Rockin’ Out on the Radio

By Vera Fisk- 10th Grade, Pittsburgh Obama Academy

As I walked in on the last day of the WYEP Rock Radio Camp,  I was amazed at what I saw.  A group of students were playing instruments together, filling the room with the sounds of an electric guitar, while others were on laptops editing music and audio. The most impressive thing was that all of these students were ages 11 to 15.

WYEP holds the Rock Radio Camp for one week every summer for middle school students. By immersing the students in radio production, they learn about all sides of production, such as music, technology, and advertising.

During the camp, guest teachers taught the students about different aspects of the radio. This summer, DJ Underdog taught how to spin turntables, Diego Burns played songs and had the students sing the chorus, and Sunburst School of Music held a drum lesson. DJ Underdog is a well-known DJ in the Pittsburgh area and has been producing music for 8 years.  Sunburst School of Music holds private and group lessons as well as summer camps. While these visitors didnt all have direct experience with radio, they taught skills that are needed to have a career in radio.

I talked to two sisters (Sydney, 11 and Chelsea, 13) about their first time attending the Rock Radio Camp.  Over the week, Sydney and Chelsea learned how to edit audio, write shows, and create promos. Neither of the sisters had any prior experience with radio, but by the end of the camp, they both wanted to pursue a career in radio production. When I asked what part of the process she liked most, Chelsea answered, “Editing music and audio. The production side of the radio.”  Both sisters plan to return next summer.

I also spoke with Michael, 13, who, unlike many of the other students, has an extensive amount of experience with radio. He started listening to records when he was 3 and collecting them when he was 9 or 10. Since then, he has started his own radio station and collected thousands of records.

At Rock Radio Camp, Michael learned more about music and the production of concerts. He wants to have a career in radio, even though in some ways he already does. Similarly to Sydney and Chelsea, Michael plans to return to the camp next summer.

The staff member I talked to, Thria, is an intern at WYEP. She has worked on the radio, written and edited scripts, and hosted her own 10-minute radio segment. She really enjoyed teaching the students new things about the radio and watching them improve their skills.  She explained, “Music really helps these kids to open up and talk so much more.”

Although radio is often perceived as an old or boring medium, this camp helped me see that youth are still interested in the radio and that there is a lot more to the radio than many people think.

Vera Fisk 1Vera Fisk is in 10th grade at Pittsburgh Obama Academy. She resides in Point Breeze and has taken a journalism class in school. She loves meeting new people and writing.


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