On Air

Open the doors of deeper communication: Maria Pyne - Volunteering @ CFMU

Blog/FavouritesFebruary 6th 2020
Olivia Fava

Dependable. Organized. Dedicated.

When I asked CFMU volunteer and Cosmik Repercussions host Maria Pyne to describe herself in three words, that was her answer. And who could those words suit better than a highly involved volunteer who has been such a presence around the station? Not only has she hosted a show, but she's also held several management roles. She's been a volunteer here since she was a student, and now she's married with a son. That is, undeniably, an impressive level of dedication.

For this installment of our volunteering feature series, I asked Maria to share some of her radio-related knowledge and experience with aspiring hosts. There are some great insights in here as to how volunteering at CFMU can help you develop highly valuable transferrable skills, so read on if you're interested in adding radio to your resume!

Let’s start with a bit about you! What do you do? How did you get to where you are today?

I am currently a Data Analyst for Hamilton Health Sciences.

I attended McMaster and graduated with a Combined Honours Degree in Psychology and Sociology. I was considering continuing on to a Masters in Sociology when I discovered the career of Records Management. In my last year of university, I closely looked at what I did naturally and enjoyed doing in order to discover my career path. I realized I’m always organizing things and events and headed towards Record Management studying at Mohawk College. For experience I took a job as a Health Records Clerk at Hamilton Health Sciences, a very entry-level job, and worked my way up eventually to a Data Analyst. 

Any other facts about yourself to share?

I am a proud mother to my son, Mitchell, and married to the love of my life, Jim.

If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Dependable, organized, dedicated.

Can you give a brief history of your time at CFMU? How did you learn about the station and what got you interested in hosting?

I have always been interested in music. I also wanted to be engaged in an activity outside my studies. I applied as a volunteer at the station and was willing to do some administrative work the current manager needed at the time. I was given the role of Traffic Manager, which involved organizing (yes, organizing), the log books and ensuring that ads and promos were played on time. For a brief time, I was the Volunteer Coordinator (more organizing), working with the manager to match willing volunteers to the various tasks around the station. One day, sitting at the station, a person on the programming committee said to me 'why don’t you apply for a show?'. I did and that was that, I was hooked.

Let’s talk a bit about your current show, Cosmik Repercussions. Where does that name come from?

At the time I had a co-host and together we came up with the name. At the time I was really into a trance artist that combined electronica with classical elements called Cosmic Baby. We also enjoyed percussion in our electronics and the Gaia movement was big (i.e. Banco de Gaia) about the interrelatedness of cosmic elements.

How do you curate music for the show? How and to what degree does your personal taste in music shine through?

The show entirely reflects my electronic music tastes. The show reflects music that is available at the station combined with investigating through the internet.

LISTEN: Cosmic Baby's most popular album, Thinking About Myself (1994)

Has being a radio host helped you develop or improve on any skills?

I have been a very shy public speaker. Over time in my career I have been in positions where speaking in front of hospital vice presidents, directors, physicians, managers and staff has been a daily requirement. I am always nervous about speaking in public, that has never gone away, but the thing that gets me through it is the self talk I give myself – if I can talk on a radio show that is broadcasted locally and around the world, I can speak to my current audience.

There is also a very high amount of multitasking involved with a show – such as from figuring out what you want to play, logging in playlists, and using different medium sources to play music. I could be playing – LPs or CDs, using the digital library, playing the ads and promos, answering phones, or logging my playlist on Facebook and in my own excel spreadsheet. This has allowed me to hone the skill of multitasking in my job. I am able to handle a job that has several different, multitasking components and I think that the multitasking I do every week for the show has helped me greatly.

There is also a very high amount of multitasking involved with a show...this has allowed me to hone the skill of multitasking in my job.

But I think there is an important lesson I have learned with doing the show – that while I strive to do the best I can and have a great show, there will be hiccups along the way. The computer may stop working, the CD may skip, a CD I thought might be in the library may go missing, or I might press the wrong button and stop a song midway. The show has taught me to remain calm, have a back up plan, troubleshoot the situation and, once everything is resolved, to let it go and not to be frustrated that something got in the way of a perfect show. Stuff happens and that is life. 

I think in life small talk is an underrated skill. You have to make small talk in order to open the doors of deeper communication with people. Having the show has allowed me to introduce to people that I have a hobby where I host a live radio show, there is always immediate interest and then, I find, people open up and talk about their hobbies and interests.  I have gotten to know people on a completely different level by introducing the idea of having a radio show.

I think in life small talk is an underrated skill. You have to make small talk in order to open the doors of deeper communication with people.

Anything you’d like to say to your listeners?

Thanks for the support over the years. I have never had a negative comment about the show and only positive support from the listeners.

Would you have any advice for someone interested in getting started with radio?

Do the show live if you can. The skills you learn doing a live show are completely different from a show that is produced in the studio. Treat the show like a job: show up regularly, on time, and take it seriously. Be grateful. Having a radio show is not a given but a gift. Very few people get to have a show, so treat the fact you have a show respectfully.

Thanks for the support over the years. I have never had a negative comment about the show and only positive support from the listeners.

Well said! It's especially true that hosting a show at CFMU is a great way to hone your multitasking skills. You can catch Cosmik Repercussions Wednesdays 7:30-9:00 PM EST.

Olivia Fava is a 2019 McMaster linguistics graduate, the current Community Outreach Coordinator at CFMU, and the host of MorningFile. Contact her through email at cfmucom@msu.mcmaster.ca.

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