A work in progress as I try to consolidate at least part of my work for CBC in a single place. Some of the early stuff sounds rough to me, but you can definitely hear me improve as I learn on the job.
To listen to the stories, click on the title and it will take you to the CBC page where it is published. In some cases, the work was not published on a CBC page. It still belongs to CBC.
I also host a music show for CFUR Radio. You can hear me improve there, too.
Oh, and just so we’re clear, I work for the CBC but this is my website. As you click around, remember: “The opinions expressed herein are my own.”
I am currently hosting Daybreak North. You can hear my interviews on the Daybreak website.
Ex-finance minister Kevin Falcon has been put in the media spotlight saying Premier Christy Clark ‘overstepped’ fiscal boundaries with promises about the building of the wood tower in Prince George. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata speaks with the CBC’s Dan Burritt for more.
One of our casual workers came across an ad on Craigslist from a music producer searching for a Kitimat musician he had worked with in the late 90s. I got in touch with the producer and put together this piece, which is one of the rare occasions where my ambitions were nearly achieved in the final product. Here is the promo for the piece.
In March 2013 I started an extended hosting stint, so there’s going to be a few more of these. In this one I went quite off-script with the guest to challenge him a little more, and I think it worked.
As part of my quest to get better at collecting and presenting tape, I gave myself the ambitious plan of putting together a five-minute piece following multiple teams designing a new business over the course of a weekend. For this one, I went with a different narrative style, presenting it more as a play-by-play as opposed to the normal “here’s what happened.” I’d like to try it again.
I was given the opportunity to co-host the regional afternoon show, Radio West, for a day. Here is my interview with the regular science column, which I quite enjoyed.
Dave Bidni on Stompin’ Tom
And here is an interview with Dave Bidini about the legacy of Stompin’ Tom Connors.
I challenged myself to produce more tape pieces, and one of the things I came up with was finding kids sledding. I received very positive feedback on this one, including a couple of people telling me it was among the best radio they’d heard. I wrote a little bit more about how I presented it on my blog.
The Price is Right
This was a combination of me wanting to collect more tape, and get more people who wouldn’t normally be on the air on the air. It is among the most fun I’ve had while making radio.
Building Prince George
I tried some different narrative techniques in this story about one of the architects working in Prince George during its explosive growth of the 50s and 60s. I’m not entirely certain I pulled it off as well as I would have liked, but I did have two people come up to me and tell me they heard and loved it, so there’s that.
I don’t normally post stories where my contribution was the script. It’s a big part of the job, but I find it tougher to call the story “yours” when you aren’t the one whose voice is over it or who produced. I’m putting in this one because it’s based entirely on me seeing a Justin Bieber cutout and wanting to know more, and it’s good to have these sorts of examples, as well.
Projected budgets are deadly for the radio if you don’t boil things down to their essence. I’m pretty happy with pulling this one off.
Radio is great when you talk to artists, scientists, politicians and leaders. It’s even better when you talk to someone like Darryl. (blog post)
A northern B.C. heart transplant recipient is now also undergoing a financial recovery. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata speaks with Shane Dehod.
This is not bad work, but it’s not my best, and I wrote about why.
In January 2012, the community of Burns Lake was rocked by a mill explosion and fire that killed two, injured dozens, and raised questions about the village’s economic future. For the one-year anniversary, I created a montage of archival tape from stories we had done following the tragedy.
Our reporter was sent to Vanderhoof in the wake of a series of tragedies, and came back with multiple interviews from people expressing sadness and confusion that so much has happened to the small town of 4,000 in such a short period of time.
I was given the raw interviews and heard parallels in the conversations. I felt like the most effective way to present them would be to weave them into each other, which is what you hear here.
What I liked about this was getting them to sing to start off the interview. Meant I had to stall as they set themselves up at the mics, but it worked.
Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata speaks with the White Spruce City Chorus.
The Idle No More movement continues to voice discontent with the government in rallies and social media discussions across the country. Conservative MP Bob Zimmer represents Prince George – Peace River, and he believes the movement is “a lot of hype.” He says a lot of those participating don’t understand what the Conservative government is doing to help Aboriginal communities. He spoke with Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata.
Over the winter break, Daybreak associate producer Andrew Kurjata realized he had a problem: he had no idea how to effectively tie a scarf so it would stay on his neck and out of the way. He then hit the streets of Prince George for scarf-tying tips, only to find out he wasn’t alone in his dilemma. So he did some research and brought the results into studio to share with Leisha Grebinski.
Favourite Story of 2012: Lucy the Goose
For the end of the year, every member of our team picked their favourite story of 2012. My highlight was an easy pick from January: the saga of Lucy the Canada Goose.
Christmas at the mall
“It’s tough fighting the crowds when you’re last-minute Christmas shopping… but what about when it’s your job to keep the customer happy? Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata hit Pine Center Mall in Prince George to find out what life is like on the other side of the cash register.”
“For the third year in a row, Dance North is teaming with Spirit of the North for “Boogie With the Stars”, a dinner and dance with an element of competition. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata went to a top-secret dance studio to find out how one team is preparing.”
I was visiting my grandma in Dawson Creek when we started talking about tea flavours and wondering whether differences in tap water might affect it. This led to me comparing mineral levels in different neighbourhoods around Prince George, researching a 2,000-year-old treatise on tea, and calling up one of western Canada’s only tea sommeliers.
A Christmas Camel
Aired on Food Bank Day (and later re-aired provincially), this is a piece I edited. The author Peter Robin recorded a ten-minute reading of one of his stories, which I edited down and added music to to accommodate short-form radio.
CBC Food Bank Day
I was reassigned to produce and host the 2012 edition of this annual special. A completely different experience, as almost every part of the show was live, and I was conducting the vast majority of the interviews.
“The Regional District of Fraser Fort George is shutting down its swap shed at Prince George’s main landfill. It means the end of over a decade of treasure-hunting for one mother-daughter team. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata brings us this story.”
Northern communities are worried about Greyhound’s request to reduce the number of routes it services, citing cost, convenience, and public safety. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata brings in voices from Greyhound, politicians and passengers to find out what’s at stake.
Grizzly bears are one of the most feared animals of the north. They’re strong, powerful, and can be deadly. But Charlie Rusell says they’re mostly misunderstood. He spent twelve years living with grizzlies and is on a quest to show the world humans and grizzlies can live in harmony. He’s spoke with Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata.
In his new book The Energy of Slaves, author Andrew Nikiforuk argues that our fossil fuel powered machines are modern day versions of slaves: they cook our food, transport us great distances and we are completely dependent on them. He speaks with Andrew Kurjata about the moral implications of B.C.’s focus on energy production and use.
What happens when Dr. Who, Captain Kirk, and Luke Skywalker go to Gold Rush-era Barkerville? We find out this weekend as “Geeks After Dark,” a Vancouver-based organization takes over the historic town for a lesson in time travel. We called up their time-traveling bus to find out more.
I produced a live special at the University of Northern British Columbia.
I put this one here because I’m particularly proud of the introduction I wrote. The host adds a bit more, but my original was:
“Vancouver stinks. Maybe not all of it, maybe not all the time, but enough that it’s a full-time job just to deal with. Ray Robb has that job. He’s the Environmental Regulation and Enforcement Manager for Metro Vancouver. And the costs of dealing with smells in the Lower Mainland have gotten so high that Ray is working on a new bylaw that would charge companies for emitting foul odours.”
“Health Canada has announced it will be studying the health effects of wind turbines after complaints from people living near wind farms in Ontario. Now, one family near a wind park in Dawson Creek is raising its own concerns. Andrew Kurjata spoke with Garry Laveck who says that he supported the park when it was being built, but is now concerned about headaches, blood pressure changes and depression affecting him and his family.”
“The Prince George lawn bowling club is offering free sessions to learn about the game. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata hit the greens to find out more.”
“Just because they follow the tenants of Lord Baden-Powell doesn’t mean that every scout group sees eye to eye. Andrew Kurjata spoke to one group that broke away from the Boy Scouts of Canada to join the more traditional BPSA.”
“Chris Purves makes his living photographing purebreds at dog shows, but he has a soft spot for mutts, as well. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata where Chris was taking part in an event called ‘Puparazzi.'”
This was capped off on-air by playing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” It was great.
“When Vancouver Canuck Rick Rypien passed away, it prompted Bryce Lokken to turn to music. Lokken has now released a song, and he’s hoping it will prompt a larger conversation about mental health. He spoke with Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata.”
“A business professor has suggested Prince George change its name in an re-branding effort for the city. In this segment, Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata takes to the streets of the northern capital to find out how residents would react to such a change, plus we read listener suggestions for new names.”
“In an effort to cut costs, the city of Prince George has cut its entire environment division. This has some organizations worried about the city’s future. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata shares the story.”
“Once upon a time, the Albertan government was considering accessing crude in the oil sands… by using atomic bombs. And it came closer to happening than you might think. Author Brian Brennan joined Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata to share the story.”
“Is it safe to walk these streets? It depends on who you ask. The new issue of Macleans magazine has placed Prince George in the position of number one most dangerous city in Canada.”
“Prince George musician Jeremy Stewart started out with a love of Nirvana, and has since moved into scoring art gallery openings. He spoke with Daybreak North’s Andrew Kurjata about his music, ideas, and whether it’s more difficult to play with a computer or a live band.”
“The people made homeless by the Victoria Towers apartment fire last month are finally getting back on their feet. They’ve found new homes thanks to a joint effort between the province, the city of Prince George, and numerous community groups and volunteers. But conspicuously absent from those who helped these displaced residents out, the landlords of the building they once called home. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata did some digging into who’s behind the company that owns and manages the building, and came up with over 50 court cases and an arrest warrant.”
“It’s been called one of the worst urban disasters in Prince George’s history. Early this month, a fire at the Victoria Towers apartment building forced 100 residents out of their homes. In the weeks since, no one’s been allowed back to live in their apartment, and dozens of people are still homeless. Among them is Tony Wedinga. He invited Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata along as he packed up his apartment in an effort to move on.”
“It may not have been Noah’s Ark, but it’s a start: the blessing of the animals. Daybreak’s Andrew Kurjata was there.”
“Earl Brown lives in the community of Toad River, north of Fort Nelson, where he has a unique piece of currency: a dollar bill decorated with the signatures of every premier from W.A.C Bennet onwards. Daybreak North’s Andrew Kurjata called him up to find out how he got so much political capital.”
“If the price of gas is too high, perhaps we can interest you in a horse-drawn buggy? Prince George entrepreneur Alfred Seidl has one up for sale, and if you can find the right price he has some business ideas for you, too.”
If you don’t like snakes, you probably shouldn’t listen to this story.
“Andrew Kurjata of CBC Radio interviews Al Simmons about his song ‘Mr. PG.'”
“With gas prices on the rise, we checked in with the biggest road-trip of all: the traveling carnival.”
What do you do if you like to ice climb, but don’t have the time? Freeze a tree in your front yard, of course.
On January 17 (my birthday, incidentally), Prince George was dealing with a record dump of snow– up to your waist, stuck buses. Once again, I went out to find out how people were dealing.
Tape talk — it’s when a reporter goes out and interviews multiple people about a single subject, then sits down with the host of the show to share what they found out. It’s used when there’s multiple angles to a story, and one guest won’t really present them all. My first experience doing this came with this piece about neighbourhood opposition to the expansion of a recycling depot. I talked to some really expressive people, and it was difficult narrowing down the focus. We stayed on the emotions here, rather than the clinical analysis, which works for the narrative, but it’s an interesting backstory, too.
On January 4, 2011 there was a huge dump of snow in Prince George, with more expected to come. I was sent out early with a cellphone to do an “on-the-spot” report on what the roads were like. I did it from the parking lot of one of the main bus terminals after being dropped off part way and walking. This was my first live hit.
My parents live near a champion arm wrestler. Later, I found out that he was training a guy I went to high school with in how to be a competitive arm wrestler. When I found out that he was headed to the world championships after a few successful national runs, I went to find out what it takes to be one of Canada’s top arm wrestlers.
After reading a couple of stories about legions struggling throughout Canada, I spoke with second vice-president John Scott about what the legion does and where it stands now. He explained that legions as a whole act as advocates for veterans. When government doesn’t give out what they view as fair compensation for active duty or doesn’t recognize this or that after-effect of the war, it’s the legions who advocate on their behalf. They’re an established voice, and without them, Scott worries about who will see that those who have fought for their country are treated properly. They’re trying to expand their membership, but there don’t seem to be a lot of people taking up the cause.
On October 14, 2010, it was announced that Prince George had been deemed “Canada’s Most Dangerous City” by Maclean’s Magazine. The city and RCMP had a preemptive media briefing to highlight what they were doing to combat crime, which I attended, but not before hitting the streets to find out what residents thought about the ranking. I had a quick turnaround on this one, managing to get audio for the morning news, and more for the noon hour– this was when I realized how much my sound recording and editing skills have improved over the year.
In October 2010, I was sent out to do a story on the Hadih House, a community centre where people were learning how to prepare food for storage over the winter. It wound up being my first long-form (more than two minute piece), and it taught me a lot about putting together multiple voices with a soundscape and sounds from on-the-scene to create an on-location piece that really paints a picture. One of the most enjoyable stories I’ve done.
In July 2010, Elton John was coming to Prince George. So, in a twist, a Vancouver radio station ran a contest to “get in and get out” of “the armpit of the interior.” I found out about it via Twitter, and “broke” the story by interviewing the two DJs behind the contest for Daybreak North. This caused a minor uproar, causing the station to (somewhat) change their tune and the story wound up being picked up nationally and was even the most read story in the Globe and Mail for a short time.
I made this piece during my first week at CBC in January, 2010 — a training week. It’s a story I discovered through a Facebook event invitation. To combat the January blues, a local couple had started a tradition they dubbed “International Souffle Day” which has been growing since its inception six years ago. I got in touch with one-half of the couple, conducted a phone interview, and then spliced it together with some music, taking my own voice out in the process, to make it sound as if she was giving one continuous narrative. I was pretty happy with it, and even happier when I learned it was picked up the national syndication service and broadcast on morning shows across the country including Yellowknife, Toronto, and Charlottetown.