When she was a child, Amelia Sher used to take apart radio sets and build them back up with her brother. She fondly recalls how she thought it was the “coolest thing in the world” that people were audibly able to tell stories, and she began to dream of a career in broadcasting. Years later, Sher would realize that dream by helping to found SheridanLife Radio in partnership with Sheridan Student Union, which launched in September 2017. She is the station’s first Program Director.
Sher began her journey at Sheridan in 2014-15 when she enrolled in the one-year Media Fundamentals program. She then went on to take the Journalism program at Sheridan immediately after.
During her time as a student, Sher noticed that her peers wanted to tell stories outside of the classroom, but they lacked the medium to do so. “A radio station was something I felt we were missing,” Sher says. “There were so many people here that wanted that form of communication.”
“A radio station was something I felt we were missing. There were so many people here that wanted that form of communication.” – Amelia Sher
During her Journalism studies, she began talking with faculty and staff about the possibility of creating a radio station, while she simultaneously honed her radio skills in the program. “They have a radio programming class, and we were learning skills like producing and how to line up a show,” she explains.
When Sheridan decided to renovate the classroom spaces, they added in the infrastructure for a live radio station, and Sher was ready to play her part as the first Program Director of SheridanLife Radio.
“Amelia has been there as this tireless advocate from the very beginning,” says Alan Flint, Professor in the Media Fundamentals program. “Her passion is not just for radio, but for being a community advocate for the betterment and development of the student body as a whole. As the first Program Director of SheridanLife Radio, she’s helping Sheridan and the Sheridan Student Union bring radio into a contemporary setting.”
Students from many programs frequently approach SheridanLife student staff members to pitch ideas for radio shows and marketing content. Sher notes that many students act as “enthusiasts” for the community broadcaster and do what they can to be involved. She appreciates the diversity of programming coming from all different areas of the college.
“Having students from a business program creating a podcast is so cool. That’s what Sheridan is,” says Sher. “It’s coming together collaboratively and creatively to create incredible content.”
The radio station hosts a varied line-up, including news shows, local music, sports games recaps and more. In addition to scheduled programming, the station holds three-hour workshops every week. Students can record pieces to be played on the station and receive training in specific skills such as “Audition” and “Pro Tools” software, and creative content creation.
Even though Amelia graduated from Sheridan’s Journalism program in April 2017, she remains Program Director at SheridanLife Radio while also working part time for CBC Radio. SheridanLife Radio has a team of volunteers who help with a variety of jobs, from designing logos to promotions. Amelia credits the beautiful space and the support of Sheridan’s faculty and program coordinators for the success of the radio station thus far. “Without them having created a space for us it would have been extremely hard for us to do this,” she says. ‘I had a lot of support from our faculty advisors Jack Urowitz and Alan Flint, and that was pivotal. The staff is so supportive and our tech team is incredible.”
“Having students from a business program creating a podcast is so cool. That’s what Sheridan is. It’s coming together collaboratively and creatively to create incredible content.” – Amelia Sher
Jack Urowitz, Professor in the Media Fundamentals program, was behind the station from the start. “Radio is really burgeoning now. It provides a new outlet, a new voice for Sheridan,” he says. “It helps to harness student appreciation of Sheridan, and it’s also good for everyone at Sheridan. It brings together the three campuses. Anyone can send in podcasts to be aired.”
Amelia’s hope is that SheridanLife Radio becomes an integral means of communication at Sheridan. “I hope that the stories told within these walls create an impact outside of them as well,” says Amelia.
Listeners can tune in to or get involved with SheridanLife Radio by visiting the website.
Pictured at top of page: Amelia Sher.
Written by: Ashley Glovasky, a former student in Sheridan’s Public Relations – Corporate Communications program.