While Canada’s claim to have the first radio station to broadcast in the world (Montreal experimental station XWA in 1919) is still debated, what is certain is that today the country’s approx. 950 radio stations reach deep into our communities, listened to by 76-78% of adults. As in other provinces, Ontario’s radio stations [see directory] broadcast (and webcast) to an increasing ethnic and multilingual diversity.
Injured workers and their advocates have long been using the enduring power of radio to get their message across to both the local and wider audiences. Most recently (Jan. 9, 2018) on the Larry Fedoruk late afternoon newstalk show (St Catharines, CKTB 610), Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups president Willy Noiles discussed deeming and the WSIB’s use of the minimum wage to cut benefits. Morning radio is also a prime time for airing hot issues. Programs such as CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning (99.1 FM) have frequently included segments on workers’ compensation reform, such as WSIB policies on pre-existing conditions (interview with David Morales, Sep. 12, 2017). In Sudbury on CBC Radio’s Up North program, Janice Martell revealed findings from WSIB docs about the McIntyre project (Jan. 3, 2018) and psychologists were able to raise their concerns about the WSIB (Nov. 5, 2015), while Rebecca Casey has been interviewed on Thunder Bay CBC Radio’s Superior Morning on her research into chronic health impacts of work injury (June 15, 2017). For other recent CBC clips on workers’ compensation from around the province, go to a list on CBC Player.
The state of our workers’ compensation system is a topic that has been addressed on weekly shows focussing on worker and social justice issues, such as Fortunato (Lucky) Rao’s weekly Labour News program (CHHA 1610 AM Voces Latinas, Thursdays 8-9 p.m.) and CHHA’s Spanish language program Buena Paga (Sat. 3-4 p.m.), which regularly covers issues of workers’ rights and protections (IWC lawyer Kathrin Furniss was interviewed earlier this year on the Workers’ Comp Is a Right Campaign).
As a 2017 federal report emphasizes, in an era of increasing media concentration, community radio stations such as these play a vital role in “providing a forum for citizens to … speak to each other about important local issues.” Other examples include OPIRG Windsor’s The ShakeUP campus station CJAM 99.1 FM which, in tribute to Rolly Marentette, last year replayed a 2013 interview held with the injured worker activist ahead of Day of Mourning – his message still so relevant. Talking Radical Radio , carried on several campus and community stations, also gives a voice to grassroots activists, including recently Sang-Hun Mun and Hannah Alexander of Injured Workers Action For Justice. Interviewed by Scott Neigh about their struggle for improvements to WSIB health care benefits and services, the Oct. 31 2017 episode can also be heard on Soundcloud or the program followed as a Rabble.ca podcast.
- Wikipedia. 2018. List of Radio Stations in Ontario.
- CCVS. Tips About Getting an Interview on the Radio or TV, and What to Say Once You’re There.
- Numeris. 2016. How Canada Listens.
- McCreath, Ross. 2006. “Radio – From Crystal Sets to Satellites.” History of Canadian Broadcasting.
- Blue Mountain Radio (KQBM 90.7) 2016 Sep.3. Heart and Soul Radio: Labor ( 3 hours – classic labour songs with commentary on state of US working conditions)