WW students showing new interest in old media

Adalaido Alonso-Peralta and Trenton Holloway talk in the West Washington Senator Radio studio. 

There is a saying that everything old is new again. West Washington students are proving that to be true as the school has unveiled West Washington Senator Radio (WWSR) this year. 

WWSR is the school corporation’s internet-based radio station and with a little help from Digital Communication Instructor, Brian Wolfe, it’s all student ran. 

Wolfe said in August of 2019, a discussion started between himself, high school principal Mary Ann Knapp, superintendent Keith Nance and Lost River COOP director. 

“I teach radio and TV classes and we’ve always been pretty solid with the TV and film aspect, but other than just teaching radio, we didn’t have a hands-on application,” Wolfe said. “That’s something West Washington does such a great job at is the hands-on learning.”

Wolfe said once the conversation started and they began looking into what it would take to make internet radio a reality, they realized they already had most of the technology they would need. 

At that point, moving forward was the only way to go. 

“We pieced it all together and it fell into place,” Wolfe said. 

The plan originally was to launch WWSR last spring, but the COVID-19 Pandemic halted that plan. 

Wolfe said Rob Batchelor has been vital in helping to get WWSR off the ground, too. 

“I am by no means an expert, so when I have an issue I go running to Rob,” he said. “We can be offline and it can be just one setting.” 

Now that it is up and running, the internet radio is something students and staff are growing more and more interested in. 

“Students in Wolfe’s class are excited because they get to have their own DJ hour, which allows them to choose from any of the music they have on hand,” Wolfe said. 

That’s one of the things Trenton Holloway is looking forward to most. 

“If (Wolfe) let’s us, we can have our own announcements,” Holloway said. “We could do the weather or whatever is on our mind. We’d have control over our own hour.” 

Wolfe clarified, “Supervised control over their own hour!” 

Kacie Huff, who is also in Wolfe’s class that focuses on radio broadcasting, said she loves the idea of using that form of media to express herself. 

“I am excited because this class allows me to express creativity,” Huff said. “I also get the opportunity to learn something new, while having fun at the same time.”

Even students who really had no desire or interest in radio broadcasting are coming around to the idea of the internet-based station. 

Adalaido Alonso-Peralta said the more he learns about the radio, the more interested he becomes. 

“I never really thought about radio much, but now that we are up here and doing it, it’s really interesting,” he said. 

Another student, Shevan Griffith, agreed. He said going into the radio portion of Wolfe’s class, he didn’t realize how many possibilities there were. 

“Radio is something I didn’t think I’d have much interest in, but coming up here and doing it a lot more, it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I am looking forward to interviewing and talking to people. I am normally not a talkative person, but this is something that I really like getting in to.” 

Wolfe said there will be more of that type of programming in the coming months and even later in the school year. He said doing interviews and a whole lot of talking for now is made more difficult because of wearing masks. 

In the meantime, students are coming up with ideas to show off their creativity. 

Morgan Griffith likes the idea of possibly hosting podcasts. He has an interest in stop-motion films and could see doing a podcast about those. 

Current students are getting the knowledge today that is giving former students a head start at the college level. 

Wolfe said Knapp’s oldest son went through the program at West Washington and is having a lot of success in the digital communication field in Bloomington, as is Sammi Nance, another former student. 

Another student, who is a freshman at Purdue-New Albany, told Wolfe some of his freshman college assignments were things he did as a sophomore at West Washington. 

“That’s the purpose of school -- get them ready for the next level and at high school we are getting them ready for post-secondary education and a career field and set-up to be successful,” Wolfe said. 

There is a plan to do a similar approach, to begin doing more live-streaming of school events. 

Many sporting events are already live-streamed, but Wolfe said plans are to expand that. There is no set timeline on when that will happen. 

Wolfe said until then he invites everyone to check out WWSR and there are a number of ways to do that. There is an app for both Androids and iPhones.

Listeners can also tune in on Amazon and Alexa and follow WWSR on facebook and twitter. 

“The programming right now is just basically shuffling the songs we have,” Wolfe said. “We have 80s, classic rock, 2010-2016 hits and Christmas music.” 

Wolfe said he wanted to start playing Christmas music on November 1, but Superintendent Nance overruled that decision and put a moritorium on it until Thanksgiving. 

“It will be solid Christmas music from that point on,” Wolfe said.

It’s also proof that everything old, is new again! 


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