It’s no secret that I’m a bit enamored with high school radio. I’ve visited a handful of school district-owned stations (although only one was focused solely on student content) and feel like high school stations provide a tremendous opportunity for young people to experience the power of radio.
Although it seems that high school radio stations are few and far between, I was encouraged to find numerous high schools, school districts, and parent-teacher organizations amid the recent LPFM applicants. And, just in the past few weeks, I’ve seen several press accounts about high school radio, making me feel like it’s still a vital piece of the media landscape.
WEPS 88.9 FM in Elgin, Illinois has been in existence since 1950, but for the last 8 years it has had little student participation and has been airing mostly syndicated content from Wisconsin Public Radio. Change is in the air, however, as WEPS has begun the process of broadcasting content from students at its home high school (Gifford Street Alternative High School), as well as from the other 5 schools in its district. Each school is creating its own radio club and will produce an hour of content each week, with Wisconsin Public Radio programming rounding out the schedule. At an open house on November 12, alumni toured the revamped studios, shared memories and learned about plans for student-produced programs in English and Spanish.
In Washington, KMIH FM at Mercer Island High School is a student-run high radio station that plans to amp up its live sports broadcasts this year. In addition to doing live remote broadcasts from all girls and boys basketball games (home and away), KMIH just added home football and girls soccer games. Beyond sports, the station airs a top 40 music format, with programs hosted and produced by students in the school’s radio class.
Another recent article profiles KVMN 89.9 FM. Reportedly one of only two student-run high school radio stations in Arkansas, it was first licensed in 1980 with the call letters KZIG. Around 85 Cave City High School radio students in 9th through 12th grade run KVMN, “short for ‘Caveman,’ which is the school’s mascot.”
Students at El Camino Fundamental High School’s radio station KYDS 91.5 FM in Sacramento, California are currently in the midst of an on-air marathon in order to raise needed funds for the high school radio station. At this weekend’s event, around 20 students will camp out at the studio and “Each will take two-hour DJ shifts to play music and auction off merchandise to benefit the radio program.”
Streetsboro High School’s radio station is also in need of funds, as it hopes to make needed upgrades to student station WSTB 88.9 FM. Around since the 1970s, the Ohio station’s colorful history (including its years as an all-metal station) is nicely chronicled on its website.
And, finally, plans are in the works for an online radio station at Presidio High School in Texas.