by volunteers in the community, made possible by generous listener support. . .” Up comes the program theme music. “People of Interest, with host, Susan Huebert, and News Director, Michael Welch. And guests. People of Interest.”
That morning Susan Huebert interviews four well-informed guests about diverse topics ranging from rights and liberties to affordable housing to wheel chair access to kidney health. Striving to make her guests comfortable, to shed light on the stories and to keep the conversation rolling, Huebert has carefully researched the subjects.
The People of Interest program is described on the station website as an “…independent local and national news show, heard thrice weekly on CKUW 95.9 FM. People of Interest is hosted and produced by local volunteers from the Winnipeg community…providing alternative and in-depth perspectives on the issues and current public affairs affecting the University of Winnipeg, the core neighbourhoods and the greater Winnipeg community.”
Huebert’s show runs an hour. She devotes as much time as it takes to prepare for the interviews in advance, sits before the mike for the hour, and finishes off air, in the Production Room. Post program on St. Patrick’s Day, she is learning to clean the program summary.
Headphones left behind in the Control Room, Huebert follows colleague, Julien Cooper to the sound edit booth. They sit in front of computer running Sound Forge Pro software, an advanced audio waveform editor. Cooper demonstrates how to “clean up” the recorded program summary. It works like magic, for Cooper.
More buttons and switches for Huebert to learn. She is undaunted. That’s who she is and that’s what she is after – skills, knowledge, the tools to tell the stories she cares about.
When the program is wrapped, she plans her next show. There is lots going on in the city. She will find interesting stories and interesting people to join her on CKUW air waves, every Tuesday, from 8 to 9 a.m., as she pursues her passion as a storyteller who cares about community.
Listen to Susan Huebert hosting People of Interest on CKUW 95.9 FM here: