Programmer Profile – Julie Simmons

Are you from Kamloops? If not, where are you from and how did you come to be in Kamloops?

I am originally from Newfoundland. I met my husband Rod while we were both attending Memorial University of Newfoundland. We married in 1993, and after graduation in 1994 were unable to find work, so after a couple of years of unsuccessfully looking for jobs we moved to BC, where Rod’s father was settled. We ended up in Prince Rupert for two years, Prince George for ten years and we moved to Kamloops in 2008 when the school we were teaching at in PG closed and Rod got a teaching job here.

Are you a community volunteer? How do you think volunteering at the station supports your engagement with the Kamloops community?

Yes I am a community volunteer. I love the fact that my show could be reaching people in the community that I am not even aware of and that, by sharing my passion, I might be brightening someone’s day and teaching them more about what I love. I also love to engage people when we do information events at TRU and within Kamloops. I enjoy making people aware of what we do at CFBX.

What is it about volunteering in general that appeals to you?

For me, it has to be personally rewarding while at the same time benefiting others. I think many of us know how it feels to do volunteer work that is more of a burden than a passion, and with what I do at CFBX, I am definitely tapping into my passion. It’s wonderful to share it with the world.

What other hobbies and interests do you have outside of doing campus/community radio?

I love to sing. Not only am I obsessed with musical theatre, but I also love to sing that music as well. Rod and I have been singing together since very early in our relationship. I am also an avid reader.

    What is your show about? What would a listener hear when they tune in?

    My show is called On The Marquee and airs on Tuesday nights at 8:00. I feature music from Broadway, Off-Broadway, London’s West End, movie musicals, animated movie musicals, Disney, and even musical TV shows. My episodes usually revolve around a particular theme each week and I sometimes do a special artist or composer feature episode, so listeners can get to know more about the careers of the people they hear on the show regularly.

      What makes your show unique? Why do you think listeners are interested in your show?

      Basically, there is nothing like this show in this area at all and I think it adds a great deal to the diversity of the programming at CFBX. There’s lots of love for musicals out there and I think this show really taps into that.

        What does campus/community radio mean to you?

        I love that anytime you tune into The X, you can hear anything from international music, to jazz, classical, hip hop and everything in between. I won’t deny that I personally love mainstream radio as well, but campus/community radio offers an alternative to hearing the same top 40 hits all the time. You will not hear mainstream music on The X and that adds so much more depth to what is available out there. As a volunteer, I have discovered a great love for musicians that I have found in our library that I had never heard of before. It has deepened the depth of my musical exposure.

          What shows at CFBX do you like and listen to regularly? Why do you enjoy them?

          Jeremy Androsoff is definitely my favourite programmer at CFBX. He’s been here over 15 years hosting Animé-d in Japan (Sundays 2-4 PM), and during the pandemic he started a new show, The Vision of Eurovision (Fridays 10-11 PM). Anime and Eurovision are two of Jeremy’s passions and it’s easy to tell by how enthusiastic he is about them. He reminds me of myself in that way. Of course, my other favourite is my husband Rod’s show When Swing Was King (Tuesdays 7-8 PM: right before my show). Like him, I have always loved the Swing/Big Band era, but I sure have learned a lot since he started doing his show.

            Name an artist you discovered through your time at CFBX that you’d like others to know about.

            Oh goodness, it ‘s hard to narrow it down. I absolutely love Diana Panton, June Garber, Carol Welsman, Tia Brazda. So many great vocalists.

              Is there a local musician that you would like people to pay more attention to? Why?

              I love Madison Olds. She is gaining a lot of attention in the mainstream pop world. Her music is excellent and, in my opinion, she should be a household name. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her twice for CFBX and she is an absolute joy to chat with.

                Do you enjoy attending live concerts? Why? Can you tell us about your favorite live concert that you’ve been to?

                Oh definitely. I love seeing my favourite artists in concert, but most of all, I love attending live musicals. We go to Seattle as much as we can to see touring productions of Broadway shows and frequently attend the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. Last year, we got to take in some live theatre again for the first time since the pandemic. We went to Seattle for the National Tour of The Prom (a Broadway musical that I absolutely love), and we got to see Come From Away when it was in Vancouver. In 2018, we finally got to take our dream trip of a lifetime to New York and saw seven musicals on Broadway in five days. That was incredible. I got to see Frozen in the first week after it opened, so we got to see the entire Original Broadway Cast of that show. We also saw Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Avenue Q, Anastasia, Waitress, and the 2018 Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, Phantom and Chicago are the two longest running shows in Broadway history, so that was a real treat.

                What do you hope to do with your show in the future? What direction do you see your show moving?

                My show has evolved in the 5+ years that I have been doing it, but the focus has stayed largely the same. A few years ago, I introduced a monthly overview show, which I do at the beginning of each month. I go through the musical theatre stars who were born, and those who have died in that month in history, shows that opened and closed, and even some of those quirky days of the month where I have an appropriate song from a musical that I can play for it. I intended to do them for a year or two, but am still doing them because I keep finding new things to feature each month. I very much wish to become a long term fixture at CFBX and hope to be doing this show for years to come. I was honoured to win the Programmer of the Year award for 2021, which is voted on by the other volunteers and programmers at the station, so my hope is to keep producing a high quality show well into the future, and just maybe I’ll win the award again sometime.