#BehindTheScenes takes a look at the women working offstage in the Canadian music industry – the movers and shakers that fuel the biz. It’s a realm that was once thought to be the domain of men, but now, more and more females are running the show.
Christina Fitzgerald is the Programming/Music Director with Indie88. She’s also one of the panelists in CMW’s Music Ecoystem Panel happening next month.
SDTC: Describe your education/career trajectory to this point.
CF: I thought for a long time that I was going to get into journalism. I started my education with that in mind at Kings College in Halifax. I started looking at the radio and television program at NSCC as a way to get my degree in Journalism faster and for a cheaper tuition. Once I started the RTA program I got the chance to volunteer at the Newcap stations in Halifax and everything changed.
I started working on the street team for Q104 in Halifax, moved in a promo coordinating job, and also began working weekends for another Newcap station about an hour outside of the city. From there I moved to Cornerbrook Newfoundland to do mornings, afternoon drive and promo coordinator. I came back to Halifax to be part of the launch of Live 105 as midday and Music Director. Newcap hired me back to flip one of their stations to a more modern format (Radio 96.5) and I was Program and Music Director as well as doing middays. All that happened before I took my role at Indie88 in Toronto as Program and Music Director alongside Mike Religa. I’ve also been on the MuchFACT grant board for the past three years.
Walk us through a typical workday in your life, from getting up until going to bed.
Typical hours in the office are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where I can be doing a variety of things, from providing feedback to my announcers, client meetings, brainstorms with my promotions department, strategy meetings for the station, working on integrated content with our digital department, approving scripts and production from our creative department, scheduling and selecting music for the station, reviewing mentor stations, and many more things.
The job also comes with a massive social element: I’m out at events and shows almost every week. It’s a busy life that sometimes feels non-stop, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
If you are not faced with constant challenges, you must be bored in your career, no? I am a young program director, so a constant challenge is proving myself. Learning and asking for help when you need it is the best way to overcome this challenge. If you are growing and learning, reaching out to your personal mentors, surrounding yourself with smart and innovated talent, while trusting your gut and believing in yourself, you’ll be better for yourself and for your company.
What was the best advice given to you in relation to your career?
“It’s only radio,” was something Gary Tredwell said to me during my very first air-check when I royally f’d up a break. It seems like such a simple thing to say, but the thought me hit right away: It was okay to make mistakes, to not let the small stuff get you down and to always grow from your mistakes. I carry that thought with me and often think about those three simple words when I get really inside my head.
What albums are you obsessed with at the moment?
I cannot get enough of Charlotte Day Wilson’s EP right now. I think she is brilliant and cannot wait for her album! Also very obsessed with Allan Rayman!