Haydn Watters talks Smorgasborg – Monday Mornings at 9 am on 88.1FM
Gazette: Who are you? How old are you? Where are you from? What are your favorite water and land dwelling animals?
Haydn Watters: My name is Haydn Watters, host of Smorgasborg and here’s some fun facts about me:
- I’m a fourth year journalism student at King’s. I’m hoping to do something in broadcast after I graduate in the spring.
- I am 21 years of age.
- While I’ve lived here in Halifax for the past four years, I’m actually from a small town in Ontario called Elora. It’s about 20 minutes away from Guelph. Elora’s claim to fame is the Elora Gorge, the Elora Festival (a month long festival of classical music) and Riverfest Elora (a music festival my family runs!)
- Hmm… favourite animals, both water and land dwelling? For the water, I’m gonna have to go with the platypus. It’s a great looking animal. As for the land dwelling animal, without a doubt, the sloth. A hilarious looking creature.
G: How long have you been hosting Smorgasborg? What got you started into radio?
HW: I’ve been hosting some form of Smorgasborg since 2011. The program actually started on 97.3 The Bay, a radio station a friend and I started out of his dorm room in Middle Bay at King’s. We bought a little transmitter which was able to broadcast the entire radius of the campus and put it up on the side of the residence building. In addition to hosting Smorgasborg on The Bay twice a week, I sat on the board of directors for the station. We programmed the station six days a week from 7 p.m. to midnight and threw a bunch crazy station parties in the dorm which we’d be broadcasting in the middle of.
At the end of first year, The Bay stopped when we moved out of residence. I wanted to keep Smorgasborg on the air though. I pitched it to The Grand at 92.9, a radio station that was just starting up back home. And they put me on the air! I’d record the show in Halifax every week and then send it back to Ontario to play. I thought it was a bit weird that the show was recorded in Halifax, but not on the air here. So I pitched it to CKDU back in January of this year and now it’s on the air here too!
G: So what IS Smorgasborg? The name evokes feasts – if the show was a feast, what would be on the menu?
HW: The name Smorgasborg came from my grade 11 communications class. I was making this mock television series that had a whole bunch of different skits and scenes on it. I meant to call it Smorgasbord, but I accidently misspelled it. The name stuck. The show itself is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, namely alternative music both old and new. It’s music mixed with my musings and random history about each of the musicians I play and their songs. Every now and then, we have live guests and interviews… those are always fun!
The way I explain the playlist to folks is that the Smorgasborg playlist is typically the first 10 songs I think of when I roll out of bed in the morning or go to sleep at night. Sometimes I’m thinking Annie Lennox, other times I’m thinking Animal Collective. It all really depends on the day.
G: How do you maintain running a new show every Monday morning?
HW: There’s always good new alternative music coming out and there’s so much golden alternative music in the archives that I never have a shortage of tunes to play. Putting together Smorgasborg on a weekly basis is a stress reliever. It gives me a few hours every week to focus on something other than work and I get to listen to/talk about quality music. I can always make time for that!
G: What makes for a good radio show?
HW: Conversation that is familiar but not too familiar. I enjoy stimulating conversation on radio shows. That said, the conversation shouldn’t be too chummy or over the top. I want to learn something when listening to the conversation. My favourite part of radio is the spontaneity to it. Some of my favourite radio moments happened unexpectedly.
G: If somebody reading this has some inkling towards radio, how would you push them for it?
HW: There’s nothing like the rush of going live on the air. If someone has an inkling towards radio, I’d invite them on the air at CKDU to test it out. Being live is how I got hooked. Also, there’s so many people in the industry here in Halifax willing to teach you. Fire off an email to an on air host and ask if you can sit in on their show. I’ve done that lots of times and everyone has always been super receptive!
G: Why do you do what you do?
HW: I think I do what I do because it combines all the things I like: listening to great music; talking about a lot of random things; hearing about something and then being able to go out and find out more about it. These three things are why I do what I do. One other thing to note: I am a current board member at CKDU.