Allan Slaight Radio Institute under renovation at Ryerson

The Allan Slaight Radio Institute is currently under construction in the Rogers Communications Centre. (Mallory Chate / Ryersonian Staff)

The Allan Slaight Radio Institute is currently under construction in the Rogers Communications Centre. (Mallory Chate / Ryersonian Staff)

This version corrects details about scholarship renewal in paragraph 8.

The future of radio for students in the RTA school of media has never looked better, as construction continues in the Rogers Communications Centre.

The building is currently undergoing renovations to create the Allan Slaight Radio Institute, after the school received a $3-million donation from Slaight’s family. Slaight, a prominent Canadian media magnate, began his career in the 1940s as a radio reporter in Moose Jaw, Sask.

The donation was meant to help fuel the future of radio media for Ryerson in the name of the Canadian broadcast icon. More than $1 million of the donation will go towards professional grade radio rooms and equipment.

“Experiential learning is how it works. The more opportunities for students to get their hands on equipment, the better off they’ll be,” said Shawn Haswell, the media school’s manager of production and
facilities.

He explained that the institute will be a massive expansion and improvement from the old radio suites, giving students equipment and space where they can produce higher quality projects. “First-year students will get to use industry standard equipment right away,” he said.

The rest of the donation will go towards renewable entrance awards for students taking radio courses, creative funding for student production projects and an event called Meet and Greet with Broadcasters in Residence, where guest speakers come in to talk with the students. One of the first speakers of the program will be Alan Cross, a Canadian radio broadcaster, musician and writer. Media school students will be able to meet Cross Sept. 30 in the RCC.

The current view of the soon-to-open Allan Slaight Radio Institute in the RCC. (Mallory Chate / Ryersonian Staff)

The current view of the soon-to-open Allan Slaight Radio Institute in the RCC. (Mallory Chate / Ryersonian Staff)

Remote control cameras in every room will be part of the finished expansion. “You are
actually going to be able to control any microphone or any camera from any of the rooms, and that was not possible before,” Haswell said.

The donation has also allowed for first-year students to apply for a $7,000 scholarship when they enrol in radio courses, renewable for three years. The new funding will last for the next 10 years. As a result, there will be changes to the curriculum, like including more radio in first-year audio courses.

The media school is also working to expand its student-run radio station, SpiritLive. The station is an outlet for students to submit work they have created and have it aired live. Following renovations, the radio room for SpiritLive will be a quality studio for students to work in.

“Our existing station can expand to have more than one stream available,” said associate media school professor Lori Beckstead. She added that she hopes these updates will motivate more students to get involved with the station.

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