The Magic of Radio at Arbour Trails

Mobile Studio connects residents to their community

By Kristian Partington

For more than 30 years Peter Robertson could be found in the studios of CBC radio as a key engineer, eventually retiring about 25 years ago as the director of engineering overseeing the entire organization. It’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about radio, so when the New Horizons Mobile Radio Studio came to set up at his home in The Village of Arbour Trails in Guelph, it wasn’t long before he found himself behind the board. 

Peter and Kim (placement student) with head phones on behind a radio engineer desk
Peter Roberston, shown here interviewing placement student Emilia, is
right at home in the New Horizons Mobile Radio Studio.

Reflecting back on his time at the CBC and his last 11 years in the director’s position, Peter says paperwork replaced the “toys” and sapped a lot of the fun out of the work.

“Now I’m getting fun again,” he says in a short interview after wrapping up a Tuesday morning show.  

Since late November, Kim Logue from CFRU 93.3 in Guelph has brought her show to the airwaves from the mobile studio every Tuesday from Arbour Trails, and the intention is to leave the studio in place well into January. She also spent time offering the same show from The Village of Riverside Glen across town.

The project began with funding through New Horizons as a means of connecting older adults in the community by sharing their stories and experience through radio. The funding allowed for a hundred hours of paid work for Kim and two others; when that funding ran out, she carried the concept forward on a volunteer basis, “because I just find it to be so meaningful,” she says. “It’s bringing people together.”

She has the pleasure of listening to and sharing the fascinating stories of the seniors in her community, and the joy of bringing that experience to others is the magic of radio. Meeting people like Peter, who offers a wealth of experience, is an added bonus – he enjoys learning the new technologies and Kim says he is deepening her knowledge of the radio business.

“I thought that I’d be teaching seniors how to make radio with the limited skills and experience that I bring to it,” Kim says as she reflects on the New Horizons experience, but what’s happening is they’re teaching me.” 

Volunteers from the village are helping plan the program for the weekly show as hosts and producers, and Kim says they’ve barely scratched the surface of possibility in the first few weeks at Arbour Trails. With that in mind, she negotiated a longer stay at the village, much to the delight of residents and team members.

For Peter, who has only lived at the village a short time, the opportunity to feed his passion for radio has been an unexpected surprise. The decision to move into an environment with more support wasn’t an easy one, he admits, so it means quite a lot to him to get back behind the engineering board. “It’s a bit of familiarity coming back into my life,” he says, and as he continues to learn more about the process he’s hoping to contribute more to the success of the program. For now, however, he’s simply enjoying the moment and finding pleasure in the magic of radio.

Click here to visit Kim’s column in Blog Guelph for more information and to listen to past shows.