Campus Profile: Blair Rotstein

Photo Courtesy: Blair Rotstein

Name: Blair Rotstein

Program: RTA

Year: 3

Hobbies: writing, video editing, and tea drinking

Favourite artist: James Bay

Best memory: travelling through Italy ("We did like a five-hour train ride through the Italian countryside and I became a changed woman.")

How did you first get involved with broadcast and radio?

In Grade 9 they had that had those presentations with clubs to join, and it just so happened that Vaughan was one of 3 schools to have a fully licensed radio station that actually expanded across the GTA. So they were like, we need people to be a part of this. And at first I wasn’t sure-- I thought it was a little weird. I had done theatre, but I’d never dabbled in broadcasting. But I literally went out, put my name on the sign up sheet by myself, and then I started broadcasting and I really liked it! I just kept doing it year after year and we got a course, the digital media broadcasting course, so I was a part of the first time that went on in the school. Then I did a co-op from it so it literally, it was always in my high school life and I said to myself, "This is what I’m best at so I’m going to apply for it for university."

A behind-the-scenes shot from when Blair covered the MMVAs. (Photo Courtesy: Blair Rotstein)

You mentioned doing a co-op as a result of the broadcasting club. What was that like?

It meant that I would be at the station and get full credit for being there. The station was basically a tiny little storage room that was turned into a station. So I stayed in there for two periods a day out of four and I got full credit for it. And I literally just typed emails and tried to get interviews, tried to get people in the studio, and tried to get sponsorships and deals and access to events and stuff like that. And that was my co-op!

Blair with her KiSS 9.25 team. (Photo Courtesy: Blair Rotstein)

So what happened after that? How did all of that high school experience lead you to where you are now?

I applied for the radio and television program at Ryerson University with an acceptance rate of only 10%. So it’s super hard to get in, but because of all the work I had done in my high school, that got me in. And on the first day of university, I secured an internship at KiSS 92.5. I got it by my own merits, my way, sent my resume out to everyone; it wasn't through the school, i just wanted something else to do, so I got that. And when I was at KiSS, they had me writing a lot of stuff; I had to write all the blog posts for the Blake & Wylde show. Then I started getting really interested in writing, so I opened my own website up so that I could put the interviews I was doing with musicians on it, so that I could put concert reviews on it-- I wanted my own little space. My focus has drifted from broadcasting; I still love it, and I’m still super interested in radio, but I really like writing now as well.

Blair and Lewis Watson after she spoke with him for the first interview to be featured on her website. (Photo Courtesy: Blair Rotstein)

What advice would you give to someone who is in a similar position as you were; someone who is really passionate about something but doesn't know where to start?

I would tell them that experience is more valuable then credits. I think that if you’re interested in pursuing something in, say, the arts, then yes, take those courses in high school and take those courses in university, but it never hurts to actually apply for something. And go out and get yourself a job in the field. It’s easier said than done, because when you apply for a job they do want to see you’ve worked in the field before, but my biggest advice is don’t wait for an opportunity to come to you-- you have to be actively looking for it. Get yourself in the door, because it's a very hard business, it's a very tricky industry to break. If you value experience, you’re going to work relentlessly at making sure that you get some. And that's kind of what I did; I prioritzed my experiences over my classes. My grades suffered a little bit because I was always at KiSS, I was always trying to get more things for myself, but I don’t regret it, because it strengthened my resume and I know it’ll get me places. Experience triumphs everything.