CJSW Profile: Aubrey’s Shindig!

By Andy Williams

If you like music, you’ll like Aubrey’s Shindig! On Monday afternoon’s from 4-6 p.m., Aubrey McInnis takes to the air for two hours of auditory bliss. With over 15 years experience as a music journalist, she does all the heavy lifting for you — all you have to do is tune in.

The Gauntlet: How did you get involved at CJSW?

Aubrey McInnis: During my first year at the U of C, I was searching for a way to feel more school spirit and connection to our campus. I decided that I was going to join CJSW or a sorority. Ultimately, my obsessive love for music and social justice determined my pull to CJSW. When I first joined the station, I’d disappear into the record library at every opportunity. On the weekends, I’d sneak my dog, Bill Bailey, into the station. He’d fall asleep at my feet as I listened to music for hours and hours and did homework. Over the years, I’ve exhaustively tried Toastmasters and other leadership clubs — CJSW has supplemented my U of C education like nothing else.

G: You’ve had a show for a while now; what inspires you and keeps you coming back?

AM: I have a great love for Calgary and that love is shared by many of my colleagues at the station. Some of the people who are doing some of the most exciting things in Calgary are people who have spent time (or are currently spending time) at CJSW, Mayor Nenshi included. Haughty professional clubs downtown can’t offer the type of incredible local and international contacts you can make at the station. While music and bright-eyed idealism brought me to CJSW, friendships with inspirational and whip-smart people keep me coming back. CJSW is full of folks who deeply care about the Calgary community and want to do their part in enriching it as much as possible. There’s a unique and infectious energy running through the station and on the airwaves everyday.

G: You’re very involved in the arts and music community in Calgary. Is your radio show an extension of that involvement?

AM: I have served as a jurist for the Juno Awards and the East Coast Music Awards. I am one of the original Polaris Music Prize jurists and serve as a jurist for the ECHO Songwriting Prize, so staying on top of Calgarian and Canadian music is not only a passion, but a duty that I take very seriously. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to meet many inspirational musicians as a print and radio journalist. I am in awe of the artistic talent in our city and country and have an open door policy on Shindig! to anyone who is enriching the Calgary community. If someone is doing something incredible for Calgary — as part of an amazing new band or as the restaurateur of a hot new restaurant — I want to meet them, support them, and introduce them to the CJSW audience as fast as possible.

G: What up-and-comers in Calgary are you excited about?

AM: I am training two of the youngest CJSW DJs in the history of the station. The youngest DJ is 15-year-old Jean Sebastien Audet and he is going to rule the rock’n’roll roost one day. His band, Faux Fur, just released a new CD (All Our Sawngz So Far Just Y) that I am so excited about. Two other promising local bands include Miesha & The Spanks and The Shrapnelles. Those three bands are going to own Summer 2011.

G: How do you find new material for the show?

AM: I consume music like a prairie fire consumes dry grass. I listen to demos on Bandcamp and read Exclaim!, Pitchfork, MAGNET, and every music blog I can find on the Internet. Each week, I audition stacks of new releases to determine the best collection of songs to present to Calgary every Monday afternoon. Only the best songs make it on Aubrey’s Shindig! — I have little patience for music that isn’t instantly engaging.

G: Who would win in a dance-off: [Station Manager] Chad Saunders or [Program Director] Joe Burima?

AM: Andy, if Say Hi’s “Take Ya Dancin’” was playing, I’d totally cream those two!

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