By Angelica Ingram
Joshua Skinner spent the summer combining some his favourite hobbies including radio history and morning walks in Haliburton.
A Trent University student Skinner 23 was fortunate to land a youthsummer contract position at Canoe FM where he put together a radioprogram that examines the history of Haliburton County.
Thestudent who is studying politics heard about the opportunity throughhis grandparents John and Judy who live in Haliburton year-round.
The contract position was made possible through a CFRC grant applied for by station manager Roxanne Casey who had this idea for a radio seriesabout history said Skinner.
“The job description was somebody who is able to record 15 to 20 interviews of people in the town” he said.“I sort of took that and added my own interpretation of it of trying to conceptualize the history of the settlement of this region through aseries of interviews.”
Titled My lands are the Highlands thought up by Skinner the show features 20 30-minute episodes thatstar some of Haliburton’s biggest history buffs including Steve Hilland Kate Butler of the Haliburton Highlands Museum Keith Hodgson Hilda Clark Leopoldina Dobrzensky and more.
At the station since the first week of June Skinner has an interest in radio and does some broadcast work at Trent.
“When I saw this job opportunity it was very similar to what I had been doing for the prior eight months so I decided to apply those skills here”he said. “It’s been really a wonderful process for me.”
Whenconceptualizing the show Skinner wanted to stay away from achronological look at Haliburton’s history and instead focus onprevailing themes.
The show includes a variety of topicsincluding education health care logging wildlife settlement etc.One episode talks about local newspapers with emphasis on theHaliburton County Echo.
“I think this is a better way to dohistory” he said. “You can look at how the show goes and you can seethat Haliburton started off as this agrarian settlement but as more andmore services were added as time progressed we got to this point where objectively we’re a cottage community. We’re a tourist destination.”
Throughout the show Skinner aims to show the evolution of the area and itschanging landscape. He credits the interview subjects as what made theproject a success overall.
“The show’s been fantastic to work on.There’s so many people with so many different narratives” he said.“There’s such a wealth of information in this town that’s very muchthere in a physical format and in the minds of people but I wanted totake that history and apply it into a different medium.”
Skinner has enjoyed his time at Canoe FM tremendously and learned so much from its staff and volunteers.
“It’s been fantastic. I can’t speak enough about what a great mentor RoxanneCasey and Ron Murphy have been to me just in showing me how you goabout working in a radio station because this is something I would like to do in the future.”
Looking back Skinner’s fondest memory ofhis summer spent in Haliburton is getting to know the community throughthe recording of the show.
“There’s so many different voices anddifferent narratives that have been represented through the recording of this” he said. “I think there’s so many different things that we canlearn from those views and learning from the past … it’s a beautifuldiverse landscape. There’s so much to appreciate here. The people ofthis community really reflect that.”
My lands are the Highlands will premiere on Canoe FM on Monday Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. with an encore broadcast every Thursday morning at 11 a.m.
The episodes will also be archived on Canoe FM’s website.