CHEK Upside: Online radio station launches arts academy

CHEK Upside: Online radio station launches arts academy

Jon Williams’ voice is a familiar one to thousands of Islanders.

The former on-air host at 91.3 The Zone left local F.M. airwaves in August of 2020 and while Williams misses the listeners, it’s a move he doesn’t regret.

“I love this community ten fold, but felt like personally I was checking in and checking out and in a similar pattern,” says Williams.

“I really wanted to dive deep into my passions even further to see just how good they could become, how much I could grow.”

The result of exploring his passions has been What Was That Radio, Williams’ own online station highlighting local musicians and helping those struggling with mental health.

“There’s nearly 5,000 unique bands, yes there’s a lot of focus on local musicians too and it’s just about being in the moment and moving forward,” says Williams.

“Nothing’s older than 2017, it’s true modern rock.”

Now approaching two years of broadcasting, Williams is giving back to aspiring artists with the What Was That Arts Academy.

“With the arts academy it’s very simple, it’s about supplying grants to Canadians five and upwards to learn instrumentation, magic, music and more,” says Williams.

Applicants simply fill out a form on the What Was That Radio website detailing what they hope to learn or achieve, with Williams picking the recipients.

“If I contact you very simply you’ll get at least six hours worth of Zoom lessons paid for . . . then I hope you continue that connection to the teacher,” says Williams.

It is a project aimed at helping both the students and instructors.

“While he’s trying to help out people seeking education he’s also helping out people who he’s formed these relationships with over the last 10 years,” says academy vocal coach Renn Madeleine Bibeau.

“It’s giving back to exactly how I started doing magic, I had such a nice community around me of some magicians in this city,” says academy magic instructor Jason Verners.

“So now to be in the position now that maybe I can do that for a young kid who’s coming up, I think that’s pretty cool.”

To learn more about the academy or to apply, head to the What Was That Radio website.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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