For this first interview in 2018, I met William Maurer, Executive Director of CHOQ.ca, UQAM’s Web radio, which has been hosting Student Business interns since 2015. Last summer, they were particularly impressed by their activity plan that makes us dream and by welcoming a student living with a visual impairment.
1. Tell me more about CHOQ.ca?
We are a website that broadcasts mostly emerging content. We are an independent radio station associated with UQAM. Half of our content is student based. We have a team of 150 volunteers. In the permanent team, there are 7 of us, including 2 students. CHOQ.ca was founded 16 years ago.
2. What are the professions in the team?
We have several directions at CHOQ.ca. : general, musical, communication, programming, information and sales. We also have a graphic designer on the team. Many of our employees have a background different from the position they work at, but whether it’s in their sustained involvement in the musical field, an edgy side or their great creativity, they all built legitimacy in their positions, without necessarily having special studies in these areas. For some positions on the other hand, as in communication, journalism, sales, we necessarily seek professionals in their fields.
3.Why do you get involved as Student Business mentors?
At first we got involved thinking that, younger, we would have liked to have an internship like this one. But in the end it allows us – by popularizing the radio so much – to think about our own methods. It’s a beautiful project to do as a team, we are all mobilized in the supervision of interns. Last summer, our interns were better than some of CHOQ! They understood things that some people here still have trouble understanding while they have been there for many years! Each edition has its own personality. Last year, it was a memorable year, a year that marked the everybody’s mind.
4.Tell me about the internship offered at CHOQ.ca.
We set up the activities program based on the image of the internship we would have liked to have at that age and at the end of the week we made them do a concrete project: they put together a program that will be broadcasted. The first day, they don’t realize that they are going to do a show, we talk to them about it and they don’t understand right away. After the first day, we explain more about the project and they take the thing really to heart. Some of our interns even wanted to stay longer in the evening to get ready. One evening, parents were waiting downstairs, one of the interns did not want to leave! (Laughter)
5. What would your message be to young people interested in the media?
I would tell them to get involved, voluntarily, as soon as they have the opportunity. The best of today, like Penelope McQuade and all the big names on radio, they were all involved in the media, student radios, and this, from the Cégep. I saw again a 2016 intern just a few months ago. He entered Cégep and decided to get involved in student radio!
6. Do you have any advice for organizations that would like to get involved?
What is important in the internship is to give them an experience. The good thing to do for the medias, when it’s possible, is to make them make a show! During the week young people touch the communication, advertising, the graphics of their show and we, we promote: “We have interns this week and you will see what you will see!” The idea is to put them in the spotlight, to show them that they are capable of doing something! None complained! 🙂
It’s hard to measure if it makes a difference in the image of CHOQ.ca, but for UQAM anyway, it pleases us to be involved with the next generation, our community mandate comes through our participation in Business Classes.
7. What did you learn from the next generations?
I felt very old! They made us think in terms of media consumption: they are used to seeing shorter videos, for example on Snapchat. They are very tech-savvy and have a great ability to understand things. I wanted to explain something to them on one of our software and quickly they made me understand that they had already understood!
I leave you with the most viewed video of CHOQ.ca’s YouTube account with over 30,000 views: a Snapchat tutorial made by CHOQ.ca Student Business interns! :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjhCoZRT9Pc.
This article is part of a series of portraits of mentors 2017 that will be published punctually by the summer.
The photo on the cover of the article was produced by Véronique Buist in 2015.