CJAM 99.1 FM, Room B-20
401 Sunset Ave.
President of the Board of Directors at CJAM 99.1 FM
The Next Level
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The Spring of 2011 was packed with a series of experiences and feedback from so many people. I was a year into this thing and realized I was progressing at a reasonable pace. I was able to be a part of the world of music through radio - the most inspiring medium I have grown up. Thanks to the wonderful response to my hard work, I wanted to find other holes that needed repair at CJAM, as well as the university.
CJAM 99.1 FM has a great reputation. It is run by and looked upon by many reliable, resourceful individuals. The program by volunteers who have been based there for varying amounts of time is also one of a kind, going above and beyond to serve the community of Windsor-Detroit, and now the world via the station’s website. However, the listenership from students is lacking in the environment which it is situated - the university.
We have reputable faculties representing the athletics and the arts, but the works of these departments - be it Shakespearean adaptations or Playoffs games - were consistently covered. Kieran Mackenzie was someone who looked after the Athletics coverage very well, but he had also become busy with other engagements beyond the university. There was no team of volunteer broadcasters after him to continue the coverage. I approached program director Vernon Smith and asked what to do about it, how should we change the format, how much coverage could we produce. Now was the time to revive Lancer Sports.
No one had approached Vernon about Lancer Sports for some months. The Windsor Lancers had become a CIS hot topic in the previous months, especially after concluding the season with the 2010-11 CIS Women’s Basketball Championships - the first for the program, the first time a host team won on home court. It was a remarkable spectacle which we had missed. It was a disappointment because that was a blatant display of just how meek the relationship between sports and broadcasting was at our institution. In the professional world beyond the academic walls, the market of broadcasting is a wide platform occupied by dominant departments such as news, sports, and entertainment.
Although we missed coverage of the games, Vernon said we would do better next sports season. We would provide better coverage for the community. Windsor is a city that has teams revered by the local community, but also by the world, as the Athletics is comprised of players hosts athletes from different from all parts of the world. Since we did not get to broadcast any of the games, especially the playoffs, we were a let down to the community. No one attacked us aggressively about it at that time as far as I know, but I know as a broadcaster we did not serve the local coverage which communities depend on from a medium such as radio.
One thing I wanted to provide on Lancer Sports was an interview component. We already had a half hour program scheduled to air weekly to discuss everything the Windsor Lancers were doing in the CIS, but I knew it would be best to extend it to an hour. Our school was now home to championship teams in varying sports based in the CIS and we had to reflect on this for the community. Although we had missed out, it felt right to generate some coverage that was just as good, and would alternatively be high quality programming, making up for the missed events.
Professor Dale Jacobs of the English Department at the University of Windsor had contributed an essay covering the Detroit Tigers’ 1935 World Series victory to the 2010-11 Windsor-Detroit Review. The publication was assembled by writers of all types - poets, authors, teachers, historians - and it reflected on significant, historically pleasing events to the Windsor-Detroit community. Although as a station emphasized on campus-community relations, it may have seemed unusual or paradoxical to be covering a sports franchise that gets maximum exposure on many mainstream outlets. Vernon normally would not have permitted it, but since it came from a colleague from the community, he agreed quickly with me and just like that, it was permissable.
I was eager to contact Dr. Jacobs because I had read his piece twice prior. The Quiet Men had so much within it. As a fan of biographies and history of sports, it was fun to read his research and report on an unexpected victory from a team which was overlooked, but they quietly came back to win the series and the championship. He agreed to come on and I was looking forward to asking him questions about his research and the types of places he went and found to make a part of his research. As a big sports fan and history buff, I would love to go on an escapade and along the way construct a reflection of the accomplishments which have unified communities, touching the human condition.
There are many Tigers fans on both sides of the border, so I knew a lot of people would be able to find this relative to their interests, to their lives. There are many people who love MLB and anything to do with the league, so there was hope that even my friends may be impressed by this and tune in.
Professor Jacobs discussed his love for the Tigers and his love for research as well. One of the biggest challenges he had found was trying to create a satisfactory look at history with minimal evidence. There was scarce visuals, minimal archives, and some news reports about the win. After all, it was an aged story by seven and a half decades, but still it was a remarkable feat for the culture of Detroit especially. Dr. Jacobs’ essay also covered the motif of the father-son bond and I asked how it had applied to him as he wrote to publish the essay and he told me about the bond with his father. It is an unspoken connection every occasion a father and son watch a baseball game together.
Dr. Jacobs and his father often watched baseball together. He said his father was often a quiet man during the games as well, and he realized that as he got older - that his dad was not a rowdy fan, but a quiet observer for his favourite team. That was perhaps the underlying double meaning that came through and it was very nice of him to be open and honest about his relationship. He was okay about being open about the personal connection with his father and I found it very respectable that he complied to this 20 year old’s bold questions.
I have always wanted to host a sports show where I can have a platform similar to that of James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio. A dimmed environment, shying from the stadium’s plastered big brands and shining lights, speaking candidly and personally about varying topics relative to the world of sport. Covering this story with Dr. Jacobs made me realize that sport in our culture today has the biggest emotional implications. To apply that understanding to bring our student athletes who represent the Windsor Lancers would be remarkable as well and I look forward to doing it.
I also look forward to bringing Dr. Jacobs back to the program. Since the last time he was on air, he has visited Cooperstown because he is interested in furthering his research, publishing more about the sports culture of Detroit. I look forward to hearing what he has to say.