Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Mysteries of Radio

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In October, Dust City was nominated for the 2012 Red Maple Award, part of Ontario's Forest of Reading Program; a couple weeks ago, one of the organizers contacted the nominees with an unexpected proposition.

"We would like to see if a few of you could be voice recorded," she wrote in an email, "for a commercial" to be played on an Ottawa radio station. I agreed, of course. (How often do you get to make a radio ad?)

A few days later, I drove up to a grey, anonymous, commercial park in the northern netherburbs of Toronto. There I met the lovely folks at Sky Words, a recording studio that specializes in "aerial advertising."

I learned that while they often record audio ads like the one I was about to make, their true specialty is traffic reports, which they provide to a host of different radio stations across the country. (Who knew you could run a news-gathering service almost exclusively reporting on traffic jams? It's surely proof that car-culture in Canada is alive and revving.)

Before I started recording, Lisa, the program director, offered this small insight into how radio is made. "Speak with a smile on your face," she told me. "It will make you sound livelier and more friendly."

I'm not sure if you can hear how I was grinning like a fool (at least at the beginning), but if you'd like a listen, you can hear it at this same post at my website.

My thanks to Lisa, Sky Words, DAWG FM in Ottawa, and Meredith with the Forest of Reading Program. Woof.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Robert Paul Weston

Robert Paul Weston's fiction has appeared in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and been nominated for The Journey Prize in Canada and The Fountain Award for Speculative Literature in the United States. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and lives in Toronto.

His website is

Go to Robert Paul Weston’s Author Page