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Tough Times for High School Radio: WHSS to Sign Off

WHSS DJ (Photo courtesy WHSS website)

As a radio geek, I’ve always been jealous of the kids who have had the opportunity to do radio beginning in high school.

Last fall when I visited WGBK at Glenbrook South High School near Chicago I was impressed by the opportunities that teenagers had to run a real radio station and was optimistic that they were in it for the long haul.

Unfortunately I heard some news today about plans for Hamilton High School station WHSS-FM to go off the air at the end of the month, 35 years after the station was founded in Hamilton, Ohio in May, 1975.

According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Says station manager Dave Spurrier, who will retire after teaching 31 years at Hamilton HS: ‘It’s with sadness that I inform you due to budgetary concerns a decision has been officially made to not only close the Broadcasting Arts career-technical education program at Hamilton High School, but also to permanently shut down the radio station. Our last day on the air will be Friday, May 28, 2010.’

The school board ‘is in the process of deciding whether it’s going to strike a deal with groups or individuals who wish to take over the license, or to simply to return it to the FCC,’  he says.”

It’s sad to see another school turning its back on radio. As many high school and college radio vets have pointed out, the experience of working at a station and being on the air has so many benefits to students beyond the assumed pathway to careers in radio. Most students participate in educational radio stations out of a love for music and the art of doing radio and don’t necessarily aspire to be commercial radio DJs. And once that license is sold off or turned back to the FCC there’s little chance in getting it back.

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2 Responses to Tough Times for High School Radio: WHSS to Sign Off

  1. Radar May 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    Well there aren’t very many great careers in Radio anymore unless you are a greedy CEO that fires all the employees to kiss the stocks holders a**es.
    So it’s really a blessing in disguise for these kids. Yes it’s sad, but yes it’s true.

  2. danxpn May 18, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    As an alumni of WHSS, I’m doubly dissappointed about this. HSS was a tremendous training ground for me, and i seriously doubt that I’d still be in the business without the training I recieved there. That being said, i certainly do understand that there just aren’t that many good jobs in radio anymore, and that – like it or not – the business as a whole is not in great shape.

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