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Radio Humber: Where Are They Now?

This Week: Shemroy Parkinson

By Nancy Birko (@nancybirko)

Name: Shemroy Parkinson

Program: Postgrad Radio Broadcast Certificate Program

Year of Graduation: 2011

Pathway: Announcing

You’ve been at Kiss 92.5 in Toronto for the last few years. What’s your role there?

I’m an announcer on the weekends, and I also fill in for other announcers when they need me to. I do a lot of behind the scenes work too. I work in the Music Department, so I’m in music meetings. I’m also in promotions meetings helping the Promotions Department figure out different campaigns for the radio station. I produce and come up with the research for our national countdown show for Rogers: Hit Storm. And I’m the main board op for Kiss 92.5.

How did you get to where you are now?

My situation is sort of unique because I got a job pretty much right out of school. I got an internship in June of 2011. I was interning with the evening show for 6 months, and then in December of that year, they needed people to cover holidays, like a lot of radio stations do. So they let me do a couple shifts and they hired me on December 28th. I was hired as a swing announcer. I had one stable show that was Sunday nights, and then I would fill in when they needed someone to fill in. I eventually grew to do a bunch of off-air stuff too. There were a lot of ups and downs but I worked my way through it, and I’m still here.

What is the most difficult part of the industry?

If you’re just getting into it or you’re new, I think the most difficult part is the rejection. A lot of people come out of schools feeling like they’re radio stars expecting jobs right away, but that doesn’t always happen. So you’ve got to be patient. Being in the industry though, the hardest part is you just never know when you’re going to be axed. You could be cut at any time. Now I don’t waste my time thinking that one day I could get fired. I just continue to work hard.

How do you think radio in Toronto is changing?

The only thing that’s changing is how people consume radio. People no longer need to just listen in their cars or on a big old radio in their homes. You can listen to it online, in the app, there’s podcasting, there’s different forms of it now. So that’s how it’s changed from a technological standpoint. Radio can continue to do better and sustain itself by staying local. We like to make face-to-face contact with our listeners at Kiss. We go out there, and we let you know that we’re normal people just like you. I think that as long as radio can keep that intimacy, ratings will be fine. You just listen to it differently, that’s all.

What advice would you give to the students at Radio Humber?

Firstly, stay patient. Don’t think—or don’t just expect—out of school, that you should have a job. It doesn’t always work that way. The other thing is if you want to be on-air, you have to think about this: the only way to get better is to practice and to be doing it. So if it means going to a smaller town, go do it because you need to get your reps. Now, I also recommend you get your foot into a radio station, so if that means you go work in promotions, that’s cool. That’s what I did initially at Kiss. But when you’re in the radio station, you know what you can do? You can ask announcers if you can shadow them. You can create demos using the studios. My point is that you need to focus your energy. Learn everything. When I got here, I didn’t board op, I didn’t work with the Promotions or Music Departments. I didn’t do any of that stuff. I came here and I learned it because that was important for me to do because quite frankly, I wanted to stick around. One final piece of advice I’ll give you is to use your industry contacts. A lot of people are willing to help if you’re willing to ask.