Tapestry is a CBC national radio program which explores the big questions in philosophy, religion and spirituality. Yesterday, the show broadcast the first episode of its 18th season. I prepared one of the segments, my first for a national radio program.
The episode is a look at ashes and cremation. I interviewed a Hindu priest from Guyana about the difficulties he faced when releasing his father’s ashes into Lake Ontario 15 years ago.
If you’d like to listen to the entire show (you should) here’s the link. My piece is the last of the four segments. If you just want to listen to my segment, here’s the link.
One of the producers at Tapestry (Carma Jolly) coached me through the interviewing and editing process and did some mixing after I finished. It sounds like she decided to keep most of what I’d done intact for the final version. Which is gratifying, because she’s very very good at this.
A simple piece I stitched together to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of CBC broadcasting god Peter Gzowski. At the time, we were getting stressed trying to fill 10 or 20 minutes a day. Gzowski and his crew filled three hours every weekday. For 15 years.
We closed the show with this instead of our normal theme music.
Here’s the link to the full version of the song, by the Doug Edmond Band.
This was when legislators in New Brunswick were considering cutting restaurant servers off from a scheduled increase in the provincial minimum wage. (The proposal was later rejected.) I spoke to a restaurant industry representative and to a student union representative.
Here’s the host’s on-air intro:
Servers in New Brunswick may soon have a lower minimum wage than everyone else in the province.
Provincial politicians are debating legislation that would allow restaurant owners to pay servers less if they make money from tips.
This piece was about The Chronicle Herald‘s decision to print relevant as well as seemingly irrelevant personal information about accused spy Jeffrey Delisle. Within the industry this is called “running the phone book” on someone. I interviewed Nathalie Des Rosiers, head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Dan Leger, at the time director of news content at the Herald.
We presented this piece as a “talk/tape.” That’s when the reporter comes in to the studio for a live interview with the host (“talk”), bringing along several pre-recorded audio clips (“tape”). I was the reporter and Niko Bell was the host.
Here’s the intro Niko read out:
This week, a naval intelligence officer was accused of espionage.
We know his name, his age, and where he lives.
We also know how old his children are,
how many pets he has,
where his girlfriend comes from,
his financial history,
Kevin Philipupillai is in the studio to tell us
why we know so much about
Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle.
Niko and I spoke about how Delisle is the first serving member of the Canadian forces in living memory to be charged with espionage. I introduced this clip from my interview with Dan Leger of The Chronicle Herald.
I’d asked Leger about the front page of the Herald from the previous day, January 18th. Delisle’s personal information was splashed across the page in big letters. Leger admitted it had turned into a media circus. He also said it was usually only murderers and pedophiles — Public Enemies — who got this kind of front-page treatment.
Niko and I then spoke about Delisle’s right to privacy and his right to be presumed innocent. I introduced a clip from my interview with Nathalie Des Rosiers, head of the CCLA. It’s often up to her to defend the rights of the people everyone else hates.
[Disclosure: my partner works for the CCLA.]
But Leger had mentioned another reason for printing so much personal information about the accused spy. It brought a third party into the conversation: the government. Here’s Leger again:
A publication ban would mean that a judge would order a complete media blackout and newspapers wouldn’t be allowed to print any information about the trial. Leger had said he’d been talking with other major news organizations, getting ready to fight any publication ban. In his words: “getting lawyered up.”
The mention of the government brought the newspaper editor and the civil liberties lawyer much closer together. When I asked Des Rosiers about Leger’s opposition to a publication ban, she re-iterated her concern for Delisle’s right to be presumed innocent. But she then said, between the government’s desire to keep the details of the case secret and the public’s desire to know as much as possible, she would prefer for the public to have access to all the information.
And then my four minutes was up and I quietly kicked myself out of the studio so Niko could get on with the rest of the show.
I had a little more fun with this short voicer about Wikipedia and other major websites shutting themselves down to protest against government censorship of the internet. Thanks to Mark, our in-house tech guru, for the sound effects.
Here’s the announcer’s intro:
Wikipedia is on strike today.
You already know that.
Kevin Philipupillai went to find out
if students know why
there is a blackout.
This is one of the better pieces I got on the air during the radio news workshop at King’s. Amy Crofts, a friend in the journalism program, had heard about a community group for families which had adopted children from China. Amy couldn’t do the story herself so she kindly passed it on to me.
It’s Friday night. You head to your local government-owned liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine, a case of beer… and a joint?
It could happen.
This short voice report came out just after the federal Liberal convention in January, where a majority of delegates voted to support the legalization of marijuana. The policy proposal had come from the youth wing of the party.
I interviewed the president of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party, a physician who’d been at the Liberal convention the previous weekend. I also spoke to the president of the Nova Scotia Young Progressive Conservatives.
And to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which happens on the third Monday of January, I helped my producer put together a short clip from one of his speeches:
I am fascinated by the history of Halifax and Nova Scotia. Especially the history which hasn’t been honoured with statues and schools and parks and museums. So I spent some time with one of the leaders of Nova Scotia’s civil rights movement, Burnley “Rocky” Jones.
Rocky is best known as the man who brought Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and other members of the Black Panthers to Halifax in 1968.
But while the RCMP was following him around and tapping his phone — looking for signs that he was riling up the “otherwise docile coloured population” of Nova Scotia — he was busy setting up an ambitious oral history project.