Jurors and Bios

The NCRA Community Radio Awards owes its continued success to the jurors who tirelessly evaluate and judge the awards audio and written submissions. As professionals who understand the inner workings of c/c radio, they bring years of radio knowledge and expertise to the judging table. They come from a wide array of backgrounds and provide sound judgement and order to the process, ensuring fair and earned results.

On this page we would like to thank them for all their hard work, and continued support for the sector.

The 2014/15 Jurors were as follows:

Christine Maki got her radio start reviewing local artists for CKCU's morning show, Special Blend. Later, she was a fill-in host at CKCU and CHUO, a tech and sound art contributor at CKUT and CIUT, and a host of her own show at Bailrigg FM, in Lancaster, UK. Christine now works as a producer for CBC's Ottawa Morning.


Tara-Michelle Ziniuk began volunteering in C-C radio in the late 90s at CKLN Radio in Toronto. She got her start hosting a weekly queer news program and worked several contracts coordinating queer & trans Pride Week programming. She later served as Interim News Coordinator at CKLN and then Programming Coordinator at CFRU in Guelph. She's also been involved in International Women's Day, Prisoner Justice Day and anti-war special programming and has hosted everything from live indie music shows to overnight punk shows to on-the-ground broadcasts from political demonstrations. She served a 2-year term on the Board of Directors of the NCRA where she worked in Equity and Human Resources and has been on the organizing committees of the Women in Radio Conference and NCRC. Her stand-out C-C radio memories are reporting from the anti-FTAA protests in Quebec City, and bringing queer hip hop to the air for the duration of a popular weekly hip hop program. Tara-Michelle lives in Toronto with her daughter but would rather live on a farm.

Kim Vallière is a sports reporter at Radio-Canada in Ottawa. She first got involved with community radio at the University of Ottawa's campus station CHUO. She hosted a weekly show about current events for three years. She also worked at the NCRA as the membership coordinator, participating to the Halifax conference. Kim went on to work for Radio-Canada (the French CBC) in Toronto, Regina and most recently Ottawa.

Mercedes Peters is a fourth year History Honours student at Acadia University. It was her experience with community radio that led her down the research path that she chose. After producing a documentary on Shubenacadie Indian Residential School survivors for NCRA’s Resonating Reconciliation program, she was inspired to study colonial genocide, and how Eurocentric ideas still affect Canadians today. She loves music from every genre, and loves hearing from new artists; in her spare time, she writes short stories and binge-watches YouTube.

Jane Lytvynenko is a freelance journalist and web developer with six years of experience in the student press. She has contributed work to CHUO, Canadian University Press (CUP), Vice, and Torontoist. Formerly the national executive and editor-in-chief of the Canadian University Press, Jane is currently on CUP’s board of directors. She is deeply passionate about student journalism and its possibilities. Her expertise lies in news coverage, particularly politics and current affairs.

Heather Kitching won a Community Radio Award in 2006 for Queer FM, the LGBT current affairs show she produced and hosted for 17 years on CiTR.  She has studied radio storytelling with Steve Wadhams, Tod Maffin and Kathryn Gretsinger and audio art with Victoria Fenner.  She freelanced for ten years for SiriusXM and occasionally for the CBC and was a long-time contributor to the syndicated LGTB magazine This Way Out. She currently serves as a fill-in reporter for CBC News in Thunder Bay and is completing her journalism degree through Carleton University.  



Alan Sovran's life in community radio began as a fresh-faced 18 year-old at CFRU-FM in Guelph, Ontario where for three years he hosted and co-hosted indie music shows and periodically acted as a co-host on CFRU's current affairs program Beyond the Ballot Box. He has also served on their Board of Directors and worked as one of the stations Polylingual Programming Coordinator to increase francophone programming at the station.

Starting in January 2012, Alan acted as the NCRA's Bilingual Membership Coordinator, working jointly on bilingualism within the sector and the association, the Ontario Independent Music Archive project while also helping support member stations wherever possible. He was also helped organize a bilingual track of workshops at the NCRC, a regional conference in Cheticamp, New Brunswick and the NCRA's appeal of Re:Sound's proposed tariff for campus and community stations. 


Alan currently works doing projects for an environmental health organization and is based in Toronto.

The 2013/14 Jurors were as follows:

Mina Sharif’s interest in radio began as a child when she would voice for children’s programming on her father’s Afghanistan News program.  At the University of Windsor, Mina was an active volunteer at CJAM community radio which awarded her the title of “Volunteer of the Year” in 2003, as well as the opportunity to fill in as the Spoken Word Coordinator and host her own weekly 90 minute program.

This was followed by a year at the esteemed CHUM group of stations where she worked in a variety of departments on air and in promotions.  In early 2005, she travelled back to Afghanistan as a volunteer radio trainer working with women managed radio stations in various provinces across the country. Her experience in Afghanistan includes radio training for street children in a number of cities, developing and disseminating radio campaigns and roundtable discussions in support of the Afghan government, as well as for a BBC radio series highlighting women in the Afghan government.  She has also led various training programs at independent radio stations on a volunteer basis.  Most recently, Mina Sharif was the Executive Producer for seasons two and three of Baghch-e-Simsim, the Afghan version of Sesame Street. She plans to return to Afghanistan to pursue further opportunities supporting free media in Afghanistan.

A professional in Social Enterprise Management (New Beginnings for Youth, The ARTery, Wyrd Arts Initiatives) and Communications (Weird Canada, CBC), Marie Flanagan is experienced in leading far-reaching initiatives and achieving mission-critical objectives. Marie’s skills include strategy, goal oriented action plans, communications, and working with diverse groups of people to define and achieve results. 

As the executive director of Weird Canada, she has incorporated the community as a National Nonprofit, transitioned the site to bilingualism, obtained a 50K grant to build a nationwide store and distribution service, recruited over 350 new volunteers (from British Colombia to Nunavut), ran a successful drive to win "Best Independent Music Website in Canada" (CBC3) and introduced policy and dialogue relating to accessibility, openness, and inclusivity. You can read her to-do list here: http://weirdcanada.com/2013-objectives/

Laura Yaros is a Certified Translator and has been active in feminist, lesbian and community groups for 40 years. Since October 1981, she has been involved--as producer, researcher, co-host, host, technician, or some combination of the three--with “Matrix”, a 60-minute weekly magazine by, for and about women from a feminist and progressive perspective on Radio Centre-ville (www.radiocentreville.com) in Montreal, where she lives with her partner. 


Alka Sharma had been involved in campus/community radio from 1989 – 1998, starting out at CKCU – FM at Carleton University in Ottawa. She then went on to work at CFRU – FM in Guelph and during her tenure in Guelph, she became a Director for the NCRA Board and then a year later, the President of the Board. After she left the CFRU, she went on to work at CHRY – FM at York University in Toronto. The skills that she learned from being involved in campus/community radio led her to working at CBC – Radio in Toronto as Associate Producer for Outfront. She was there for  five-months and then went on to work at the Toronto International Film Festival as Senior Manager of Operations and later as Interim Executive Director for the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. She now works in Ottawa as the Executive Director of Folk Music Ontario.

Cynthia King is an Anishinaabekwe from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay in the Robinson Huron Territory.Her favorite things are her family, community and the environment.  She likes reading, writing, music, keeping up with local and world news.  She writes random ideas and thoughts in journals or on pieces of paper.

In 2009 Cynthia received a certificate from the FNTI Indigenous Public Relations Program.  This further inspired her to continue to involve yourself as a radio production assistant at the CHRZ community radio station.She most recently participated in producing a NCRA community radio documentary titled "Identity Theft".

Florence Ngué-No travaille actuellement à l'Alliance des Radios Communautaires du Canada comme un des agents de production et de soutien des radios. Leur réseau est constitué de 28 stations des stations de radio francophones présents dans 9 provinces et 2 territoires. Elle possède un diplôme en communication et science politique et se passionne pour le journalisme et la musique.

Rachel Weldon is the host of Debaser on CKCU 93.1 FM in Ottawa, a Weird Canada contributor, an event promoter, and devoted supporter of Canadian music and art. 


Nelly Bassily works at Farm Radio International, and focuses most of her time on two very stimulating resources for broadcasters: Farm Radio weekly (weekly.farmradio.org) and Barza (barza.fm) where she hopes more and more African broadcasters will be able to interact and use Barza to share more farmer stories across communities.


Sarah Buchanan has been involved in the c/c radio sector for many years, including having worked at CFUV, CJSF, CiTR, and for CBC. She has produced and edited an independtant podcast about Vancouver subcultures, and was an organizer, band coach, and workshop leader for Girls Rock Camp Vancouver. 



The 2012/13 Jurors were as follows:

Dave Brown started his broadcasting career in 2008 in Montreal, but it wasn't until he got to Algonquin College in 2009 that things started coming together. He was Program Director of CKDJ from 2010-2011. After school he moved onto internships at The Jewel 98.5, CBC Radio 3, CBC Radio 1, Entertainment Tonight: Canada, and Global News Toronto. He has spent the last two years working as the morning traffic announcer at CBC Radio 1 in Ottawa. He has an ongoing love affair with all things radio and was greatly pleased to serve as a judge for these awards.

Didier Bikorimana, 27, is a Rwandan radio and print journalist. His articles have appeared in Rwanda’s The New Times, Uganda’s The Independent, and Spain’s El Mundo. His radio works have been broadcast by Radio Salus, a campus-based community radio station in the southern Rwandan town of Butare, by Canada’s CBC, and the Programme BBC Gahuzamiryango of BBC Great Lakes/BBC World Service.

Didier was the winner of the 2012 Gender Award in Print Journalism issued jointly by the Rwanda Governance Board and the United Nations Development Program, in Rwanda’s first ever Development Journalism Awards. He holds a Bachelor Honour’s Degree in Journalism and Communication (with a major in Journalism) from the National University of Rwanda, which he obtained on 27 January 2012. The same year, he also won the National University of Rwanda’s “certificate of recognition” for “outstanding performance” in the Faculty of Arts, Media and Social Sciences. He’s a stringer based in Rwanda for the BBC Great Lakes and files regularly from the country’s Southern Province.

Heather Kitching won a Community Radio Award in 2006 for Queer FM, the LGBT current affairs show she produced and hosted for 17 years on CiTR.  She has attended radio-story telling workshops taught by Steve Wadhams, Tod Maffin and Kathryn Gretsinger and an audio art camp led by Victoria Fenner.  She has also freelanced for SiriusXM and the CBC and was a long-time contributor to the syndicated LGTB magazine This Way Out.  She is currently studying journalism part-time at Carleton University while continuing to work as a publicist for roots and world musicians.   

John Harris Stevenson is a long-time community broadcaster and technologist who has been working to build grassroorts media in Canada since 1985. A founding director and past president of the Community Radio Fund of Canada, John served on the National Campus and Community Radio Association Advisory Board for six years, and was a two-term NCRA president. At the local level, John has been president of CHUO-FM Ottawa, station manager at CFRU-FM Guelph, and a programmer and development coordinator at CKDU-FM Halifax. John has represented non-commercial radio to government and before the CRTC numerous times, and successfully lobbied to have community broadcasting included in the 1991 Broadcasting Act. John is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's iSchool researching knowledge media and Internet governance.

Patrick Nagle got to know campus/community radio as a listener to the FM station at the University of Manitoba in his home town of Winnipeg back in 1975.  He got actively involved in 1976, while he was a student at Ryerson in Toronto.  He also managed CHRW at Western, and CKCU at Carleton into the 1980s. Patrick was involved in the early years of the NCRA, working on the early foundation of the organization and the first few national conferences.  He was active in helping to represent the NCRA before the CRTC, at the first World Community Radio conference and elsewhere. He moved north to work with an Inuit communications organization in Labrador in 1986.  For almost 25 years now, he's been the Area Manager for CBC in Nunavut. 

Sharmeen Khan currently lives in Toronto where she works part time as an associate editor with the Canadian Association of Labour Media (calm.ca) and at CUPE 3903 at York University. She has over 15 years of organizing experience in activist media - predominantly in print and broadcasting where she actively tied anti-oppression practices with media production. She has worked and volunteered at a variety of community radio stations across Canada and was Equity Officer for the NCRA from 2006 - 2008. She is currently on the editorial collective of Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action and is on the board of the Media Co-op. 

Stephanie Kale began her career in journalism and communication more than a decade ago, when in 2001 she volunteered as a lunch-time radio co-host at CJAM, the University of Windsor’s campus-community radio station.  For two years, she was committed to discovering and playing the latest in electronic music, with a focus on revealing new talent from the Windsor-Detroit area. Stephanie carried her passion for community radio to Ottawa, where for three years at CKCU she hosted a music program exploring ambient, experimental and electronic music and also drew attention to events in the local music scene.

After taking graduate-level courses in radio production at Carleton and interning at CBC Radio in Ottawa, Stephanie worked in community radio in Kigali, Rwanda, where she wrote and produced stories on a wide variety of subjects—health, gender, education, politics—for a daily news cast. During this time, she also free-lanced for CBC Radio, Free Speech Radio News and Vatican Radio, reporting from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Currently, Stephanie works in communications for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, where she is in charge of social media, event planning and writing promotional stories on Canadian research.

Valentina Naranjo started in community radio at CFRU-FM in Guelph in 2002 as a volunteer producing many shows, including "Espanglish" and "Alternativa Latino Americana". In 2004 she became the station's Volunteer Coordinator and held that position until 2010. She also served on the NCRA Board from 2006-2008 where she worked on launching GroundWire as a national initiative.  Coming from Colombia, where community radio operates in such a different political context, Valentina says the reason she joined a station in Canada was to help people realize what a privilege it is to have access to the airwaves without worrying about the consequences. She currently works as a client navigator for new Canadians at a community health centre.


The 2010/11 Jurors were as follows:

Gillian Carr

Donna Lee

Germain Uwahiriwe


The 2009/10 Jurors were as follows:

Melissa Buote used to work at CIMN-FM, the campus/community station in Charlottetown, PEI (sadly no longer broadcasting) and later worked as Program Director at CKDU in Halifax for four years. Now she’s a consultant producing videos, among other things.

Caitlin Crockard was bit by the radio bug at the former CKMS-FM in Waterloo, where she dived into the dusty shelves of musical gems and didn’t surface until 4 years later. Caitlin is now the producer of CBC Ottawa’s “All in a Day” and also worked on Fuse and Bandwidth.

Zofeen Khan hosted the long-running show “Mystic Music of the East” on CKDU-FM for years and just moved to Indianapolis to pursue a career in photography.

Jaime Little taught radio at the University of King’s College in Halifax, NS and now works for the CBC’s Cree and French services in Northern Quebec. She has also worked with community radio in Afghanistan and taught radio at a refugee camp on the Chad border.

Gabriela Mayoquin used to work for the World Association of Community Broadcasters, known as AMARC, and has trained community broadcasters around the world. At the time of the Awards she was in Bangladesh, helping work with community radio stations there.

Dan Misener was a programmer on CKDU-FM in Halifax and now works on CBC Radio’s “Spark”.

Prudent Nsengiyumva works with Radio Salus, a community radio station in Butare, Rwanda but he has also had work featured at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and on CBC’s Dispatches.


The 2008/09 Jurors were as follows:

Caroline Cote

Janna Graham

Adrian Harewood

Melissa Kaestner

Stu Mills

Rebecca Zandbergen


The 2007/08 Jurors were as follows:

Craig Norris

Melissa Kaestner

Monique Lanoix