Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Create a School Radio Station

A few years ago I created a descriptive writing unit using old time radio plays. They're great because events and actions have to be specifically explained for the listener to visualize what is happening. The only problem is that resources are difficult to come by – the heyday of radio is about 60 years past.

One evening while hunting for 40s-era broadcasting information, I stumbled on a hobby website that sold recreational short-range broadcasting units. The description said they were ideal for drive-in movie theaters, college campuses, and small communities. They were interesting, but irrelevant to what I was looking for, so I moved on.

I happened to run into my principal in the hall later that week and mentioned the transmitter to her. She emailed me a few hours later with instructions to order the equipment – I was now the advisor for the new school radio station.

The radio station is really nothing more than a glorified podcasting club. Everything is pre-recorded using a basic microphone/mixer setup and Audacity. The daily schedule is programmed into Zara Radio (a free auto-scheduling program) and then plays throughout the day. Students seem to enjoy it in the mornings during homeroom, and during free periods such as study hall. Teachers like it because they know it is safe in terms of content and language – something not guaranteed on regular top 40 radio.

The only difference between our radio station and your podcast is a $270 transmitter. A captive audience, student accountability, peer engagement – well worth the money if you ask me.


Of course, there's more to our radio than what I wrote about here. This post is more of a taste for those eager to look into the idea for themselves. The topic will likely come up in future posts, but for those wanting more info now, feel free to say so in the comments. I'd be happy to help out.
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2 Responses:

chunks said...

Really interested in how you set this up. I am thinking of doing the same thing for students this coming academic year. If you have any tips, I would be really grateful. :)

Nick

Anonymous said...

Hi !
I would like to create a radio in my school so I have started to look for informations on the web and the first thing I have noticed is the price !!!
At least 6000 pounds ...
Must it be so expensive ???
I have seen package with all the equipement but of course they don t really say what is inside so you can t check the price somrwhere else and try to buy it cheaper !
another question as well :
for the software you have chosen ENCO or Myriad ?
how can I know what is really necessary ans how much it costs ?
thanks for your answer !
barthelemy.augustin @ hotmail.fr