Alexia Kambanis says she’s always been curious about radio. In her third and fourth year as a Forensic Science major, that curiosity led her to volunteer at Trent Radio. It also paved the way to becoming a recipient of the CBC Radio Peter Gzowski Internship, given annually to students from four Canadian universities, including Trent. With a little encouragement from a Trent career counsellor she applied — and was selected.
“I think what I love most about radio is finding stories and getting people who don’t think they have one to share what they do,” says Alexia. “Also, learning how to produce different aspects of radio, from doing the interview to recording and editing. Radio is really rewarding and fun.”
Pitching and chasing
One of the key skills a public radio producer must have is pitching ideas and turning those successful pitches into stories that work on air. The training Alexia received in the first week of her internship, which began online in May, focussed on those fundamental skills. The following week she jumped right in, successfully pitching her first story idea (about Peterborough’s inaugural poet laureate) to the CBC regional morning program, Ontario Morning. She’s also embarked on “chasing” guests for interviews.
“Calling people up for interviews is challenging,” acknowledges Alexia. “I hope it will make me braver about reaching out to people I’ve never spoken to before. I don’t typically talk on the phone too much, but this opportunity with CBC is giving me insight into how producers do this, and what works.”
Music and crime
Alexia’s love of radio was initially focused on music rather than talk, including an appreciation for the eclectic programing on CBC’s music station, CBC Music. While at Trent Radio, she was able to record interviews with local musicians, and also worked as an administrative assistant. In the latter capacity, she helped Trent Radio director of programming Jill Staveley (whom she says was “very encouraging and supportive”) with some of the many administrative tasks behind the scenes.
A fourth-year Forensics Science community-based research project with student newspaper, The Arthur, allowed her to explore her journalistic side, writing about crime reporting in local Peterborough media. While she doesn’t foresee herself working in labs as a forensic scientist, she says her studies at Trent helped her discover an interest in research and how it’s applied to media.
For now, she’s focusing her curiosity about radio through her internship, which she calls “an opportunity to learn about how radio is created at the national level.”
Learn more about experiential learning opportunities at Trent.