Every Saturday, you can find Kylie Vienneau in the CHMA studios on the third floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre on the Mt. A campus. This second-year Bachelor of Arts student hosts Radio Rascal, a genre-hopping “roulette of music” with weekly themes and live commentary by Vienneau herself.
Formerly incorporated in 1973, CHMA (Attic Broadcasting) is, according to their website, “a non-profit independent local news, media, and broadcasting organization dedicated to keeping our community informed and entertained with local news, stories, interviews, and diverse programming in various media.” Most Sackville residents have seen representatives of the organization at local events. The station space itself is a calming and vibrant composition of posters, CDs, vinyl collections, recording studios, and a communal area often washed in afternoon sun. Those who enter are welcomed by chairs and pillow-covered couches. Through the organization, community members can host shows, record and edit podcasts, stream, and much more. Radio Rascal is a personal volunteer show, and Vienneau also sits on the CHMA board of directors.
An aspiring songwriter herself, Vienneau shares the value radio hosting has had in communal and personal spheres of her life. In terms of community, she can exercise her belief in the importance of supporting local artists — especially those just starting out. “I really like sharing a lot of the music I find from smaller artists especially here in the Maritimes.” She cites the works of Sackville’s Conduct Becoming and local artists such as Tess Poirier as examples. “It is hard for smaller artists to get their stuff out there, so I feel like on radio I can kind of help out that way.”
Vienneau joined CHMA in an unconventional yet fitting way for the organization’s values of community and connection: “The first time I was on radio it was as a guest for Tessa [Carroll]’s show Mixtape Sessions.” From guest appearances to stepping in at the last minute as a temporary host, Vienneau learned the ins and outs of running a show. “I know I can pick things up pretty quick, especially if it is right there in front of me and I can see and properly understand what I am looking at.”
Vienneau also shared some personal benefits of hosting a radio show: “For the longest time I felt that I needed to broaden my musical horizons and actually listen to more stuff. […] I did not know who The Rolling Stones were until like halfway through high school. I did not know The Beatles until halfway through high school,” she laughs. And when working in radio, she shares, “You start picking up on a whole bunch of these different bands, a whole bunch of these different genres.”
“Nearby artists, especially from around town, their home is here. You start to meet some of the [local] artists, because sometimes we can do interviews […] it does get really cool”.
Despite its location in the heart of the Mt. A campus, Vienneau emphasizes CHMA’s position as a hub for the larger Tantramar community, not just university students. The organization’s programming reflects this, with news covering local events, and broadcasting hosted by diverse people of all age ranges, genres, and backgrounds. Whatever your media interests, CHMA has something for you. To learn more, visit www.chmafm.com/welcome/ or tune in on the radio to 106.9FM.