I basically take the show to air, mixing the different elements and voice-overs to compose the stories and working the soundboard. I push the buttons that fire the clips and also line up guests from around the country. I write stories and bits of copy, too, which is why it's not just a technician job but an associate producer job as well.
I graduated in 2009 from Ryerson's School of Radio and Television Arts (RTA). I specialized in radio journalism because that's what I'm passionate about, and I saw a gap in the market.
I worked at my high school radio station as shock jock Sideshow Cesil, playing top 40 music. I thought that's what I was going to do, but taking courses on radio journalism opened my eyes to the stories you could tell with the medium. I wanted to do something more than play music.
Ryerson didn't teach me what button to press - you learn that on the job. Ryerson taught me how to think about the industry, how to think about radio, how to compose a story and what makes a good story. The courses that dealt with radio journalism were great because the classroom was a newsroom: a classmate is the senior producer and another is the host, and you're the guy who's mixing the story that day. If you don't know how to say the name of a Pakistani city, you call a Pakistani restaurant to find out, just like we do at the CBC.
I've never had an easy day working at the CBC, and that's why I love it. Every day is absolutely insane. If you have too much news, you're scrambling all day long to mix the stories. When you don't have any news, you're racing to make something that resembles a newscast. I love that challenge.
I've been around the world and across Canada with the CBC. I've travelled for National Radio News to cover the U.S. presidential elections as a producer and technician. I even went to the Bahamas on my own to chase a story on poaching that was aired on the CBC Radio show Dispatches. That was a great experience because you're just a guy with a recorder and a microphone. You can bring the listeners to that place and tell a story.
A lot of our reporters in the field file stories from iPhones and iPads, and they can mix on those devices. There wasn't a big web or online component to RTA. We have reporters filing from Tahrir Square on iPhones and different devices, and that's something that could be taught.