In less than a year January Rogers has written and produced what audiences are calling a hilarious and community-driven web series. Rogers will be pitching the series at the first in-person Indigenous Screen Event this June in Banff.
The Summit will include a half-day pitch forum financing event. Indigenous producers and creators will pitch their in-development scripted programs to panels of Canadian and international buyers, as well as an industry audience.
Rogers titled her web series, NDNs on the Airwaves. The show consists of 10, eight to 12-minute episodes about a fictional rez radio station named CKFUcanada FM. The series is set in modern times where Patricia Jones (Lacey Hill) aka Queen P, aka DJ-PJ is left to run it after her parents unexpectedly pass. Patty does not possess any radio experience or technical aptitude and would rather leave to pursue her dreams as a fashion designer in the big city.
She co-hosts the Morning Medicine show along with a career-minded work-study DJ Gerald (Micheal Moses) who is Black and who has only joined the station to file his hours as a broadcast apprentice. Wayne Wiias, (Adrian Harjo) is a fixture to the station, who has been with it since it started 30 years prior.
“For villains, we have a ringer in a pseudo-native investor Brent Belaney (Jace Martin) who swoops in to save the day only to wipe out any trace of the spirit of CKFUcanada FM,” reads the series’ YouTube description.
Rogers (she/her) is a multi-award-winning Mohawk/Tuscarora poet, media producer, performance and sound artist. She has several published poetry titles. Throughout the episodes, Rogers hopes audiences will gain a sense of the quirky and charming ways Indigenous radio defines itself and serves its community.
“We address current political and social issues in surprising and humorous ways. These stories take viewers on a journey of cultural survival and the unique role native radio plays in perpetuating Indigenous identity through voice, tone and of course humour,” said Rogers. “The content of this station’s programming will prove to be unique much like the methods Patty and her radio partners employ to keep it running.”
The series was created from Rogers’ love and passion for rez radio.
“Native communities hold fast to our stations and I hope NDNs on the Airwaves will help share the importance of native radio through our humour, stories and educational narratives.”
“I am headed to Banff in June to pitch NDNs on the Airwaves to other industry professionals and bigger broadcast platforms like Crave, CBC, and others,” said Rogers, who said pitching her media products is not something she does often. “The timing is really in line with what we see happening with other native comedy series landing on big streaming services out there.”
Last summer a screening of the series was shown at the Gathering Place by the Grand to a receptive audience. Rogers said the scripts were developed in part by two members of the female native comedy troupe Manifest Destiny’s Child.
“They were brought in to punch up the script a bit. I am very proud of the scripts for all their cultural nuances. The comedy. And even interesting backstories with the characters, which is impressive considering the limited time we placed each episode at.”
Rogers said her goal is for the series to be valuable and viable for bigger product houses to adopt, embrace, and develop further.
“There is room for improvement but I would love for this to the television and laptop screens.”
Check out Ojistoh Publishing Productions on YouTube to laugh and fall in love with NDNs on the Airways sooner than later.