Students Speak Radio

By Taylor White, Class of 2015 – West

Taylor White

Taylor White

Ever wanted to hear your voice on the radio, or even dream of having your own radio talk show? Well, imagine eight high school students working to pursue their dreams as radio broadcasters during this past February vacation. I was one of these students who decided to focus on exploring my passion for communications. My interest in broadcasting was sparked when I heard of this opportunity through Sturgis school announcements and in the local paper.

Radio 1

Students work productively on creating vox pops and promos

Writing has always been my greatest pastime, but broadcasting was a whole other adventure that I wanted to discover. I, and other students from the Cape, were part of a five-day student radio broadcast workshop through a program called Transom in Woods Hole, Mass. The other students were from the schools of Sturgis, Mashpee, Dartmouth and Falmouth. The director of the workshop Rob Rosenthal, a freelance podcaster and broadcast radio teacher. It was a great experience because broadcasting was a category of journalism I had not explored.

We were given recording gear for the week and learned about the types of settings needed for audio, whether it was vocal or ambient sound. The two assignments of the week were to create a vox pop and promo. For those who are not familiar with what a vox pop is, it means the “voice of the people” and consists of the opinions of people from within the community based on a certain topic they are asked about by a reporter.  So, walking up to strangers in public was our mission one frigid and snowy day. Our task was to ask for a person’s opinion on a topic that was relevant to a recent report in the news, about the weather, or a holiday.

Radio Workshop 048 I learned a lot during my time of interviewing people, and so did the others students in  the workshop. Hadley Weeks, a junior at Sturgis West who attended the workshop, stated that the program “put us in situations that we had to get out of our comfort zone” in order to obtain our story. Hadley is right, it was difficult to approach people with a question such as, “What are your thoughts about online-dating?”, which was my topic, or just simply a question asking how people feel about the many snowstorms, so-called “snow apocalypse.”

Radio Workshop 049All of the students, including myself, acquired an abundance of knowledge on how to approach people, what to sometimes expect, and how to carry ourselves in a professional manner. I obtained a level of confidence through interviewing strangers and would do it again in a heartbeat. The vox pop was a genuine lesson on how it feels to be a reporter, and I savor this experience.

Every morning Mr. Rosenthal would play a podcast for us to listen to and think about. These podcasts gave us ideas of how radio has effects on people. For instance, I remember listening to a story about a young boy killing rabbits to provide food for his family. Just by the sound effects and emotion of the boy’s voice, it felt like you were watching a movie. I could almost vividly see what was happening through radio! That’s when I realized how powerful radio broadcasts can be and how these certain details can impact your mind in an enlightening way.

photo credit: my mom (Mattie White) photo cutline: Students are finished with the workshop and taking a final picture to record our memories of working with Transom

After completing the workshop, students gather for a group photo to record our memories of working with Transom

The best part for everyone was recording voice-overs at the WCAI radio studio in Woods Hole, Mass. Pat Thut, a senior at Sturgis West said, when asked about what he most enjoyed, “Going into the WCAI studio was the best part.” At the studio, a voice coach named Vicki helped students to enunciate and emphasize certain words while recording our vox pop intro and promo. I appreciated the constructive feedback I was given; it was rewarding.

After editing all pieces of sound on Hindenburg software for my vox pop and promo, I heard how polished I sounded and thought, “Wow, I sound like a professional!” In the end, our radio productions were played for family, friends, a teacher (Ms. Singer), and members of the Woods Hole Library.

Altogether, the most valuable part of the workshop for me was learning about the technology of radio and editing all of the components to generate a masterpiece. For others, it  was the new friendships that were created and our mentors encouraging us about our potential in radio broadcasting. I hope other Sturgis students have the chance to experience this opportunity next year.



























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