Supportive homes and communities

people first media

DSC_0056_edit_cropKevin Midbo, Ashta Cormier, and Nic Holt in the CHLY studio during a People First Radio broadcast

listen now

headphones bright1. Listen to posts and podcasts from the program.
2. Go to the archive page, which lists all of our podcasts by month, year, and date.
3. For more information about rebroadcasting our program on your nonprofit/community/campus/co-op radio station, go to the syndication page.


broadcast and podcast

People First Radio is a weekly community FM radio and online podcasted program about people, the society in which we live, and issues related to health and wellness. The initiative is a partnership between Columbian Centre Society and Radio Malaspina Society. PFR has been on the air since November 22, 2007.

Columbian Centre worked in partnership with Open Minds Open Windows Society over several months to initiate the locally-produced and locally-aired program. The talk-show format includes participation of people living with or affected by mental illness, addictions, and/or homelessness.

comments about the start-up

4 years on the air (Nov. 2011)

“We’re excited about the potential this project has for dispelling the many myths associated with mental illness, addictions, and homelessness,” said Tom Grauman, Columbian Centre’s executive director at the time of the program’s inception.

Tom became convinced of the project’s usefulness in Nanaimo after becoming aware of a South American radio program, La Colifata (“crazy radio”), that broadcasts live from a psychiatric hospital to an estimated 12 million listeners. “La Colifata demonstrates the importance of giving a real voice to individuals with mental illness and provides a great example of a unique public education program.”

People First Radio was accepted by CHLY 101.7 FM (Radio Malaspina Society) for broadcast from Nanaimo on a weekly basis. The program can be heard live from 12-1 p.m. on Thursdays, and in rebroadcast on Mondays at noon. See CHLY’s website for further details.

award in 2009

In November 2009, People First Radio received an Innovative Community Capacity Building Award from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Community Capacity Building Strategy, an initiative of the BC Healthy Living Alliance. This award recognizes local development programs, and the individuals behind them, that inspire communities to take action to identify and meet their own needs, and who contribute to the foundation of their community.

Poet Kim Goldberg and PFR co-presenter Jan Coleman during Random Acts of Poetry week in 2009

On February 25, 2010, Jan Coleman retired from co-presenting People First Radio with Kevin Midbo after more than two years and dozens of interviews with people from all walks of life. During her final appearance on PFR as co-presenter, she reflected on her experiences on the radio program.

“It has been an amazing, fascinating experience,” Jan said in an issue of Columbian Centre’s Currents newsletter. “It’s been such a learning curve, developing the confidence to talk to anybody about anything, and reconnecting with the Nanaimo and the world community.” Jan co-hosted the inaugural broadcast of People First Radio on November 22, 2007, and doesn’t rule out future projects in community radio.

Jan has filled many different roles with Columbian Centre, as a staff member, as a director of the Board, and most recently as a volunteer with People First Radio. Thank you Jan!


XQrRD.qr.2People First Radio also sends out a weekly enewsletter with information about upcoming broadcasts and links to local, provincial, national, and international news stories.

We send out a link to a PDF document summarizing a range of news and opinion articles along with a summary of our live radio segments for the week. Use the QR code to subscribe or sign up here.


Do you have a story idea? Would you like to share a comment or make a suggestion about our enewsletter? Do you have feedback about our broadcast or one of our podcasts? Contact us by email.

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