JHS Partners with WRFA to Produce Youth Hispanic Radio
Jamestown High School senior John Rosario and junior Gabriella Rosario recently worked on editing their questions for their interview with Solimar Vazquez, from The Chautauqua Center, for their radio show, Hispanic Youth Radio, in the WRFA-LP 107.9FM studios. The student-run radio show is a collaboration between WRFA, Jamestown Public Schools, Chautauqua Striders, Chautauqua Works and The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. Hispanic Youth Radio originally ran from 2005 to 2014 but ended due to funding. Thanks to a new grant, through JPS Community Schools Foundation Aid, the program was able to start up again this past February.
“WRFA is a public service and we are the only locally-owned media in the region,” said WRFA General Manager Dennis Drew. “The Hispanic population is an underserved section of the community. WRFA is proud to present the only locally generated Spanish-language media in the Jamestown region. We believe this serves the greater good and enriches the entire community. All of the Hispanic Youth Radio partners are committed to the ideals of localism, diversity and community. Our goal is to reach out to every member of our community.”
John and Gabriella conduct interviews with local Hispanic leaders but also play music and include community announcements. The hour-long program airs on Saturdays from 8 to 9 p.m. with archives of past shows posted on WRFALP.com. The student’s goal is to showcase Hispanic leaders in the community to inspire fellow community members towards success.
The students participated in hands-on training of how to use the radio programming equipment and develop as radio personalities with Mr. Drew. They also work at WRFA with Chautauqua Striders Mentoring Advisor, Yanira Castellano and Bilingual Life Skills Educator Elizabeth Torres every Tuesday and Thursday creating the taped show.
“We believe in learning by doing,” said Mr. Drew “The kids are really smart. The technical aspect came pretty naturally to them. Experience will teach them the journalism and speaking skills they may not have had before. They are definitely English as New Language students but they understand English very well. They are providing a very important service for their constituents. They are curious and seem to love learning about all the different services and events available in the community. We are here, along with Ms. Castellano, to answer questions and guide them towards improvement each week.”
The students are enjoying their new experience running a radio program.
“I love doing this radio show because it helps the Hispanic community come together by giving them a taste of their culture and Mr. Drew is such a nice man who has really helped us learn about radio programming,” said Gabriella, who plans to go into business or education when she graduates. “I hope someone listens to the interviews and decides to do something special with his or her life.”
The radio internship has even sparked interest in future careers. Students are paid for their internship through Chautauqua Works and it gives them a great job to show on their college applications or resumes.
“This is a job I never really thought about doing until I tried it. Now, I’m interested in radio or working at a newspaper,” said John, who is going to JCC next year. “I think having this opportunity for students is a great idea because it gives us the opportunity to try a new experience and to learn more about a local business.”