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CIVL DJ makes the leap to commercial news

Alicia Williams, CIVL DJ and former music and programming director for the campus radio station, is now in charge of weekend news updates for 89.5 FM The Hawk, a classic rock radio station based in Chilliwack.

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By Nick Ubels (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: January 16, 2013

Regular CIVL listeners might recognize a familiar voice cropping up on a new frequency in Chilliwack.

Alicia Williams, CIVL DJ and former music and programming director for the campus radio station, is now in charge of weekend news updates for 89.5 FM The Hawk, a classic rock radio station based in Chilliwack.

The jump to commercial radio is a huge step for anyone looking for a career in radio, something Williams knows well.

“It’s really, really, really, really important,” she says. “It’s a big get-your-foot-in-the-door kind of industry and it’s just going to look good on my resume.”

Her responsibilities include producing 89-second news clips that run during music breaks and between programs. Since starting work in December, she has put together stories ranging from community events to the Newtown tragedy and the Idle No More movement. According to Williams, content for national and international stories is pulled from news wire services like the Canadian Press. She also works with her own audio for local happenings and updates about the Chilliwack Chiefs and the Abbotsford Heat.

Newscasting is a relatively recent field for Williams. She had only completed two weekday news updates with CIVL before she applied for the position at The Hawk.

One of the biggest challenges of her new job is reigning in the personal tone of her music shows at CIVL in favour of a more standardized news voice. Williams says that Don Lehn, her boss at The Hawk, told her she spoke in a “sing-songy” way.

“I can’t say, ‘So, you know, like,’” she says. “I have to be better.”

Williams got her start at CIVL over two years ago as the host of the National Community and Campus Radio Association award-nominated punk show Mood Swings.

She says her experience at CIVL has helped her hone her radio voice and sharpen her skills as a radio host.

“It made me comfortable with my voice and what I was capable of and not capable of with it,” Williams says. “[CIVL station manager] Aaron Levy has provided me with a lot of encouragement and mentorship. I don’t think I’d be as far in radio if it wasn’t for his help and CIVL.”

One of Williams’ inspirations in her career path comes from an interview she conducted with CHEK and CBC Vancouver news anchor Tony Parsons when he visited UFV last year.

“He had started off at this shitty country radio station and then they asked him to start doing the news,” she says. “He went from being a country music radio show host to Tony Parsons, the voice of Vancouver. Big time.”

Williams advises anyone interested in hosting a show at CIVL  to try to overcome their fears and stop by the office in C building.

“I think people are intimidated because they think it’s harder than it actually is,” Williams says. “But once you get in there, it’s just a couple sliders on a soundboard and playing music.”

“It’s super easy, it’s super fun, and it gives you a place to talk about music and not look like a dick, which is really important to me.”

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