Remember that Sesame Street song, “These are the people in your neighbourhood?” Well, here’s a feature about the people at your Community Radio station!
You like to party, and we like to party, so why don’t we party together?
Join us for... Get to Know a CFCR Volunteer!
For our April 2023 Edition of Get To Know A CFCR Volunteer, we are so excited to introduce Ona-Lee Demong (she/her).
Ona knew about CFCR through the general Saskatoon community, and had a love for radio all of her life. The radio was always on at her moms, and her paternal grandparents house.
"I’ve always believed in radio as a medium and wanted to be involved in radio in some way. I was interested in CFCR for many years but felt like it was out of my reach to be on the radio. Eventually, a close friend pushed me to apply as a host, and a contact in the community had me sit in on one of her shows to check it out. I had very intense social anxiety at that time and it was a big step to take to get involved. Without the initial support I received from those two people, I wouldn’t be on the air! I was also trained by some sweet and patient hosts. I was very nervous and shaky those first training shifts on the air, but my trainers weren’t judgmental and that enabled me to get through despite how I felt, and they taught me what I needed to know to get started."
Why do you volunteer here?
I volunteer at CFCR for a lot of reasons!
First, volunteering helps me to promote what is meaningful to me. Feminism and activism are very important to me, and so is the promotion of local & Canadian music. Music, from the art itself to the entire industry that supports it, can be a male dominated game, and a lot of times, local talent can be overlooked. I believe it’s important to seek out and promote under-recognized voices, and to build local culture. Being on the radio and curating my own shows allows me to do that. I host on Hysterio!, alongside a number of really incredible people. On the show, we play music by female identified, trans or Two Spirit artists, or cis male bands that are actively feminist. We also have a 50% Canadian content requirement for the show. It’s really important to me personally to promote artists that fit into that profile. I know my shows are small scale but I also believe that I am contributing to society at large with what I choose to play, and I am grateful to have a platform like CFCR to do that.
Second, CFCR has been a stepping stone that gave me the confidence to be involved in other areas in music. I was able to get a part time position with a local company as a DJ, and I really credit my knowledge of music and experience in music curation to my time at CFCR. I am also a Juror with the Polaris Music Prize this year, which is an incredible honour, and that would not have been possible if I wasn’t affiliated with CFCR, and I wouldn’t have the skills to do it if it weren’t for all I’ve learned while hosting.
Third, because I really enjoy my shows at CFCR. By the time I start my show, the sun has gone down for the night. It’s cozy and quiet in the studio, and the huge windows overlook all the buildings and lights downtown. It’s fun to hang out and play the show I’ve created, and send my energy out into the world. It’s sweet to think someone could be driving, on the couch at home, or maybe even at work and finding comfort or happiness in what I play.
What is your favourite thing about CFCR?
I love the freedom to have a show where you can focus on anything that is important to you. I’m really passionate about music, and really love soul, R&B and funk. I think it is so cool that I can be on a show where we play female identified, trans and Two Spirit musicians and 50% Canadian content, and I can also focus on the genres I really love. It’s like a win-win, where I have the creative freedom to combine my passion with my values. However, even though I choose that very specific angle, I also have the choice to host on any type of show, I could switch to or pick up shows that are spoken word, on shows with interviews. If I wanted to have a show interviewing local musicians, or a show about Saskatoon’s art scene – I have the freedom to do that. And the staff is really supportive, and will help you get the training you need to do the show you want, which makes that accessible. The creative freedom is definitely my favourite part of CFCR.
What is your most memorable on-air show?
My favourite show was one I did just before pandemic- where the focus was femme drummers and beat makers. Women, trans a 2S musicians especially underrepresented in that area of music. It was fun to curate music for the show and it felt great to be able to have a platform where I could promote that- it meant a lot to me.
Aside from radio, what else do you like to do?
I like to go on little adventures near and far from home, cook delicious food, ENJOY GREAT MUSIC, laugh with my friends, hang with my nephew, walk by the river, do creative projects, and bombard my loved ones with Tik Toks and memes. Generally, I just enjoy liVinG LifE and being a bit of a rascal.
Who’s your favourite local musician?
The Garrys. They are really talented and hard working musicians. Not only do they contribute to the scene through the music they create, but they are also really involved in building and improving the music community from a social justice perspective. They inspire me on so many levels, an I know that the music scene in this community is better because of them.
What’s an upcoming Saskatoon event you’re looking forward to?
Really I am just looking forward to Saskatoon summer and the extra outdoor time that weather brings. I love to bike, camp and generally be outside – it is very important to my internal state and creativity. This winter, with a full time job, DJing, radio hosting, and all the other things I’m involved in, I haven’t been outdoors much. I’ve been fortunate to have it all come my way but definitely looking to enjoy everything a classic Saskatoon summer brings.
What song do you have on repeat right now?
“Blame” by the British band Gabriels. Gabriels are a new find for me and they have an incredible sound; kind of gospel/ soul/ R&B with a quality that sounds like the music is not overly edited in post-production, which brings a kind of warmth and depth that I have really been enjoying.
You can listen to Blame by Gabriels below...