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TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – A broadcasting class in Tumbler Ridge will get a unique opportunity to speak with a Ukrainian doctor living in the midst of Russia’s ongoing invasion, with the episode expected to launch sometime next month on SD59’s website.

That little bit exTRa is a podcast started by Tumbler Ridge Secondary School (TRSS) students last year, and students are kicking off their second season episodes with a special interview with a Dr. Yuliana Brus, a maternity doctor working in Kyiv.

Teacher Mark Deeley, who started the program for his Grade 11 and 12 classes, says it’s given his students an opportunity to practice their media chops and get a sense of what it’s like to run their own media company.

“Imagine talking to someone right in the middle of a war zone, just because of technology. That would never happen in World War Two or Vietnam. This is a chance to hear from a real civilian on the ground, in the middle of it,” he said. “The reach that could have just in this area of B.C. would be amazing.”

“The kids are not missing that point, they understand that it’s powerful stuff. I’m really impressed with my kids.”

The students have sent a list of questions to Brus, said Deeley, which will then be sent back translated and transcribed to be read on the air by the class.

Deeley added the podcast format was the best fit for the program and imitates older eras of broadcasting, complete with radio dramas, skits, and even fake commercials.

“It’s really based around those old radio shows and early television shows. It’s a variety where they have some seriousness – interviews, editorial – but then they have some fun stuff made up,” said Deeley. “Like, best advice for living in Tumbler Ridge, and we always have a sponsor for a made up commercial.”

“Some have to be encouraged by their classmates, but they’ve really risen to the occasion, it’s amazing to watch them develop, the kids who were shy before just got on the radio and started doing it,” he said.

Deeley says the podcast has been a hit with the community, with students getting the opportunity to interview local politicians such as South Peace MLA Mike Bernier and Tumbler Ridge councillor Chris Norbury.

“We’ve had a really good response from the town, we’ve got listeners as far as Ontario, New Brunswick, and even South Africa,” said Deeley. “That’s the great thing about this, anyone in the world can listen to it.”

MLA Bernier speaking on the success of that little bit extTRa last year


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