PRISM airs Tuesdays at 4 p.m. on CHUO 89.1 FM.
PRISM’s inaugural season was hosted by Sofia Shutenko and Mackenzie Smedmore, two active participants in the city’s independent music scene. In the fall Sofia will be joined by new co-host Brittany Neron who will be replacing Mackenzie, who is moving to Montreal. We caught up with Sofia to talk about the goals of the show, the importance of showcasing underrepresented artists, and how independent media can help raise those voices.
Why did you choose the name PRISM?
PRISM officially unofficially stands for Punx Re-Imagining a Spectrum of Miscellany (or Music, depending on who you ask) but the name came before we decided on an acronym. Mack and I were trying to figure out a way to label the spectrum of content we’d be throwing at our listeners every week—we both love punk (I personally am most into hardcore) but we also love a lot of other types of music . . . we didn’t want to label ourselves as a show specific to a single genre because that felt limiting. We genuinely just want to play music that sounds good and hope whoever’s listening is willing to trust us and maybe discover something cool they wouldn’t actively seek out.
What is the mandate of the show? Why is this mandate important?
Our mandate is to share the best weird, punk, experimental, local, and miscellaneous music—prioritizing under-represented artist identities. Some people choose to believe that subculture communities, like punk or experimental music scenes, break the rules of social hierarchy and systems of oppression but we know that to be untrue. Often even in diverse communities it’s still mostly white men front and centre on stages and airwaves and in organizational positions—our smaller communities replicate the systems that prioritize whiteness and masculinity in larger society. Not only is this antithetical to the spirit of punk and the DIY ethic, which is foundational to our show, but it’s also really boring. Acknowledging that two cisgender white women can only do so much, we try as much as possible to use our platform and love for music to amplify the voices and artistry of underrep’d folks in our city and across Canada by playing their music and interviewing them.
What is the importance of independent media?
They allow independent, creative people to be directly involved in the creation of their own culture. Independent media make space for meaningful audience engagement to feature a diversity of perspectives and interests, and give contributors freedom to decide the direction of their projects. Community radio specifically allows us to be both consumers and producers of music media and because of that I feel more connected to my community and its art/ists. •