Airing in 1990, this was one of my last shows, if not the last show I produced. WorldSpirit continued to about the end of the year with repeats.
This was my first radio show airing January 18, 1987, the inaugural week that CIUT went to air as a licensed broadcaster. The station originally started in 1966 as a closed-circuit broadcaster for the University of Toronto. WorldSpirit, a 54 minute radio show scheduled Sunday night at 8PM, was created by CIUT staff member Ron LaVoie. As a volunteer newsreader for CIUT, I was thrilled to be asked by Ron to take on this show as he didn’t have time to produce it himself. The first 24 shows of the year programmed by Ron were lectures by theologian Hans Kung who had been guest scholar at the U of T. Producing those Hans Kung shows got me familiar with radio production. From that, I was able to developed my own WorldSpirit content. This particular copy of the first WorldSpirit show has a preamble for when, much later, a series of WorldSpirit shows was picked up by station CKWR.
The above three shows fall into a theme of Jungian interpretation along with the Creation Spirituality of Matthew Fox as a way of interpreting life, given by theologians and psychotherapists. Regrettably, because of sound quality, it takes some effort to listen to these shows.
Phantom of the Opera stage show was on everyone’s mind in 1990, had saturated the media. Our WorldSpirit show tries to see the Phantom of the Opera in another way than for its entertainment value and instead look beneath the surface to what its attraction says about our own psyches. If truth be admitted, we had the idea maybe we could score some complimentary tickets to see the show that was sold out for a year. Neither of us had any money, just had enough to cover rents and food. Maybe the Phantom producers would find our analysis refreshing and reward us with tickets. Of course one would normally go to the show before doing the commentary. But we were on a deadline. And we didn’t really follow up on getting tickets anyway; the analysis was more our interest. For five days in getting this show ready to take the final tape over to the station on Sunday afternoon, for airing Sunday night, I did nothing but record and edit the show, work I enjoyed, and go to the work that paid the rent. In those five days, I slept only 15 hours. Good times!
WORLDSPIRIT on CIUT FM & CKWR FM
Airing 1987-1990 on CIUT FM and CKWR FM, WorldSpirit explored the varieties of religious expression, perhaps with some homage to William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience, certainly, as James, to regard these expressions without judgement. The variety was determined primarily from what lectures or interviews came available, crossed my path. I produced the show with no budget and with volunteering about 30-35 hours a week on collecting content and on the production. WorldSpirit was the only show on CIUT that was studio edited, mixed and produced to tape. All other shows were live or recorded as live.
An Easter Meditation show was the one anomaly: with no script, or plan, expert content or cutting of tape, I went into the studio one afternoon and sat at the mixing board with a stack of albums on my left and a few books on my right, and in one take, slightly rough, recorded a personal meditation on the Easter story. It found me more than I made it. And for that it is a cherished moment.
Wisdom comes from listening and for any listener prepared each week to follow me to some unexpected and unpredictable place, trusting a show that had no set formula to identify itself, then there was the chance for the listener to see things differently, if not anew. A letter from a listener captured exactly what I hoped the show would be: she said every Sunday night at 8, she would turn on the show, turn out all the lights in her apartment, and, lying down on her couch, would listen to WorldSpirit with her eyes closed.
Lectures, interviews, scripts were mixed together into 54 minutes to broadcast each week on Sunday at 8PM. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything; I was living in a rooming house without heat and working at night to pay the bills, sleeping about 4 hours a night. While I eventually wore myself and my voice out, with this show I learned my documentary radio skills for writing, editing and mixing to a final soundscape. And it being CIUT, with a mandate to provide a media alternative to the mainstream, I was able to experiment with form and presentation aiming to make a soundscape, as radio can so well, that was an interior and introspective journey for the listener, and for me a liminal space for my own development – a journey I am so grateful for – that the listener and I explored together each week.
Below, titles of some WorldSpirit Shows. Audio of some shows will be added above over time.
- Hans Kung: Ecumenism -Christianity and World Religions, Parts 1-24
- Northrop Frye: The Dialectic of Belief and Vision
- Gateways to the Superconscious- Embracing Unlimited Self
- The Hero and Heroine in Everyone, Parts 1 & 2
- Gregory Baum: A Life
- Hans Kung: Is there One True Religion?
- Phantom of the Opera: A Psychological Analysis
- Henri Nouwen: The Prodigal
- Thiagyum Eastern Meditation
- The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela
- An Easter Meditation
- Bhakti Devotion : Oriental Christianity
- Myths Dreams Journey
- Psychiatrist Ralph Greenson: Why Men Like War, Parts 1 & 2
- Sadu Sundar, The Indian Mystic
- I Have a Dream
- Rebel Swami
- Paul Tillich: Existential Theologian
- The Celtic Way
- Mirrors of the Soul
- Grant Murray: African Diamonds
- Jacob Neusner: Theological Enemies of Religious Studies
- Freedom Now: 1963 Civil Rights March, Parts 1 & 2
- Mankind and Earth
- A Question of Survival
- Wilfred Cantwell Smith: Theology and the History of Religion
- Liberation Theology
- Ron Barnes: God in the 20th Century
- Channels to Divine Mind
- Oriental Christianity: Christianity in the Hindu Tradition
- Jean Shinoda-Bolen: Gods in Everyman
- Gateways to the Superconscious: The Divine Mind
- Peace of Mind: Vendanta Ancient Philosophy of India
- My Life, My World: Vendanta Ancient Philosophy of India
- Gateways to the Superconscious: Earth Changes
- The Game of Life: Vendanta Ancient Philosophy of India
- Pilgrimmage: The Journey to Promise
- Matthew Fox: Cosmic Time, Cosmic Christ
- The Great Goddess
- James Hillman: Pink Madness, Parts 1 & 2
It was a bit of magic. I had old reel to reel tapes of the shows in boxes, but I had thought they were lost being 30 years old. I couldn’t get any sound but noise from them. Some of the tape wasn’t so great even originally: CBC gave us tape but at times I was so desperate I had to use thin logger tape. Well I didn’t have any other copies of the shows such as on cassette, foolishly. What started as a Kijjijj sale of a mic to Jack Brenchley became an exchange of my reel to reel player for dubbing the tapes to digital format. Two musicians, also trained sound engineers, Jack Brenchley (Leaving Canada) and Patrick Lefler (ROY’S Garage), who with Covid had some time, miraculously recovered about 40 shows. They even had to bake some of the tape. Another 35 or so shows had already been lost, probably the tape reused. I am so grateful to Jack and Patrick for their dedication to this project, and I’m thrilled they have my beautiful Teac recorder to help them create their own remarkable music.