Spring Radio Abounds...

Hey all,

We have a great new group at Road Kill Radio and I can already tell that they’re just bursting with ideas and innovations to bring to the table. We already have an interview with Diane Orson, mother of one of our students and reporter for NPR, scheduled as well as plans to do some street interviews and record a creative writing piece by Story Ponvert, a student in the class. More on these exciting developments later as they unfold!


An amazing experience...

On December 1, the entire student body of ECA attended an assembly in the Arts Hall to review a great recruitment video produced by Erika Van Natta and to hear two segments from the latest edition of Road Kill Radio (#25).

The packed hall watched attentively as the short video displayed the voices and images of ECA students speaking with passion and clarity about the Arts learning experience.

The students then turned their undivided attention to the Radio Show segments -- a report on the perils and pitfalls of social networking; and a discussion of anti-gay bullying and homophobia.

At the conclusion of the audio segments, Louise Ross (Dean of Students) opened the microphone to student reactions. Amazingly, to cheers and applause, over twenty-five students rose to express their thoughts and feelings about cyber-bullying and homophobic behavior by their peers. The discussion revealed a deep vein of compassion and solidarity among ECA students for their colleagues -- gay or straight -- and a sense that young people as well as adults need to practice open-hearted tolerance in all matters.

A truly remarkable occasion...

One final note:
When Radio Class met later that same day, students expressed awe that the work they had done in "the bubble" of radio class had such a profound effect on the entire school.
No doubt: your voices can be powerful and need to be heard.

Talk to you later,
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Fall's First Road Kill!

Hey all,

Fall, 2010's first edition of Road Kill Radio is posted on line and scheduled to be aired on WPKN (89.5 FM -- www.wpkn.org)on Saturday, November 27, at 6 PM.

As usual, it was a mad sprint to get all the production pieces in the can and ready for the editing session. But I'm hear to tell you that the results are worth a listen.

The sixteen ECA Radio Class students who produced this show are a diverse group representing the Dance, Theater, Music and Visual Art Departments. Ten of the sixteen are freshmen -- which is amazing when you hear the quality of work they produced.

In fact, our Dean of Students, Louise Ross, and Principal Alice Schilling were so impressed with the show that they want the whole student body to hear it at a school assembly on December 1.

In addition to High School Confidential, Street interviews and Creative writing segments, the show tackles some challenging issues: the rapidly mushrooming social networking scene; and homophobia and anti-gay bullying in our schools and society-at-large.

Last week in class, while assessing the finished show, students considered the question: how can this and future shows have a real impact on youth and adults?
There was general agreement that, on a whole range of issues, the youth perspective is indispensible. As Music Major Christine put it: "We are the first generaltion to experience internet bullying and gay teenagers thinking about 'coming out'. A couple of decades ago, even adults weren't ready to talk about being gay."

No doubt: We need to hear these youth perspectives -- which is precisely why we're going to keep on amplifying their voices!

Talk to you later,
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As promised, our first student blogger -- Nataliya Kostenko!

Hi all! Nataliya here with exciting updates from ECA’s Road Kill Radio studio! In the past few weeks, we’ve been getting in the swing of things with some initial recordings of “High school Confidentials” and practice interviews, but this week and last we really got things underway with the production of our show. We discussed important issues and topics related to current events that we’d like to address in our show and came up with questions to ask your everyday passerby on the street; we also recorded a lot of the group’s opinions on technology and social networking and the major roles they play in every teen’s life. Then on Monday we went out into the streets and interviewed said passersby to get their take on controversial issues, politics and some more lighthearted stuff as well. Upcoming things and ideas we had for segments: - Readings of creative writing from one of ECA’s Writing majors - A guest speaker talking about his views of radio as an art form - The incorporation of more comedy/satire in our work That’s all for now! --Nataliya
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Fall's first blog...

Hey all and sundry --

Good to be back at that hot bed of creativiy, ECA, with a whole new roster of youth radio producers. We begin Year #6 of Radio Class with 16 students from the Music, Theater, Dance and Visual Arts Departments -- the largest group so far. I predict these guys are going to produce some exciting and edgy radio.

Bulletin: This year ECA is experimenting with a new Teaching Assistant program and the Radio Class has been assigned Natalya Kostenko, a second-year Visual Arts major and alumnus of Radio Class (spring, 2010). I am delighted to say that Natalya will be taking over Blogging duties for the next couple of months -- so look for her first blog coming up in the next week.

Talk to you soon,

Spring radio seeds are sprouting...

Hey all,

No doubt it's about time for a late winter blog...

At ECA we have been working on a couple of interesting things.

First: The Family Snap Shot Project.

Each student is bringing in a dusty musty photo of a family member from some long-buried album. We all take a look at the photo and then the student improvises on it using the following lead: "When I look at this photo, I see...". The goal is to produce aural "photos" of a different time and place related to each student's life.

We launched the project in class today with Stephon stepping bravely to the plate.
He shared a faded photo of his dad from high school. Everyone agreed he could have been Stephon's twin. It was really cool to view this blast from the past and then have Stephon riff on it.

Emma and Troya are on deck for Wednesday...

Look for these aural snap shots in our April radio show.

Also: We are attempting to produce a micro-story using the Tag Team story telling (oral) and Exquisite Corpse (written) techniques. Today in class, student jotted down sentence #5 in what will be a 6-sentence long finished story.

If we like the results of this daring experiment, you'll be the first to hear about it!

Alright, I'll sign off with my usual invitation to you to comment below (use 'anonymous' sign-in for best results).

Talk to you soon,

Lincoln Middle School Broadcast Radio Project

As promised, here is an update on the Middle School Radio Road Show currently in residence at Lincoln MS in Meriden, CT.

I began working with a group of twelve 6th, 7th and 8th graders last November and quickly made a startling discovery: these kids not only have something to say but also the energy and courage to say it! Four successive waves of students have been brainstorming and contributing to radio segments on a range of topics from video game culture to school food, bullying and school re-cycling.

They have recorded their rock songs, raps, scary stories, jokes and even a role-playing dialogue on the idea of using peer mediation to settle student disputes.

The project will conclude in early April with a total of 40 students having cycled through the program. Geno Heiter and I will then proceed to edit the data and post a finished 30-minute radio show for broadcast on WPKN and posting on our web site.

Special thanks to LMS principal Leo Lavallee, to the REACH Afterschool Program administrators and, of course, to Jim Seldner, the Lincoln MS program coordinator, whose generous help has been indispensible in making the Broadcast Radio project a reality at LMS.
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Spring semester -- winter weather...

Hey all,
Been a while and I defintely owe you one. So here goes:

First off, we have a brand new roster of Road Kill Radio producers signed up for the spring semester at ECA -- including no less than seven visual arts majors, three dancers, three musicians, and one writer. Trust me: you all gonna be writin' before we get too far into the semester. Scripts, stories, radio plays, satires -- these are all on the agenda for the two 30-minute radio shows that this group will produce. Gonna be a gas, no doubt!

Meanwhile, I thought you might like to see some of the comments from fall semester's Radio Class students about their impressions of the course:

We explore ideas, speak our minds and strive for authenticity.

In this class, we are not studying a specific art form. We are bringing our individual skills and approaches so we're all on the same level. It's like a switchboard for all the art forms.

The experience is: spontaneous creativity.

The class is dope! It's about group sharing and building something that we can share with our friends and families.

We develop a sense of group dynamics and cooperation.

I have become way more tolerant of other points of view and opinions.

This is a place where you can be yourself.

This is a chance to be open, to listen, to take in...There is an atmosphere of free-espression and acceptance of ideas.

And stay tuned for an update on the Lincoln Middle School Radio Project (Meriden, CT) coming next week.

Be sure to post your comments below -- for best results post as anonymous.

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A long Winter's blog...

This blogging beat is not for the faint of heart -- take your eye off the ball for a minute and six weeks goes by! I guess I owe you one...

We have endured -- and apparently survived -- our first Winter storm. And more importantly, after tomorrow, the days start getting longer again. Now that's something to celebrate!

Over at ECA we're working hard on our next edition of Road Kill Radio (to be aired on Jan. 22 on WPKN -- 89.5 FM). http://www.wpkn.org/

The show will include a lot of goodies, such as street interviews, an interview with Diamondayze (a student band), a report on The Forum (a New Haven-based youth group), poetry from the ECA writers and a report on a new oral journaling project being undertaken by the Radio Class in collaboration with the Creative Writing Department.

This year we received an ACES Foundation grant to purchase six digital voice recorders to be loaned to students for the purpose of keeping oral journals. This past month, Radio Class students began taking the recorders home and thus the project was launched. Here are some preliminary reports from four Radio Class participants.

When I started, I thought to myself, "How am I supposed to do this?" I have never actually sat there and talked to myself. I mostly express myself with art and stuff -- like drawing. I never write down things - like a journal. So I just decided to go like a diary and go very deep into it. Some things that people don't know about me, I actually said in it...Like things I don't share in everyday life...I took it as more of a very deep project, rather than like, you know, "I'm just going to play around with this cool tape recorder."

I ended up taking my recorder a lot of places. I took it to school, to the ECA bathroom where I was playing my flute, and I spent a lot of time recording at night.. I really enjoyed this experience because I got to say a lot of stuff that doesn't come up in conversation much but really bothers me or really interests me... I felt like I really opened up and it was a lot of fun.

I ended up doing most of my recording at 2 or 3 in the morning. It was actually really interesting. I ended up saying a lot -- it was fun.While doing it I found that a lot of the stuff that I ended up saying is stuff that I had wanted to say for a while but it's not the sort of thing that you can say in every day conversation or gets brought up every day -- so that was really cool...

When I did it, I actually found myself not knowing what to say -- should I be casual or more deep, but overall it was fun, a new experience.If I had to do it again, I'd probably go deeper, hearing other people and what they did sharing their personal experiences.

Meanwhile, in class... we have been discussing what to do with the oral journals -- e.g. whether to post the audio or transcripts on this website; or broadcast edited versions on Road Kill Radio. Any thoughts?

And coming soon: a report on the Lincoln Middle School broadcast radio project which has been up and running for five weeks.

Have a peaceful holiday -- talk to you later.
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Road Kill Radio #21 will air Nov. 27!

Sooooo.... where were we?
It's a date: the new edition of Road Kill Radio (produced by students in the radio class at ECA) will air November 27 at 6 PM on WPKN (www.wpkn.org) and will soon be posted on this site.

But what I really wanted to talk about this week is this question: To Censor or Not To Censor youth voices? When do words and ideas push the envelope (which is cool) and when do they cross the line (which is not -- as in gratuitous profanity, hate speech, etc.)? The current roster of Radio Elective students at ECA have talked a lot about this issue of late. It comes up frequently when we consider how to present edgy ideas, radio plays, music, creative writing or opinions -- the nuts and bolts of youth culture.

If students are staying within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decency guidelines and observing their community standards for speech and self-expression, should there be any topics or language which are out of bounds?

FYI: The FCC (http://www.fcc.gov/) disallows the use of the "seven deadly words" -- long live George Carlin! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_dirty_words) -- on the air waves during the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM. So we "edit" them out of Road Kill Radio productions.

Who should decide the limits to creative expression and free speech? One of the missions of Youth Radio CT (and the shows hosted here) is to present students with the opportunity to decide this question for themseves.

So what is youth culture, anyway, and how can young people create and explore their world if they are always looking over their shoulders for Big Brother? I'm just sayin'...

And I'm also just askin' -- so I hope this kicks off a discussion of this question on this site (comments link below) and elsewhere.

Talk to you later,
PS -- For best results post comments as anonymous.
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