News at Medicine - August 2018 - International lineup

International lineup
August 22, 2018
Memorial radio program aims to connect newcomer community
Nabila Qureshi was looking for a fun activity to fill her time this summer. She ended up finding more than she could have imagined volunteering with Radio RIAC.  

An extension of the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council (RIAC), the new hourly radio show, run exclusively by volunteers, looks to provide greater cultural breadth by creating a space to inform, educate, and entertain listeners on issues of immigration and inclusion.

“What Radio RIAC is really helping with is building a social network,” said VOCM’s Darrell Power, who host’s Radio RIAC. “And it also offers Newfoundlanders a chance to connect with other cultures.”

Nabila, a graduate student in Community Health and Humanities at the Faculty of Medicine, met Darrell when she came on the show to talk about teaching English as a second language with RIAC.

“He spotted me and said ‘you’re part of the show now’ and I said, ‘yes, I’m interviewing today,’ and he countered with ‘no, you’re on the team,’’ said Nabila as she shares a laugh with Darrell.  

Thanks to Darrell’s recruiting methods, Radio RIAC’s small group of volunteers has seen an influx of interested students, each with unique backgrounds and stories to tell.

“When we reached out to one of our now reporters, Lejla Elezovic, to talk about her experience growing up in Bosnia, she was delighted,” said Nabila. “Lejla confessed that no one asks her to speak about her home country, but now she get to share her story with the whole city.”

Newfoundland to Brazil to Zimbabwe and beyond
The show is produced and edited by Zay Nova, a veteran radio producer from Indonesia, who helped determine the show’s four segments: What’s Up Local, which explores social and cultural activities happening in St. John’s; Multicultural Music; Bring’em With Us, a look at culinary cuisines from around the world; and Immigration/RIAC News, which investigates immigration and settlement- related issues in St. John’s and Canada. 

Although Nabila is familiar with some of the topics discussed on the show, becoming one of the show’s reporters was a completely new experience. One she has found surprisingly helpful for her thesis research.  

“When I had the chance to speak with a guest on-air by myself, I developed a real understanding of how to conduct a successful interview,” said Nabila. “I’m just about to start my qualitative research for my thesis about the impact of resettlement on refugee youth, so this interview experience is truly invaluable.”   

What it boils down to
“We’re losing population, and immigration is going to be key to the future of the province,” said Darrell.  “This program is a great move forward for the city and what I call the ‘new’ Newfoundland.”

Nabila adds “but the show is open to everyone. Even though it’s about multiculturalism, the local is also part of that narrative. If someone wants to come on and share their recipe for toutons, for someone like me who didn’t even know what toutons were, that would be very interesting.”  

“We’re really an open platform.”

Radio RIAC airs Saturdays at 7 p.m. on CHMR 93.5 FM.

Other members of the Radio RIAC team include Jose Rivera, Director of RIAC; Takwa Mahmood, Projects Coordinator; Maka Binimelis, part of Radio RIAC IT support; Charlotte Gardiner, Community Outreach Coordinator; Bobbi Dawn, Amparo Montoya, Lejla Elezovic, Radio RIAC reporters; and Coni Safatle Ferrari, Coordinator for the Arts, Culture, Media and Events Society, “Partakes.”