GCHS launches 24/7 student radio station
By RACHAEL GRAY
Jeffry Clayton is a radio veteran.
It's the Garden City High School senior's third year taking radio broadcasting classes, and now he's getting his first experience helping run a 24/7 streaming radio station.
KBBS Radio, the GCHS station, launched Thursday. It can be accessed at www.gckschools.com/radio.
The station features student-produced news, sports and entertainment, as well as music.
Jesse Bernal, broadcasting instructor, said the station is going to give the radio students more experience and exposure.
The radio broadcasting area in the Arts and Communications academy of the new high school houses two studios and an editing lab.
"These new studios, I kind of like. We used to have one large one, and one small, smelly one," Clayton said, referring to the broadcasting area in the former high school.
"It's really cool compared to what we used to have," he said.
Clayton said having the studios right next to the editing lab makes it easier to work on projects. For him, that includes editing, creating podcasts, radio shows and liners, or station IDs.
His experience doing radio broadcasting at GCHS is preparing him for the future. He hopes to follow in Bernal's footsteps and study journalism and broadcasting at Washburn University next fall.
Bernal said the station is streaming, and includes about a 4-hour loop for programming. The station plays popular music, but isn't limited to just Top 40 songs, he said. The station features music as well as student produced news, sports and entertainment.
"We have no obligation to build a listenership and make money. So, we can be more experimental with our selection of music," Bernal said.
Bernal said the students will practice "narrowcasting," which is a new trend in broadcasting. He said narrowcasting enables students to cover what the GCHS audience wants to hear, instead of appealing to a larger audience. Bernal said that will improve coverage of lesser recognized sports like tennis, golf, volleyball and cross country. The students also work on news and news features. They recently completed a news piece about school lunches.
Senior Johna McClelland is in her second year in radio broadcasting. This year, she's doing a podcast called "Meet the Buffs," where she will interview senior athletes.
McClelland said she likes the layout of the new studio area.
"It's a lot different than last year. It's more put together, and you can come straight out of the area and do editing," she said.
Senior Edgar Montoya is in his second year with the radio station.
"I think it's better. It's a better setup. It's more involved. Last year, the labs were more separated," he said.
Montoya creates a podcast about movie news that includes reviews.
So far, Bernal said, the station has had a good number of listeners.
He said the station had 230 listeners on Thursday and 470 listeners on Friday.
"And we haven't promoted it that much. We'll be able to promote it more now as listenership continues to grow," he said.
The school-issued iPads can access the stream so students can listen, Bernal said.
Bernal said that through the new streaming station, students can get hands-on, practical experience.
The class also helps students with life skills, he said.
"It addresses a wide variety of skills, including problem-solving, speaking, writing and technical skills. Those can transfer into any career," Bernal said.
The station runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.¬ During the school day, the station features Top 40 music.¬ After the school day, the music programming will feature an eclectic mix of music from the 1960s to today.¬ Sports and other events that are not typically covered on other traditional media will now be featured on the Internet stream.
KBBS radio is funded entirely by ads and donations, with no additional expense to USD 457 patrons, according to a release from USD 457.