Outback radio station keeping kids engaged by putting them on-air

(ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham) ABC Tropical North

By Harriet Tatham

Posted

November 16, 2016 16:31:01

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Hannah Radke, Riley Chapman and Sarah Peterson perfecting their radio voices.
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Moranbah 4744
(ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Lessons out of the classroomMs Branch said aside from watching the students’ confidence grow, the program also highlights the power of teamwork and music. “The second week they learn about our programming software, and how to put that music into the program.””From there they go and do some voicers — so they learn how to record their own voice and put some stings in.””They then put their ads in that they need to — our sponsorship — ads in the fourth week, and then the fifth and sixth weeks they get an hour each to go live in air.”

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Riley Chapman, Hannah Radke and Sarah Peterson are just some of Moranbah’s teenage radio stars. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Six weeks of trainingMs Branch said students enrolled in Project Y attend the station twice a week for six weeks — a length of time she said was sufficient to train the students about presenting live on air. “Music is so healing and it’s an expression — there’s no right and wrong and that’s one of the things we found particularly in the early days,” Ms Branch said. Despite the idea of radio being all fun and games, Sarah admitted it could be hard work. “There were students who were really struggling at school and perhaps had faced suspension, and they were blown away that they got here and got to do what they wanted to do.””That’s often times why they’re disengaging, because they just don’t fit the school model.”When you can come and just listen to music and put together a be expressive in your own way, that kind of creates a feeling of belonging of having a purpose.”

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Leaning how to load the radio stations’ computer system with music. What was initially a targeted program has opened its doors up to all students from Moranbah State High School. “Those students were referred to the radio station to begin this Project Y program,” she said. “It’s a really good experience, and it’s good if you wanted to be a radio presenter or a journalist, and it gives you that passion for music.”

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Ready to go live on the wireless. and so many students [were] asking about it from the school that we decided to open it up to anyone that wanted to come along — not just those kids.” “We’ve got 12-year-olds coming to do this, so very young,” she said. “I think my least favourite job is pressing the buttons when the song ends, because your kind of talking to someone in the studio, and then you realised, ‘Oh god I’ve got 2 seconds’,” she said.Her 15-year-old colleague Riley Chapman has also been involved with Project Y for two years, and said he would encourage more students to get involved. “When they come in they find where all our music is, and they get to spend the first week looking through most of them,” she said. “I wanted to do something radio and I like listening to music, so why not combine them,” she said. From there things get more advanced. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham)
Students eager to be trained in radioAt just 14 years of age, Sarah Peterson has volunteered with the radio station for two years, and said signing up was a given. “I definitely have benefitted from this, because it’s given me all this knowledge and stuff about music that I probably haven’t gotten before,” he said. (ABC Tropical North: Harriet Tatham) “They come along, they spend six weeks in the program, and they get to learn what it’s like to put a show together and go live on-air.”

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Moranbah’s community radio station is helping students re-engage with education, while potentially forging the radio stars of the future. “We had more students come through in 2013 …

Fiona Branch on Project Y. (ABC News)

Perhaps the presenter is 50 years old, perhaps they’re even 25 — but have you ever heard of 12-year-olds presenting hour-long live programs?This is the reality for locals in the remote Queensland mining town of Moranbah, where a youth radio program is being used to tackle disengagement within schools.”The program actually started at the end of 2012, it was an initiative to help students that were struggling at school — that were at risk of disengaging,” said organiser and radio presenter Fiona Branch. When we tune into our local radio station, many of us are greeted by middle-aged voices.