By Aradhna Sharma
In early 1930s when commercial radio began in Canada, nobody could have predicted it will be a roaring success in our vast country. For many decades now, radio has been the go-to mass communication medium for Canadians connecting people, places, and experiences. Over the years it has evolved and become a platform offering wide range of programming from news, music, entertainment, to a platform where common Canadians can share ideas, and opinions. It is a creative medium that showcases talent and aspirations of Canadians. Radio represents the multilingual, multicultural, and multiracial Canadian society effectively.
We spoke with Tejinder Singh, Director, Strategy & Operations at Connect 95.1 FM about the new radio station, its vision and program lineup.
The Connect 91.5 FM logo is very interesting. Tell us more about the colorful rings around the logo.
Connect FM has five key action-based principles that ensures that our vision becomes the reality. These five principles are: Promoting, Reflecting, Fostering, Engaging, Strengthening. In Connect FM logo, we have 5 threads that represent these principles connecting in a solid dot, representing the record sign from old music players. Colours from traditional folk phulkari are used on these threads.
What are the core values of Connect91.5 FM?
Our core values are entertainment, education and empathy. People turn on the radio to enrich their day with songs and content that is entertaining. Before the launch, Connect 95.1 FM worked with a large base of our potential listeners over period of 8 weeks to discuss, analysis, and finalize the choice of music that will be played on the station. These sessions helped us create guiding principles for our core value of entertaining.
People are always curious and keen to learn about events and things happening around them. On daily basis new immigrants are joining the ever-growing and established community. Educating our listeners regarding settlement, government policies, resources is vital and essential part of our programming.
Caring about the thoughts and feeling of the listeners helps us in building content around our community rather than traditional top-down flow of information. Our third core value of empathy guides our team to constantly work very closely with the community and bring stories to them in a unique way.
What is new or different about Connect 91.5 FM?
Connect FM has vision of positioning itself as a mixed-media company that strives to become a connective tissue bringing the South Asian community together. While bringing relevant content to 40+ listener base, Connect FM is building up its footprint among 18-40 age listener base who has not been connected with radio.
Content is produced and placed uniquely in many ways, on-air and on-line. From music to long-format talk shows, Connect FM’s approach in presentation and participation is unique and the community is just loving it. www.connectfm.ca adds another dimension to news on ethnic media platform. Users are revisiting the website for local, provincial, federal Canadian news. There is a special section dedicated for International and India news. Best part is that news on the site is available not only in English but also in Punjabi. Punjabi translations are not machine done. We have a dedicated team of talented journalists who are doing these translations.
What do you have to say to those people who have not yet tuned into Connect 91.5 FM?
Connect FM presents programming to our new listeners in different areas. Radio features, short stories, music shows, amateur sports shows, women programs, and talk shows both in Punjabi and English are designed to keep our existing and new listeners engaged and entertained. Hourly live news program keep our listeners updated on latest happening and events. We also keep listeners engaged with daily contests.
Sver Wala Show has many interesting topics for our listeners that hit hard at the current political discourses both in North America and Indian sub-continent. News Takeaway and Tweetan Trump Diyan, Khabarnama with Baltej Pannu are some of the segments that listeners are in love with. Punjabi Akhara, Gane Suhane, Dupher Wala Show, Punjabi Chartbusters, Bollywood Chartbusters bring a balanced mixed of great music and long format talk show.
Each evening, starting 7 pm, Connect FM airs dedicated English language ethnic focused programming in both long format talk show. Various ministers, MLAs, community leaders, social workers, financial advisers, and achievers have already been part of our The Evening Round Up Show. Yasmin Gandham is bringing on-air fresh, young, South Asian editorial voice with wide gamut of topics ranging from political to community issues. The Mixed-Tape follows The Evening Round-Up Show with Manpal Rana, a great community worker and avid music lover, bringing his playlists that mimics our listeners online media platform playlists…blending Punjabi, Hindi and English music program.
Some very well-known radio and media personalities are part of the team, please elaborate.
We have a group of wonderful talented individuals who share our vision and mission. Vijay Saini is our morning show host and producer for Sver Wala Show. Tarannum Thind and Yasmin Gandham are leading our afternoon and evening show – Dupher Wala Show and The Evening Show respectively. Our well followed music shows are hosted by some of the best known RJs in Radio Industry, namely – Harv Punni, Girish Sharma, Garima Sharma, Yasmin Gandham, Jasmine Singh, Aditi & Manpal Rana. Our News Director, Vasu Kumar is leading our news team of seasoned journalist Pervez Sandhu and Jawad Siddiqui.
In our conversation, you mentioned various program formats you have introduced in-line with the core values of Connect FM. Please elaborate a little more on these.
We are positioning programming that intrigues and engages our Youth both in talk shows and music programs. Already, young achievers, social influencers, community workers and story tellers are part of our on-air and online programs.
In our shows, we bring quality produced short stories from Canadian and Indian Punjabi writers. Not only we are bringing Punjabi literature to our listeners through audio format we also bring the underlying questions, plots, characters and their challenges to our listeners. On Connect FM, listeners can always tune in for great music complemented with engaging contests where our listeners win wonderful prizes. For local artists, Connect FM is the place to go. Connect FM provides on-air platform for their recordings as well bring local artists stories to the listeners. Additionally, Connect FM will contribute $100,000 each year in our community for music and journalism scholarships, local artists and poet recordings and multi-cultural festival.