WHAT IS PULSE?

Pulse Music Journal is Saskatchewan’s hub for music indulgers. We ‘eat/sleep/breathe’ the music and entertainment industry – plug into our outlet while we highlight new music, recap live performances, and interview the biggest names, local legends, and the newest initiatives surrounding our local music scene. We are honoured to be a leading cultural staple in the Saskatchewan music and entertainment scene.

WE SUPPORT SASKATCHEWAN’S ENTERTAINMENT & MUSIC SCENE

Whether it’s reaching out to a newly released project, musician or creating a spotlight for local talent to be heard on any of our stages, as well as opportunities to be heard opening for larger acts on our full-venue stage. We look forward to reopen and launch our newest concepts that strongly support the local music in our city. The local music scene is super important to us – we are a small city, but we have big dreams. Let’s grow and support each other – putting Saskatchewan on the map for premium music and entertainment experience.

“WE AIR UPWARDS OF 20+ HOURS OF PROGRAMMING EVERY DAY”

– JAY ALLEN

SASKATOON’S COMMUNITY RADIO IS AN INPUT AND OUTPUT OF PASSION FOR THE LISTENERS AND THE CREATIVES WHO KEEP THE STATION ON AIR

Approaching 30 years of CFCR, Saskatoon’s Community Radio has been on-air due to the hard work of the volunteers and staff. CFCR’s DIY-approach to radio allows the listeners and hosts to follow their hearts and ears – creating a genuine environment. When we say DIY (Do It Yourself) we mean it literally – for years this station has allowed opportunities for musicians, cultural figures, ‘go-getters’, and social butterflies to host their own radio show. When you tune in to CFCR you experience the thrill of catching your favourite hidden gem, learning something new, and everything in between. Their program schedule from Monday 6am to Sunday 5:30am has something for everyone – exclusive inclusivity.

We sat down with Jay Allen of CFCR to go over the history of CFCR, his first radio show, the upcoming FM-phasis Funding Drive, how the station runs so smoothly, The Radiation Flowers, and the importance of diversity at CFCR. We also chat with current and past hosts of CFCRBrendan Flaherty, Dr J, Emily Kohlert, Gillian Snider, Darryl Dozlaw, Drewski and Jay Allen’s old co-host – Charly Hustle.

CFCR FIRST WENT ON AIR IN 1991. TELL US THE STORY OF YOUR START.

JAY ALLEN: Yes, CFCR first went on the air in 1991, after a group of people (several of whom were involved with the U of S campus station that went under in 1985) spent five years working tirelessly to get an independent, Community Radio Station off the ground and on the air in Saskatoon.

I started volunteering with CFCR around 1996/97, right around the time I finished high school. I spent much of my time in high school listening to CFCR, and making homemade mixtapes from the songs I heard! I finally mustered up the courage to join up as a volunteer Host, along with my good friend Sean Grant (Charly Hustle). We did our host training together, and started a radio show called Rock & Roll Radio. Our theme song was “Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?” by Ramones, and we played lots of (surprise surprise) rock & roll music! Sean now hosts the funk/soul/R&B show, Hot Buttered Soul (Wednesday, 12-1pm). I do a regular bi-weekly slot on Pirate Radio (Thursdays, 7:30-9pm), playing a wide mix of songs and still lots of rock & roll.

Jay Allen’s love for CFCR finds its way home, with his partner Lisa and 2.5-year-old son Bennett wearing their station gear.

Jay Allen’s long-time pal, Sean Grant at CFCR – photo by D. Geiger

A COMMUNITY RADIO STATION RELIES ON COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND VOLUNTEERS.

IF SOMEONE IN OUR COMMUNITY WERE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING OR VOLUNTEERING TO HOST A RADIO SHOW – HOW CAN THEY HELP?

JAY ALLEN: CFCR’s upcoming FM-Phasis Funding Drive, which runs from September 19 – October 2. This is our station’s most important annual fundraiser by far! Right now, we’re in a much more uncertain financial state than we have been in decades, so we really do need the community’s support! Our slogan this year is “Together In Stereo,” because while we’re all still socially distancing from each other, we can all be part of a community by simply tuning in to CFCR! Please donate if you can to our Funding Drive (http://cfcr.ca/donate), there are prizes that you could win, CFCR t-shirts to take home, and we can issue tax receipts as well!

Doing a radio show is super fun, and we’re always looking for people to join as volunteer hosts, either on a regular/weekly basis, or as fill-in/casual hosts. Our weekday program schedule has many existing programs that people can join up to host, or they can submit a Program Proposal if they have something more specific that they wish to bring to the airwaves. Folks can visit us online to download a Host Application or Program Proposal (http://cfcr.ca/volunteer), or just email me at pd@cfcr.ca!

SOME WOULD SAY THAT YOU HAVE THE BEST JOB.

YOU ARE ABLE TO WORK IN AN ATMOSPHERE SURROUNDED BY MUSICIANS AND CREATIVES. RUNNING AN INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY RADIO STATION IS A LOT OF WORK TO KEEP IT ON-AIR. WHAT IS YOUR TITLE AT CFCR? WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?

JAY ALLEN: I love my job! I am definitely a lucky person to have had the opportunity to work at CFCR for the last 11 years.

I am the Program Director of the station, which means my main job is to avoid dead air! I work with our 150+ volunteer on-air hosts, to make sure everything runs smoothly on the air. I help develop new programs, and juggle the schedule of current programs and hosts. We air upwards of 20+ hours of programming every day, seven days a week. It is definitely challenging but I love Community Radio, so it’s really rewarding! Since COVID hit, there have been many new challenges to face, both on and off the air, but we have a small, dedicated staff of six people, who all wear many different hats and play different roles to keep our organization alive, and the radio content fresh.

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BEING A MUSICIAN, CURRENTLY IN THE RADIATION FLOWERS.

DO YOU RELATE TO A LOT OF THE MUSICIANS ASPIRING TO HAVE THEIR SONGS BEING HEARD ON THE RADIO? WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD YOUR MUSIC ON THE AIR? HOW DID YOU FEEL?

JAY ALLEN: One of the coolest things in the world was hearing a song on CFCR’s airwaves that I played on! I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I definitely remember it was a great feeling. It’s a tricky thing to be in a band and work at the station, and I try to keep those things separate – I definitely don’t play The Radiation Flowers when I host a radio show! While I played music in my basement/bedroom for many years, I didn’t grow up playing in bands, and I had a lot of stage fright when I joined The Radiation Flowers. I got used to it, and really it’s been a dream come true to get to play in the band with such rad talented people. I definitely relate to that joy that other musicians get when they get to perform, record, and hear their music played on the radio. I definitely hope we get back to a world with live music, that’s for sure.

CFCR’S PROGRAMMING IS QUITE DIVERSE, JUST LIKE OUR COMMUNITY.

FROM LGBTQ+ (RAINBOW RADIO), INDIGENOUS RADIO SHOW TO THE WEEKEND’S FILLED WITH MUSIC FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. CFCR HAS ALWAYS DONE AN AMAZING JOB AT CREATING A SAFE AND INCLUSIVE RADIO. IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL OTHER BUSINESSES OR THE COMMUNITY CAN HELP DO THEIR PART TO CREATE A MORE INCLUSIVE SOCIETY?

JAY ALLEN: I am always so proud of the diversity in programming we are able to offer listeners in Saskatoon. We try to foster an open and welcoming environment here at the station, for as many people as possible to come and make radio. Since it’s all volunteer, we rely on individuals and groups of people to come to the station to produce programming. Historically, it hasn’t worked as well when we go out and try to bring in specific people to do programs. At the end of the day, CFCR essentially just acts as a vehicle or conduit for Saskatoon’s vibrant and diverse cultures, opinions, and voices to be heard, and that’s really rewarding.

I wouldn’t be so bold as to have much advice for other organizations or businesses, other than to urge folks to just be cool to each other. It may not be world peace, but if we try to just respect each other as people (and stop getting our news from social media), maybe it’d be a good start.

 

CFCR’s “Together In Stereo” 2020 FM-Phasis Logo, designed by Jay Allen

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RADIO SHOW ON CFCR.

CHARLY HUSTLE: I host Wednesday afternoon’s Hot Buttered Soul, a weekly program that has been around for about 20 years. I was one of the original hosts, and have seen the show become a real staple of our station. As the name implies – and shout out to Isaac Hayes – it focuses on soul, but it’s so much more. I intro each show by stating we play “funk, soul, and rhythm & beyond”…since these genres have always influenced other styles and artists, and I like to lean into that.

GILLIAN SNIDER: The show is called Green Eggs & Ham, and as there are ten segments of Green Eggs & Ham every week with ten different volunteer hosts, I call mine ‘Green Eggs & Ham with Gillian Snider’. I have a Facebook page of the same name where I post all of my playlists, with a little blurb about that week’s playlist theme.

Green Eggs & Ham is especially fun to host because it’s a program that is open to every genre of music. I try to keep it as eclectic as possible playing everything from punk to jazz, electronica to classical, folk and bluegrass to metal, hip-hop, and lots of stuff in between! Local as well, of course. That’s what’s so amazing about Community Radio – the hosts get to play and share the music they love, and support local artists at the same time! I get to delve into my vinyl collection , which is super sweet.

photo of Charly Hustle inside CFCR, by Dorian Geiger

DR J: My program is called “Expansions” radio show with Dr.J. Initially the program aired late on Wednesday nights, but eventually moved to it’s long-standing Friday night slot of 9:00 – 10:30 PM. Musically the focus is predominantly funk, soul, disco, and rap music from the 70’s/80’s. Periodically I interview artists on the program and have had the pleasure of chatting with legendary performers including Chaka Khan, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Kool & The Gang, Melle Mel, and Big Daddy Kane. I have likely done 100+ interviews over the course of the last 18 years. 

DREWSKI: I currently host two shows at CFCR, Hot Buttered Soul and Nuthin But A G’ Thang. Hot Buttered Soul is a very fun show, I play a mix of funk, soul, RnB, disco and jazz. Nuthin But A G’ Thang airs at midnight on Tuesday nights and the theme is primarily 90s RnB, but that includes a fair amount of hip-hop and some music from other decades.

photo of Brendan Flaherty interviewing Soul Mates, by Jeshaiah David

BRENDAN FLAHERTY: I used to host The Buzz at CFCR, which was all about new music and interviews, and before that I was one of the morning Green Eggs & Ham hosts. 

DARRYL DOZLAW: I host the Thursday morning Green Eggs and Ham show from 8-10AM. I go by ‘The Reverend’ as an on-air handle.

The great thing about Green Eggs and Ham is that it is an open music show, its baseline is variety. The challenge in programming a show with basically no rules is just to make a few good ones of your own in order to funnel all that openness into a cohesive listening experience. Building each show around a conceptual ‘hub’, I try to curate a show that is enjoyable for a broad audience, whether that audience is listening for 10 minutes or 2 hours. There’s no room for a flat spot – I know every minute matters because there’s somebody out there who only has their radio on right now. 

I post all my playlists at #spindizzer as well as on my Facebook page called ‘Spin Class With The Reverend’!

EMILY KOHLERT: My radio show is called Learn to Sing, on Monday nights (bi-weekly) from 10-11pm. For years, I hosted every Monday, but in more recent years have moved to bi-weekly. The show has always been about the music that really excites me, a mix of old and new. Early on, it was all about the Canadian indie rock staples of my music evolution, bands like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Two Hours Traffic, Wolf Parade, The New Pornographers, Stars, Hey Rosetta! and so on. In more recent years, the music is really just whatever I’m listening to and obsessing about. It’s hard to describe what I play now, because my music library is pretty vast with streaming, but some artists I’ve consistently played over the years are Phoebe Bridgers, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Perfume Genius, Andy Shauf, Solids, Dead Soft, Jordan Klassen, Dirty Projectors, The Pxrtals, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Duplekita, oh! The list can go on and on.

I’ve always been really inspired by Laurie Brown who hosted CBC’s The Signal for many years, so it’s always been really important to me to make sure the show has a consistent flow and mood. I like to package the songs in ‘3-packs’, where I play 3 songs, then do a talk break to make sure listeners (especially those just tuning in) have a chance to hear what bands/artists/albums were just playing. I tell stories and background info on bands when I can, and overall I just get to have a lot of fun feeling connected to music and the community.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START AT CFCR? WHEN WAS THAT?

GILLIAN SNIDER: Around six years ago my good friend Rich Taylor called me up and said that they needed volunteer radio hosts for the Swing Shift (the daily Jazz program) and told me that I’d be a natural. I figured that it’d be worth a shot! After getting through a LOT of technical bumps and public faux-pas on the air, I finally got the gist of it and now I can’t imagine ever stopping! I REALLY love it.

DR J: I started my program in Regina in 2001 at CJTR (Regina’s community station) and continued the program in Saskatoon on CFCR when I moved here in 2002. 

CHARLY HUSTLE: I got my start at CFCR with my longtime friend and noodle bowl partner, Jay Allen aka ‘The Jay of Spades’ in 1997. We applied for a show, and somehow our applications were diverse and/or weird enough to be given a Friday night show. We eventually called it “Rock & Roll Radio” – after The Ramones song – and as has become a trend for us. We played much more than just “rock & roll”.

photo of Gillian Snider wearing a CFCR shirt

DREWSKI: I started volunteering with CFCR in 2016. I got a little taste of volunteer radio with some friends at CJTR in Regina. When I moved back to Saskatoon I volunteered at the CFCR record fair so I could get an early look at everyone’s records. That opened the door to volunteering on air. 

DARRYL DOZLAW: I had done an 18-month stint at CJTR in Regina before moving to Saskatoon. Upon arriving here, I was eager to get back into community radio because I recognized that CFCR was such a great station. 

However, it took a few years to get to a place where I could coordinate my work schedule as a bivocational pastor (yeah- ‘The Reverend’ thing is real) and school teacher to the point where there was a consistent block of time that I could commit to for radio hosting. Eventually that came together so I took the CFCR training and starting subbing in for other hosts. That sweet Thursday morning came available in September 2017 and I jumped at the opportunity! 

As a community radio host, I get to participate in the morning routines of complete strangers, most of whom I will never get to meet. I get to introduce them to some new things and remind them of some things that they may not have listened to or thought about in awhile. I get to give them a bit of a soundtrack that will hopefully revisit them through the rest of their day. I get to sign off in a good way with the kindest words I can think of: “May you enjoy the warmth of the smile of God upon your life and your love until we get to do something together again.” 

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to serve my neighbours with a morning show on CFCR.

photo of Emily Kohlert inside CFCR // photo of Darryl Dozlaw hosting CFCR from home

EMILY KOHLERT: My connection to CFCR goes way back to when I was a teenager living in Yorkton, SK. I had a personal connection to my favourite band at the time, Saskatoon’s own Volcanoless in Canada, as a couple of the members had taken guitar lessons from my dad in the past. I was interested in all things VIC, so naturally I was compelled to tune in to CFCR when I found out that one of the members had a radio show. Lévi Soulodre’s show, Learn to Sing, became my Monday night listen. I always dreamed of getting to be a radio show host, and having the opportunity to share my greatest love, music, with the world. I was really interested in the idea of getting to curate someone’s soundtrack for their evening and potentially showing them a band that could become a favourite for them, or influence their own music writing.

I moved to Saskatoon in 2011 for university, and happened to be in an Art History class with one of Lévi’s roommates at the time. We became pals through the class and mutual friends, and one night after class we walked to his house (The Bisoneer Lodge) to listen to some records and chill. I was playing the piano in the front entrance room when Lev walked in and we got to talking. The stars aligned, as he happened to be looking for a replacement for his 6-year stretch of hosting Learn to Sing. We’d been acquaintance-friends for a while, as the VIC boys knew my dad, and over the years he would send me the odd music recommendation via email. That night he asked if I’d like to host his radio show, and over 9 years later, here we are. My first solo radio show in the Learn to Sing hotseat was February 6, 2012. There’s still a blog that exists online from my early days where I’d post my playlists.

BRENDAN FLAHERTY: I got my start in high school, actually. My brother was hosting there and had to leave for 10 weeks. He didn’t want to lose his show so he trained me to replace him while he was gone. When I started, you had to check the weather by calling a 1-800 number for Environment Canada, we played the ads off of a minidisc, and I would burn mix CDs each week so that I would have enough Canadian content for a 2-hour open music show (%50!). I loved it and I continued being a sub host and then a regular host and eventually was hired to work at CFCR as the Production Manager, a job I did for 4 years. I was in charge of writing and producing all the ads and booking the pre-recording studio for the hosts. All told, I hosted at CFCR as a volunteer for about 13 years. I sure do miss it! 

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON THAT YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET OR INTERVIEW WHILE VOLUNTEERING AT CFCR?

photo of Dr J in front of a wall of vinyl

DR J: Without a doubt it would have to be Grandmaster Flash. As a young kid I fondly remember purchasing my first rap album at a mall in Calgary in 1985. The album was “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done” by Grandmaster Flash. I was instantly hooked! Years later Flash signed the album for me in Edmonton after a DJ performance. The album is now framed and hanging proudly in my music room. I had the opportunity to interview Flash for “Expansions” around 10 years ago. As one of rap music’s true pioneers and DJ legends it was an honor to hear his stories and reflections on the culture. I still have the recording in my collection and hope to get around to digitizing it one of these days. As time goes on I feel it’s increasingly important to archive these interviews as historic artifacts. They are snapshots of a groundbreaking period in music and deserve to be heard by future generations.  

CHARLY HUSTLE: The characters that volunteer and work for the station are probably some of the most interesting folks that I have ever met, and that is part of what makes the station work. Over the 23 years of volunteering at CFCR, I have met many uniquely talented people and many interesting personalities. The thing that ties them all together is a commitment to diverse and quality programming – music, talk, and beyond. Community radio is made by the characters in the community that care enough to make it better.

BRENDAN FLAHERTY: I got to interview a whole bunch of musicians and artists over the years, including Raffi, The Sadies, Braids, Alex Cuba, Jennifer Castle, and many more, but at the end of the day, the hosts are what make that place special. 

GILLIAN SNIDER: The most interesting interview was with Big Dave McLean. I was filling in for So Many Roads and Jay Allen asked if I would mind interviewing Big Dave McLean about the premiere of his documentary Bluesman at the Broadway Theatre.  I remember seeing him back in ‘81 when he opened for Muddy Waters, so I was pretty stoked to interview him. A friend of mind reminded me that I had to leave room for Big Dave McLean to talk about his film (I do so love to chat), but he was so relaxed and chatty himself that we ended up having a great conversation – and I even remembered to leave him time to play a couple of songs live! I had never been on the interviewer side of a CFCR interview, so it was a pretty cool experience that I’ll always remember!

photo of Gillian Snider inside CFCR

EMILY KOHLERT: I’ve met tons of cool and interesting people through CFCR over the years, and have many great memories in the studio. For a while, a couple friends I met through CFCR had a show called The Wonder Years, which essentially was character-driven episodic sketch comedy with music interludes. 

The person who comes to mind the most, though, is someone we tragically lost this year. Glenn Coulson, who hosted the show before me Rollin’ and Tumblin’ with The Blues, was always a joy to see and talk to in the few minutes between our shows. I always looked forward to seeing him because he’d greet me with a big smile and positive energy. With his long ponytail and quirky sense of humour, he’d tell quick stories and squeeze in music recommendations as he was gathering his CDs and vinyl and heading out the studio door. He’s greatly missed, and contributed a lot to the community.

DREWSKI: One of the most interesting people I’ve met through CFCR is the man who trained me Ron “spitfire” Spizzirri. He used to own a record store and his CFCR membership number is 1. CFCR has given me so many gifts, I am eternally grateful to be apart of such an incredible community. Please support your community radio stations and musicians.

photo of Drewski inside CFCR

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SASKATOON COMMUNITY RADIO CFCR 90.5FM, VISIT CFCR.CA

UPCOMING EVENTS

WHAT EVENTS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO…

Nov 3rd

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Nov 27th

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Dec 4th

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July 30th

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LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT’S TO COME…