Saturday, May 18, 2024

Calling all paranormals

Four of the members of Transistor Media in their control room (left to right): François Larivière, Julien Morissette, Alexis Elina and Amélie Rondeau.

Glen Hartle
Pontiac March 8, 2023
Julien Morissette knows a thing or two about the merit of sound.
As a young man of 19, he toured Canada as a musician in a band, his upright bass safely stowed with the other instruments on board. With his father’s blessing, himself a doctor as was his father before him, Morissette chased his dreams of performing on stage with audiences and with sound as his calling card.
While on the road, he took his turn at the wheel, as did they all, and often found himself on the nightshift listening to the radio to keep himself alert and entertained. CBC radio offered Stuart McLean & Jonathan Goldstein and he fell in love. He fell in love with voices over air.
McLean’s Vinyl Cafe brought essays, short stories and music while Goldstein featured storytelling. Both captivated the young Morissette’s imagination and thus began the path upon which we find him today.
Morissette first studied at the Cégep de l’Outaouais and followed this up with a bachelor degree from the University of Montreal and a Master of Communication from the University of Ottawa. All the while, he was working with Radio-Canada as both a producer and an on-air personality.
While studying, he became fascinated with an investigative journalism podcast coming out of Chicago called “Serial”. While podcasts weren’t new in 2014, the narrative & dramatic format over radio did not yet have a foothold in Québec where airwaves were mostly made up of talk shows and interviews. Morissette envisioned a void and set about to fix that.
He left Radio-Canada in 2016 and started Transistor Media whose mandate set out “to create, produce and distribute digital audio works, with a focus on sound creation, radio art and podcasting as means of expression in order to promote this discipline and contribute to public appreciation of the arts.” Or in other words, fill the void.
In the ensuing years, he has established Transistor as a powerhouse in the realm of French language podcasts, even winning an international award in Paris last year for the third season of their very popular Synthèsis series – a pseudo-journalistic reconstruction of real-life crimes, very much in the format of the Serial podcasts which so inspired Morissette years earlier.
This blurring of the lines between fiction and reality characterizes most of Transistor’s work and it has proven successful. Morissette beams while sharing that he is often asked about the veracity of various elements of his productions, and this he considers a sign of success. He and his team are happy to clarify these terms in person while letting the podcasts remain delightfully nuanced.
Morissette’s love of and for the Pontiac has always been there. One of his first creative efforts at the helm of Transistor delivered “Direct From”, a series of 9 podcasts for Radio-Canada and the very first stop was at L’Isle-aux-Allumettes. Emboldened by the success, Morissette worked on a new version of a work penned by no less than the celebrated Gabriel García Márquez, changing the script from Colombia to the Pontiac.
More recently, Transistor has received a grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) to extend their latest podcast success – Hantées (Haunted) – into the Pontiac. And with that, Morissette is sounding notice that he is on the hunt for stories of ghosts and spirits and the paranormal from anywhere in the Pontiac. Were you rescued on Ghost Hill? Did you hear whispers in an empty Coronation Hall? Perhaps there were unexplained footsteps at the old grist mill?
Gather your stories and contact Transistor. They’d love to hear more and you never know, your story may feature prominently in season two of Hantées, premiering appropriately on All Hallows’ Eve.
All podcasts and contact information are available on their website at

Morissette’s father encouraged him to follow his own dreams and he keeps the upright bass he played nearby to keep things real.


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