Rob Heydari

This week we feature Rob Heydari, who was a recipient of the JAZZ.FM91 Andy Kufluk Memorial Award at Ryerson University in 2011 for demonstrating excellence in radio production.

Originally from Edmonton, Rob moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television Arts. His work experience includes numerous technician and producer roles at Ryerson and the CBC. Currently he is a Creative Technology Specialist for Rogers Sportsnet, where he works with both broadcast and web technology. He is also active in his community, volunteering for TEDxRyersonU and the inForum initiative. When he’s not making bad jokes about his past working at Ryerson’s campus TV station, Rob can be found trying to explain references from the TV show WKRP to his friends.

Rob took the time to talk about the scholarship and provided an update on his more recent activities:

1) You were the recipient of the JAZZ.FM91 Andy Kufluk Memorial Award in 2011 for your outstanding work in audio production at Ryerson University. How has receiving this scholarship helped you in your personal and professional development?

The support was immediate and direct; it helped me afford to spend more time learning the ropes of production as an intern at CBC Radio. That internship and experience led directly to my employment there for several years. I wouldn’t have been able to afford my start in the radio industry in Toronto without the support of the JAZZ.FM91 scholarship.

2) The JAZZ.FM91 scholarship programs are made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?

Please keep doing what you are doing and supporting education. I had music and arts education all through my life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that learning about music and the arts truly developed critical thinking more than anything else.

Thank you.

3) Since receiving the scholarship and graduating from Ryerson, what have you been doing?

I spent several years working at CBC News, for both radio and television. I’ve now moved to Rogers Sportsnet working on creative applications of technology for their NHL productions. As well, I continue to work as a freelance producer and editor.

4) What are your plans for the future?

I’m trying to master the Orange Blossom Special on my fiddle. On a more academic note, I hope to move into studying data journalism and merging my creative endeavors with the technological itch. A masters degree is in the cards at some point.

5) How can people learn more about you and your activities?

I’m at @robheydari on twitter. Or you might hear me yelling, loudly, in despair at a television somewhere when the Edmonton Oilers are playing. I’m also on LinkedIn here.

Lightning Round:

Favourite musical artist: A bit of an oddball answer, but Nigel Kennedy. As a nerdy child violinist, he always seemed so cool. I have a soft spot in my music collection for his performances. Johnny Cash is a more mainstream favourite.

Favourite album: Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. I looved it as a teenager. It still stands up to a full listen-through today.   

Last live concert / show you attended: Itzhak Perlman at Roy Thomson Hall in December.

Favourite TV show / movie / book: WKRP in Cincinnati. Or, if we’re talking CanCon… Street Legal is a shameful favourite from reruns on Showcase back in the day.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’d love to go on a road trip across the United States and Canada. But you can find something interesting anywhere. A vacation to Uzbekistan a couple of years ago has taken away my obvious, ‘wow, that’s unusual’ answer to this question…

The learn more about JAZZ.FM91 scholarships, click here.