When we I began the original Science Files on News 95-7 in Halifax, ten years ago, it was basically a stunt. It was a short half hour, once every two weeks, built around trying to stump me on a science topic, a sort of a radio trivial pursuit with me playing the game against the rest of the listening audience. In a way, I guess you could say that it was a bit of a patronizing perspective of the Rogers listening audience. But it worked and piqued the audience interest.
I am the quintessential science person, so given any opportunity, my favourite topic always has to do with science. The power of the method staggers me and I learned long ago that talking about science is akin to opening a window of understanding of the workings of the universe for me. Getting a platform with Rogers, to able to talk about the sciences on the radio to an appreciative (for the most part) audience, and even better, to interact with them, to kick about questions and answers and “blue sky” and speculate, was a as close to perfection as it gets for me. The really amazing thing is that I was going against the grain. Not a soul gave this any chance of succeeding.
Back in the early days, when all-news first went to air in Halifax, we barely made a blip in the ratings. And most of the rest of the media revelled in our almost non-existent ratings. So, the powers that be gave the “Science Files” a chance. And I ran with it. Almost immediately something strange began to happen. People began to take notice. Even the Corp, the 500 pound gorilla in the Halifax market, beefed up its science a bit, ever so slightly and gave its own science experts a little more time. But they didn’t trust their audience, the way we at Rogers did, nor did they have the right people in place to exploit what their audience really wanted when it comes to science – to chat about science, to speculate, to interact and play. Within a year the ratings were telling us that “The Science Files” was a hit. It resonated with our audience. The Science Files was beefed up to one hour.
And it didn’t matter that we changed hosts. We still got a great audience reaction and participation. Science Files had its own following. Every ratings period showed the same thing, an upward trend. And other Rogers stations began to notice. Kitchener, 570 News, decided to give it a go and it went. With a bang. Almost from the get go. And that has been up and running for five years and through a couple of hosts as well.
So now I have taken the next step, a dedicated Science Files which I host. I have also upped the science ante a bit. I interview, quiz and bring in science experts and academics – real scientists. I get to line up each show, a weekly show, one full hour, all science from scientists to the Rogers listeners. My sponsor, Saint Mary’s University, is as excited as I am at the potential of the show. Every Saturday from 11 to 12 I go to air, get to figuratively walk down the corridors of academia, knock on the doors and ask, to quote Paul Erdos “Is Your Brain Open?”, and quiz them about what kind of science is being done. The connection is from SMU to me to you, the audience and beyond. And as I stated before this is a one of a kind, brand new approach for private radio. To say I am excited that I get to have an opportunity like this is an understatement. Tune in Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 11-12 for the inaugural “Richard Zurawski’s Science Files”. And each week after that for the next 51 weeks!