Happy Birthday CJTR

Regina’s community radio: almost old enough to drive

photo by Darrol Hofmeister
DGS Samurai Champs and Nick Faye will perform at CJTR’s Anniversary Party, among others.

Cover | by Stephen Whitworth

CJTR 15th Anniversary Party
The Exchange
Saturday 5

The world was a different place 15 years ago. In that nutty country down south, George W. Bush was in the White House, probably already planning to use the Sept. 11 attacks as flimsy justification for the ill-considered (and ISIS-making) invasion of Iraq (a country that had nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaeda). In Canada, Jean Chretien still had a couple of years ahead of him as prime minister but if I recall correctly, he wasn’t speaking to Paul Martin any more.

Provincially, Roy Romanow was gone and his successor, Lorne Calvert, hadn’t yet marked a year as premier. On the opposite side of the aisle, Elwin Hermanson, leader of the not-yet-surging Saskatchewan Party, was eyeballing Calvert’s chair (which he’d never get).

In Regina, Pat Fiacco was in his first term as mayor. Not only did Pat NOT yet dislike Prairie Dog, he had two covers — neither nasty, incidentally — in his future.

Beloved city councillor Mike Badham was still with us. R.I.P., Mike.

We didn’t yet have an overpriced plaza, no one was talking about knocking down Connaught school (because that would be insane), rents were still affordable and the stadium was still crumbling. Sure, the economy had started to pick up, but we weren’t in boomtown yet (arguably, most of us never got to be).

Personally, I wasn’t even 35 yet and my mom was still around (miss you, mom). In fact, in November 2001 I was just a baby editor two and a half years into my Prairie Dog reign of error.

For Prairie Dog’s Nov. 1, 2001 issue, at my old boss Mitch Diamantopoulos’ (hiii Meetch!) urging, I commissioned a story by some punk named Emmet Matheson on a fledgling community radio station that was about to hit Queen City airwaves.

“Radio On: CTJR programming director Jamie Watson gets ready for community radio,” read the cover text.

CTJR, CJTR. Potato, avocado. Oh to be that young and stupid again.

Community Radio Today

It’s fun to look back at the past but it’s better, I think, to enjoy the present. And CJTR’s present, 15 years in, is looking pretty damn good.

So good, in fact, the station’s throwing itself a party.

On Saturday Nov. 5, CJTR opens the station up to the public with an open house from 11 till two. It’s a chance for Jane and Joe listener to meet some of the on-air talent, and maybe a few musicians (and mayyybe even make a donation).

That evening, the station will blow the doors off the Cultural Exchange with a multi-band extravaganza including such acts as Library Voices, Blake and Belle, Megan Nash and this issue’s Halloweenified cover models, DGS Samurai Champs and Nick Faye.

The price of admission? $5 at the door, which is just stoopid-cheap.

Arguably best of all, CJTR will be selling a compilation album at the show. It’s called Got It Covered: Saskatchewan Musicians Cover Each Other’s Music, and it features 15 artists, including Snake River, Tyler Gilbert, The Bystanders and more. It’s a must-get.

I gave CJTR’s 2016 executive director a call to find out more about this anniversary stuff. Josh Haugerud is a year and a half into the job.

Not surprisingly, he lurves it.

“I started here June 1, 2015,” says Haugerud, a Saskatchewanian who grew up in Craik (“The Best Town By A Dam Site”). “Each day is so different, but a lot of what I do is the business side of things.”

It’s a challenge sometimes.

“As a non-profit, you sometimes can’t afford to have an accountant. You can’t afford to have an HR rep. You have to do all those things yourself,” says Haugerud, who says the station has five employees and a LOT of volunteers.

“Today I’m planning this 15th anniversary party, basically just going through and setting up tasks from 10 a.m. till 1 a.m. the next day,” he says.

Haugerud might be the business guy but he’s also a musician who plays drums and guitar. Obviously, that adds to the gig’s appeal.

“I can’t say it enough, but I have one of the coolest jobs in the world,” says Haugerud. “I got to give away one of the Western Canadian Music Awards a couple of weeks ago, and just hang out with musicians, and just be a part of Regina’s music scene — which is so incredible right now.”

“Amber [programming director Goodwyn] does a lot of the programming stuff, but I’m here when it happens,” says Haugerud. “I get to literally hear it through the wall. It’s amazing. Right now as we’re speaking, Zachery Lucky is on the other side of my wall, playing live on Redbeard’s show.”

Is Haugerud going to break out any instruments for the anniversary?

“Unlikely. I’m going to leave that to the professionals,” he says.

Doesn’t matter. Sounds like the good times will continue for Regina’s loveable community radio station.

Whatever order its call letters are in.