Schenectady County

Students get airtime on school’s own radio station

Maybe the next Rush Limbaugh or Paul Harvey will come from Lincoln Elementary School.

Lincoln School student Kiara McNeal, 8, left, and radio adviser Chris Rakus listen to Michael Cruz, 10, as they record a spot for their radio show.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Lincoln School student Kiara McNeal, 8, left, and radio adviser Chris Rakus listen to Michael Cruz, 10, as they record a spot for their radio show.

Maybe the next Rush Limbaugh or Paul Harvey will come from Lincoln Elementary School.

Five students are getting hands-on experience in radio at their own radio station 99.1 FM. The students record material every week for the show and broadcast school events such as a spelling bee, winter concert and weekly assemblies.

The set-up is very simple, according to their adviser and teacher Chris Rakus. They record the material onto a digital tape recorder that is connected to a computer. Then, the material is sent out through a small transmitter with a range of only about a half mile.

“We probably have a good four to five hours of material that gets put together at a time. It plays in a continuous loop,” he said.

The students add to it every week and take out old material.

Rakus said the school has had a radio station for a few years, but it had not done much with it. The radio club organized in the last year and a half.

Ten-year-old Laquasia Jenkins said she likes doing interviews such as when they interviewed Principal Alan Zemser. And they asked the hard-hitting questions — like if he got into trouble when he was in school.

“He said he pulled the fire alarm,” Jenkins said.

The group’s other members are 9-year-old Sammy Ramos, 8-year-old Kiara McNeal, 10-year-old Andrea Sanchez and 10-year-old Mike Cruz.

On Thursday, the club was recording a promotion to try to get people to submit material for a talent show on the radio.

If they mess up, the group will just re-record it. Rakus said it helps teach them valuable lessons in correcting mistakes. The group also took a field trip to see RPI’s radio station in Troy.

Many of the members are also learning to play the guitar and are working with Scott Heller, who runs NoteWorthy Kids. They have recorded music for the radio program as well. NoteWorthy Kids is an organization that uses music to celebrate diversity and encourage growth of children through music, according to its Web site.

Ramos said he liked the social interaction.

“I get to meet some new friends,” he said.

McNeal said she would not mind being a model one day, but radio is a fun hobby for now.

“I like to talk a lot,” she admitted.

Categories: Schenectady County

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