Technology education teacher Scott Reece said he had the idea to start a radio station last year, after going to a Christmas light show with his children where visitors could tune into a radio station to see the lights change in time to music.
“I got to thinking, ‘Well, I wonder if we could do that at school for announcements.’ So I went and talked to Dr. Zinkil and she was fine with that, so we ordered the part,” Reece said.
Teasley Middle School Principal Dr. Susan Zinkil said she loves having the Raider Radio as a way to communicate with parents and the community.
“Sometimes, despite sending emails, text messages or letters, we still miss important news,” Zinkil said. “We love the radio idea as parents can tune in while they are waiting in the car line or dropping their students off. We have more than 100 parents come through in the morning and afternoon so it gives us another effective way to not only share important news, but also highlight our students and their accomplishments.”
All of the station’s content, which is available by tuning to 107.7 FM in the school’s parking lot, is original and produced by students and staff. News and event announcements, as well as entertainment content, all comes from the school.
“We’ve taken the talent shows that we’ve filmed in the last three years and pulled the audio from those so we have Teasley students singing songs that they recorded in talent shows, and then (we record announcements for) events, things that are happening,” Reece said.
Reece said he taught math for 17 years before taking over Teasley’s technology class, and said that he loves teaching students about technology and getting the opportunity to run the radio station.
Zinkil said that Reece does a great job with the technology program, and incorporates important objectives in his lessons.
“Mr. Reece is committed to implementing instructional programs that are new and innovative ways to get our students excited about learning. He has turned around our daily news program, which highlights school activities, important school news and focuses on important information students need to know,” Zinkil said. “He ties it into our School Improvement Plan which is a huge plus. He has this same approach with our radio. He gets the kids excited about the radio and its possibilities and then ties it in to critical objectives we need to meet.”
The station is updated once or twice a week, Reece said, to include up-to-date information about what’s going on at Teasley.
Anna Ulm, a 12-year-old student in Reece’s seventh-grade technology class, called Inventions and Innovations, said she recorded an announcement about EXP, the school’s afternoon tutoring program, which plays on the station.
Ulm started working with Reece on the radio station after being involved with the school’s morning news videos.
“When I was in this class, he asked if I wanted to be on the news and I said yes,” Ulm said. “I was on the news and it was really fun so I’ve done it a couple of times. And that went on to the radio.”
Ulm, who is also on the student council and works as a peer helper, said her favorite thing she’s done for the radio is “The Preposition Jungle,” a song she learned in elementary school, which helps remind people of what prepositions are for.
Elizabeth Ericson, another student in Reece’s technology class and a band member, said her favorite part about being on the radio is the knowledge that people can listen to her and hear about the school.
The school’s band and chorus are recording their performances to add to the Teasley content library for the radio station to play, Reece said.
Reece and his students use a free audio-editing program called Audacity to create the programs each week, which play in a loop for parents and students to listen to on campus.
“They know how to use the program,” Reece said.
Reece set up a recording booth in a closet in his classroom, complete with a laptop, professional microphone and speakers. He said the closet has great acoustics and makes for good sound when they record their segments.
“They just come in, and we give them a script, and they stand here and record,” Reece said. “Then what we end up doing is piecing it together… We get about 20 to 30 minutes of play time, and then we loop it.”
Zinkil said when Reece brought the idea to start a radio station, she knew he would be able to get it started.
“There was never a doubt about Mr. Reece and the students’ ability to get the radio up and running,” Zinkil said. “It is such an exciting program and the students were immediately on board and put forth a lot of effort in making sure that we were able to get it operating this year.”
Not only are students learning about the radio industry, they also get to learn about local business and how advertisement works. Reece said that in return for a mention on the school radio program, some of the school’s partners in education donate supplies to the radio.
“Sticker House donated (a radio sign) in return for a mention on the radio,” Reece said.