// Kristin Lee
DJ Uncle Ando is in the house. Station manager by day, DJ by night.
It’s been 12 years and counting for Radio Western’s station manager, Andrew Barton.
The N.W.A fan has been at Radio Western since 2005, as a volunteer. It was only 5 months ago that he took on the role of station manager.
Barton carries himself with a positive attitude and has a huge presence, even for a small guy.
And even though the station faces many challenges with the referendum, he promises to do anything in his power to break down that barrier.
Barton has been working very hard to diligently build a better future for Radio Western, and for him, to see these things continue to crop up, is disappointing.
“We’re done fighting with the University Students Council, we’re here to support them and every single student here on campus,” said Barton, who is notoriously known for sporting his Bruins cap with a slant.
He keeps a positive outlook on things, even through tough times, because the station is a place he truly cares about. But, during this difficult time, Barton also faces many personal challenges as well.
“It’s been hard with my living situation, and I lost my mom this year, so it’s been a pretty rough go, not only here, but also outside. But the things I like doing when I’m not here are engineering and recording at home. I have my own studio at home so that’s where I spend most of my time,” said Barton.
He looks forward to having more leisure time to be able to do what he loves.
His older sister describes him as a 65-year old man, and Barton agrees. He’s always been able to relate with adults, even as a kid, and his friends were always a lot older than he was.
“He is eternally patient. Everybody likes him. He’s trustworthy, friendly, and he has a huge heart. And a red beard. The station is here because of Andrew and he’s very much been the heart of it as long as he’s been here,” said Pam Hassen, program director at Radio Western.
Born and raised in London, Ont., Barton’s interest and his passion for music started at 16 years old with hip-hop, which transpired from his love for breakdancing. He’s also a bass player, and loves making music. Barton used to play weekly gigs with his fake ID at the Brunswick Hotel, and he even ended up playing his drum machine on the Warped Tour in 2005 with his band called How.
Before realizing his potential for music, Barton was interested in helping people with their finances, which was why he decided to go to college for financial planning services.
“It wasn’t until I got started in the industry that I realized to be really successful, you have to sell products and services that may not necessarily be in the best interest of your clients. You’re dealing with someone’s future and their money. I could no longer do that so I left. And I had a couple of months off before I became the production director at Radio Western,” explained Barton.
The 32-year old’s outlook now is much better than it has been in the past, both personally and professionally. Hip-hop culture, especially, had a big impact on Barton’s outlook on what he needs to do.
“If you gotta get ahead, you may not have all the opportunities in front of you to be able to do that. But the only way that you’re gonna do it, is by making them,” said Barton.
Right now, he’s trying to do a lot of work to push Radio Western forward to serve the students and the people that are just like him, who come in off of the street, to try to see them succeed or get as much out of it as he did.
“For me, Radio Western is who I am. What I’ve done here, it’s made me who I am today. And being here on Saturday nights probably kept me out of a lot of trouble,” said Barton.
Barton’s favourite part about working at the station is seeing himself in those that come through the doors of Radio Western. He loves inspiring young people to go outside of their comfort zone, and to take on something they thought maybe they couldn’t do or would never have the opportunity to do so. That, for Barton, is more important than anything else.
In under 5 months, he came up with a new management team, which tremendously changed the whole dynamic of the station. A new board of directors was also established, and the station has earned a lot of support from their initiatives, more than they ever had before.
“Just being able to walk in here and see somebody smile, it’s a big difference from where we were two years ago,” said Barton.
Barton also makes a lot of extra income outside of the station as a DJ. He has made a record with Thesis Sahib which was released in France, called CLOR, which sold out. He likes doing that but finds that the things he wants to do personally in life keep getting pushed behind because of greater responsibility.
His goal right now is to give himself enough freedom to do what he loves—making music—and still earn a living wage.