Effingham County High School has hit the digital airwaves with the newest venture in its journalism program, Rebel Radio.
This student/faculty run station streams live broadcasts of all the Rebel football action, maintains a play list of songs from a variety of genres and offers information on all the latest school happenings. Under the direction of Brian Holt, ECHS social studies and journalism teacher, students are getting hands-on experiences with audio production, interviewing and reporting.
“I think it’s pretty good because the students that don’t go to the game, they can get on the radio station and hear about it from home without having to pay anything,” said William Burnsed, 14, who works gathering and uploading stats at football games and helps interview coaches.
Since local radio FM station WSGV 105.7 left the air, Holt and his students had covered ECHS football on the Internet one game at a time as Rebel Radio with Andy Powell and Holt commentating.
“And when we started checking into the feasibility and the cost, it was actually more cost efficient just to have our own station,” said Holt, between signing hall passes and handing over equipment to yearbook staff members. “Then we could broadcast 24 hours a day seven days a week, and not only do football, but also give the kids an opportunity to practice with audio production, have their own radio shows, do other sports, do concerts, do pretty much anything that we could, anything within reason.”
This incarnation of Rebel Radio started streaming on the Internet last month on the first day of school, with McDonalds as its sponsor. Listeners can go to www.THERebelRadio.com to download the station for free from iTunes or WinAmp. Students and faculty members have shared their music and recorded commercials for clubs, organizations, sports and the school store.
There are four students most familiar with it now, junior Austin Smith and freshmen Burnsed, Cullen Barringer and Xavier Kennedy ad. They go to all the football games, report stats, take photos and interview coaches.
“It’s pretty fun; I like to do it. It’s kind of hard now just figuring out how do to all the yards and how many yards and all that,” said Barringer, but he said they are getting used to it. “We announce (for Rebel Radio). Every once in a while one of us will go over and say halftime, first quarter or end of the game stats and stuff like that.”
Soon, Holt will be recruiting students with something to say to host their own radio programs.
“I’ve talked to a couple of seniors who are interested in hosting their own radio programs and a few sophomores in my government classes who’ve expressed an interest in hosting a show or coming by or at least helping with recording or whatever,” he said.
Rebel Radio is just one of the many media that students get inside experience in. Since Holt began teaching at ECHS in 2000, he brought back the school newspaper, The Rebel, started a video school news pieces on a YouTube channel, and started Rebelcast, a podcast of all the schools announcements. His students man the yearbook and edit the ECHS Web site as well.
“The main thing is I want to be a facilitator to offer kids the opportunity to make decisions about careers that they want to go in to,” he said. “And
I think that if that opportunity is not here, how will they know. So I really see myself as giving them an opportunity to try out different careers.”