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Here’s how community radio can do youth radio right.

Many community radio station are interested in youth-oriented radio. It is regarded as a means of engagement and keeping stations interesting to young people. However, youth radio is challenging to execute.

With school starting in many areas soon, it is sure the youth radio conversation is starting again. Profiled at NFCB’s 2017 Community Media Conference, these youth radio examples are some of the nation’s best.

WGDR: Indie Kingdom
Indie Kingdom is one of the most recognized youth radio programs in America. This project creates written curriculums that meet appropriate state learning standards and offers uniform assessment tools, as well as supports schools in developing in-school infrastructure to complement student activities at the station.

The expansion of WGDR’s youth programming was formed in direct response to the rise of Community Based Learning (CBL) and Project Based Learning (PBL) in listening area schools. Many schools in Vermont and nationwide are aiming to foster a learning environment of authenticity, adult world connections, applied learning and active exploration. With the power of story and the tools of broadcast journalism, Indie Kingdom aims to become an integral part of this learning environment through collaboration in area schools.

In addition, Indie Kingdom provides training and equipment for use by student interviewers, producers, technicians and broadcasters. It also offers oversight by WGDR/WGDH and Goddard College staff, to ensure broadcast-quality products and effective learning, by students and the institutional partners.

KDNK: Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program
AZYEP provides radio opportunities to all students on a donation basis. During the past 17 years, AZYEP has worked with over 3,000 students. With community radio station KDNK, the program broadcast six hours of live radio each week, working with 30 students age 8 to 18 each month. The program also features bilingual programming.

Here is one student’s testimonial:

KVNF: Pass the Mic
Pass the Mic is a youth storytelling and news corps program developed by KVNF in partnership with The North Fork Heart & Soul Project. Over the course of two years, 14 young reporters were assigned to a “beat” reporting on a North Fork industry. Youth participants learned the skills of how to produce interviews and stories in a multi-media context, and were supported in presenting their final projects to the valley.

Five industries or “fields” were identified as economic drivers in the region: Energy, Agriculture, Arts and Entertainment, Health and Wellness, Recreation and Tourism
KVNF worked with local schools and organizations in recruiting applicants for the program. The application process required area youth to write an essay describing a local industry they familiar with and why they felt the North Fork Valley was unique.

Here are some of those efforts:

KVNF’s program director, Ali Lightfoot collaborated with local videographers and producers from Delta County Film Collective and Hutman Media to create audio and video reports. The reports were aired on KVNF and a documentary film was created to tell the stories of the youth involved, and what they experienced through the process.

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