These shows have been featured on the front page of our website since its relaunch in September 2012.

2016

What’s So Funny?
Guy MacPherson knows.

WSF host Guy MacPherson with guest Graeme Duffy of Vancouver TheatreSport League


A comedy show on radio? We’ve had those almost from the beginning of the medium. But a show about comedy on radio? That was still a rather innovative idea when Guy MacPherson and Kevin Smith launched What’s So Funny? on Co-op Radio in 2004.

Now Smith is back at school, MacPherson has a new partner, Colleen Brow, and What’s So Funny? is still going strong, every Sunday night from 11 to midnight.

Guy’s initiation into the world of yucks was not through the stand-up denizens of the comedy clubs, such as he interviews today, but through the comedy stars of old-time radio.

“My father bought me a double LP set called The Golden Age of Comedy,” he says. “It had Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, all those people. Later I read Steve Allen’s autobiography (Mark It and Strike It).  He was a hero of mine.”

His father, Fraser MacPherson, had his own connections to comedy. A nightclub and studio musician, he was one of the accompanists of Rolf Harris on his appearances at the Cave and also played for Dr. Bundolo’s Pandemonium Medicine Show on CBC Radio in the '70s.

After attending the University of Victoria, where he was active on the campus radio station CFUV, Guy took up journalism in Vancouver, covering sports and sometimes comedy for the Georgia Straight.

“It was hard to get stories into the paper (about obscure, up-and-coming comics),” he says. “Now everybody’s writing about comedy.”

That job gave Guy an entrée to meet many of the people he’d come to admire, and to learn that he was lacking the obsessive determination it takes to become one of them.

“A lot of comics don’t find their own voice until ten years into their careers,” he said, “and many of them fall by the wayside before then.”

The solution? To host a show about comedy where he got a chance to interview comedians, both local and visiting. Among the guests who have appeared on What’s So Funny? are Bill Reiter, Brent Butt, Mike MacDonald, Marc Mason, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Roberts, and Linda Cullen.

He’s interviewed comics who were reasonably “big” already, and others before they got big. “Like Phil Hanley,” he says, “Now he’s doing really well in New York.”

Comics who are just on the verge of celebrity can get uneasy being interviewed by the media. “I like to think that I give them their practice,” Guy says, although his interviews are “not so much question-and-answer as rambling conversations.”

Guy has also seen a one-time childhood neighbour, Kliph Nesteroff, become an authority on the history of comedy with his own book, The Comedians.

The increased interest in comedy has one drawback, Guy says. Before, when a comedian came to town and Guy asked him if he’d appear on the show, he was as likely to say Yes as No. “Now, they might be committed to doing somebody else’s podcast,” he says.

Guy’s new What’s So Funny? partner, Colleen Brow, is not so much an on-air co-host as an alternate host, doing the show one Sunday every month. (Note: Steve Bowell’s RAGBAG is looking for just such a person. Please contact programs@coopradio.org if you’re interested.)

Listen and laugh with Guy, Colleen, and their guests on What’s So Funny? every Sunday night 11 to midnight (& sometimes longer).

 

2015

Main & Hastings: 33 years on … the air

Don Larson waits in the Co-op Radio lobby with a handful of newspaper clippings and a brochure of the coming Heart of the City Festival, waiting for Mark Bignell to finish operating the She-Boom program.

"He never lets me in until right at four o'clock," he says.

Nothing in his relaxed attitude indicates that this is a special day for him. Election Day, to be sure, but also the 33rd anniversary of the debut of Main & Hastings.

The show began in mid-October of 1982, then only half an hour long every other Thursday, with several denizens of the Downtown East Side taking part as well as Larson.

"There were three or four of us at one time," Larson says. "The rest all sort of left one by one. I liked it and I stayed."

Larson was a volunteer at Carnegie Centre, and organizer of the campaign to create the CRAB waterfront park, when Centre administrator Susan Gordon came to him with a proposal she had received from Co-op Radio, still only seven years old and based in Pigeon Park.

"They needed a Downown East Side show," he says. "I guess they felt a little guilty about not having one, since they were in the DTES."

We ended up with two: Main & Hastings and East Side Story, now each an hour long, running on alternate Mondays.

4 p.m. strikes and Bignell starts the show's theme, Orange Blossom Special. Larson enters Control Room A, and after the theme ends, chats with Bignell: Larson always laid back, Bignell sometimes bursting into bombastic enthusiasm. After a few minutes of chatting, they play a musical selection -- something political, because it's Election Day.

"We've always been a variety show," Larson says. "We've never done just one thing. Once we had Harry Rankin (as guest). He thought he'd have the whole hour; we had him on for maybe five minutes."

Guests aren't a regular feature on Main & Hastings, but Larson can remember a few. One was an activist protesting the killing of B.C.'s wolves; Larson can't recall his name, but he remembers the two live wolves he brought along.

"They just climbed up the stairs (of the Pigeon Park studios) and sat under the table," he says.

On the air, Larson begins reading from the clippings and press releases he brought. His and Bignell's announcements of upcoming events are very laid back. ("When is this happening?" "I don't know... oh, here it is: October 24th.")

Although Main & Hastings was conceived for Downtown East Side listeners, its audience is now "really mixed," Larson says. "The word got around to many different types of people. And now that we're on the World-Wide Web, it's changed who's listening."

But Larson isn't foreseeing any major changes in the program, and as for what he'd like in an audience, his answer is simple: "More."

Larson was 36 when Main & Hastings debuted, and is now six months away from his 70th birthday.  "I've enjoyed every minute," he says.

Don Larson and Mark Bignell on Main and Hastings

 

 

New programs on Co-op Radio

Although we've been on the air for 40 years, Co-op Radio doesn't live in the past. The station renews itself constantly, as new volunteers arrive with ideas for new programs.

In fact, we’ve got some programs you may not yet have heard about as Co-op Radio continues to cover subjects, and provide programming for audiences not usually served by mainstream radio.

Maren Lisac of re:composition

Maren Lisac - Host and producer of re:composition

 

Death Matters Live (Wednesdays, 12 – 1 p.m.) -- this is a program about death, dying and loss, and how to survive it. The hosts (celebrants, grief counselors, etc.) come from a variety of experiences with death and dying -- except, of course, the Supreme Experience. But what you learn on this show might better help you to survive the death of a loved one, or face your own death with serenity.

Hey Weirdo (Fridays, 9:30 – 10:30 p.m.) -- a program for all "weirdos," with a taste for weird music.  Alana Higgins tells you where to find it, and stresses that it's O.K. to be weird.

Canviet Radio (Sundays, 7 - 8:30 a.m.) -- a Vietnamese program meant to provide a new source of information and entertainment to the Vietnamese communities in B. C., Canada, and around the world. CanVietRadio, một chương trình phát thanh Việt Ngữ, vinh hạnh được trởthành một phần củaĐài Phát Thanh danh tiếng và vững vàng Vancouver Co-op Radio, đểcung cấp mộtnguồn thông tin và giải trí mới mẻ cho cộng đồng người Việt ở B.C.,Canada, và khắp nơi trên thế giới.

My Musical Life (Thursdays, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.) -- How did Co-op Radio's music programmers and listeners first get turned on to the types of music they love? What other kinds of music do they listen to? How have their lives been shaped by this music, and how have their music choices been shaped by their lives? If you've ever been curious, check out the many and varied types of music you will hear each week as a different programmer or Co-op Radio listener talks of the music in their life. Listen for the three poster-folks you will see soon on the Co-op Radio transit shelter ads when they are My Musical Life guests near the end of the upcoming Member Drive. 

Aram-E Jan (first and third Thursday of each month at 9 - 10 a.m.) -- a program about Persian poetry and music to inspire meditation. Dr. Mehdi Meshgini of Vancouver's Columbia College will recite poetry, and local Iranian musicians will play their music.

Re:composition (Thursdays, 10 a.m.) -- a program of new music by local musicians. What does that term “new music” mean? That’s exactly what the show will present through interviews with local composer and performers. New compositions will be a prominent feature of Re:composition.

If only one of these new shows piques your interest, please listen in at 100.5 FM or online, and consider supporting Co-op Radio during our Fall Member Drive October 23 to November 6, 2015.

Amir Eslami of Aram-e Jam

 

Fall 2014

Community Living

2-2:30pm Fridays

By Lindsay Kasting

Community Living airs on Vancouver Co-op Radio Friday afternoons from 2:00-2:30pm and focuses on people with special needs and disabilities in British Columbia. The show looks at issues affecting people in the community living with special needs and disabilities. People who help support that community are included and advocacy is an important aspect of the show.

 

Kelly Reaburn interviews Peter Bourne

Original hosts Dave and Laurie Sherritt, Rich MacDonald, and Paul have been producing the show since the 1980s through a few name changes, including “The Self Advocates” most recently, and Kelly Reaburn and Michael have become increasingly involved in the last five and two years respectively. Hosts from this show participate in producing other shows for Co-op as well as CITR and youtube. “Soap box radio” has been born somewhat as a spin-off of “Community Living.”

Some recent highlights of the show include interviews with NDP MLA Jenny Kwan and Peter Bourne from Victoria. In the future, Community Living is looking at bringing in more of an advocacy focus and bringing guests who are doing work to bring together their community. The show is hoping to expand, getting into more remote parts of the province and becoming a part of the national radio association. Making connections with other like minded shows and stations across Canada is another goal of this show, which is already working with a show in Montreal, Quebec.

More about the Peter Bourne interview here.


Winter 2013

Y57

8pm - 9pm Tuesdays
Y57 is a news and music show designed specifically for young adults. Each week a local up-and-coming musician is featured live on-air. News segments touch base on varying topics like lifestyle, health, technology, environment, business, fashion and local events.  www.y57.ca

 Ashley Wong- Social Media Coordinator ( Top Left), Sonia Wong- Sr. Music Producer ( Top Right), Emily Whitmell- Jr. Music Producer ( Mid-left), Rheanna Neil- Jr. Fashion Blogger ( Mid-right), Amanda Jang - Editor-In-Chief & Co-host ( Bottom Left), Falisha Ali - Radio Producer,Fashion Blogger & Co-host ( Bottom Right)
Ashley Wong- Social Media Coordinator (Top Left), Sonia Wong- Sr. Music Producer (Top Right), Emily Whitmell- Jr. Music Producer (Mid-left), Rheanna Neil- Jr. Fashion Blogger (Mid-right), Amanda Jang - Editor-In-Chief & Co-host (Bottom Left), Falisha Ali - Radio Producer, Fashion Blogger & Co-host (Bottom Right)

The Changing Scope of Young Adulthood

By Molly McCullough

What does it really mean to be an adult? There seems to be a growing trend in popular culture of adults reverting back into their childhood, and there are countless examples in movies and television to back that theory. The character played by Zoey Deschanel in the show New Girl, for instance, is almost 30 years old, and part of her charm is that she still in many ways behaves like a child.  

Recently, psychologists have expanded their age range guidelines for what constitutes an adolescent.  It used to be that the age range for adolescence was 12 to 18 years old—now a person up to 25 counts as an adolescent. New brain scans reveal that a person’s brain is still developing until past the age of 25, not to mention the many hormonal changes that take place between the ages of 18 to 25.  

I did not feel the surge of adulthood when I turned 18. Fresh into university, I would consider it one of the more rocky periods of my life—trying to figure out how to fit in with new people in a different city, making all sorts of bad life decisions, while having the ultimate goal of figuring out what my passions were, and who I wanted to be in the world.  Hormones were raging and I most certainly would not consider myself an adult. In some ways I completely agree with the new psychological guidelines. Only now, at the age of 24, do I feel somewhat of an adult. After graduating university (and working a few crappy, horrible jobs) I was finally able to find a job in which I am able to be financially independent from my parents.

This shift in the way psychologists are thinking about adolescence is helpful in a society where most people are unable to become independent from their parents fresh out of high school.

For our generation, if you want to make a salary that can support living independently, it is necessary to get a bachelor’s degree. But the reality is, education is expensive. I find that more and more students are living with their parents to soften the financial blow of high living expenses. In a world where you have to have at least 2 years’ experience to work at a Starbucks, it is easy to see the amount of pressure modern young adults are under.

Sociologist Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, says that “When I went to university it would have been a social death to have been seen with your parents, whereas now it’s the norm.” For Furedi, this logic probably makes sense—but things are changing, economically and otherwise.

It seems that the expectations for young adults are greater than they ever were for our parent’s generation. There is no doubt in my mind that becoming an adult isn’t a matter of wanting to venture out on your own—everybody I know wants to live independently—it’s a matter of being financially able to do so. With current societal pressures towards greater education, that isn’t necessarily possible.  

So I say, Peter Pan it up people! Live with your parents as long as you have to, and decide to become an adult whenever you’re ready to do so.  The economy isn’t ready for you yet anyways.

Spring 2013

Conscious Living
6pm - 7pm Wednesdays

Conscious Living Radio is a program that explores alternative paradigms emerging in psychology, health, various sciences, community building, education, and various philosophies that challenge the modernist outlook and the institutional forms that express it.

Thematically it reflects the consciousness that emerged out of the 60s counterculture, which believes in profound social transformation and sees personal transformation as integral to that.

Producer Andrew Rezmer has been involved in radio production since 1979. He explains that it gives “voice to those searching to create a new culture, one that embodies different values than the consumerist ones that dominate Western, modern society. They are values that ultimately can be defined as being spiritual as opposed to material.”

The format consists primarily of interviews, mostly live, some pre-recorded, with various authors, teachers, workshop facilitators, theorists and therapists, both local and visiting.

You can contact Andrew through the show’s website  ConsciousLivingRadio.Org or by email Andrew@ConsciousLivingRadio.org.

Fall 2012

The F Word
12pm - 1pm Mondays

The F Word

Most media won't even consider producing feminist content. But, The F Word radio show proudly takes on the feminist label. "We saw the absence of feminist representations in mainstream media and the misunderstandings that most people had. We decided to do something about it." says Nicole Deagan, who co-founded the show with Alana Higgins in 2007. 
 
The F Word features topics ranging from gender equality in sports, men's role in the feminist movement, violence against women, international and local feminist actions, women's comedy, lesbianism and queer issues, indigenous women's activism, sex and sexuality, abortion and reproductive rights, religion, aging, pornography and prostitution, child custody issues, poverty, disability and illness, and more. 
 
"We've created a place where women can become feminist journalists. Many people have contributed to our show over the years, and each brings their own perspective and adds another dimension to our work." Deagan says they are still open to more contributors. "Currently there are 8 women producing content for The F Word. We want even more." To find out more or to get involved go to feminisms.org
 
The F Word is produced in Vancouver, BC, Canada on Vancouver Co-op Radio, CFRO 100.5 FM. It is internationally syndicated and available through coopradio.org,feminisms.orgrabble.ca, Pacifica Radio, and itunes. The co-ordinators of The F Word Media Collective are currently Ariana Barer and Nicole Deagan. To reach them, email feminisms@gmail.com.