Northland Rocks Solid from Dargaville
Pupils air their ideas on radio
ON THE AIR: From left: Bailey Welsh, Nikau Newman and Maryanne Hodgson at work in the studio at Dargaville Intermediate School.
"Good morning Dargaville. This is SOLID FM 107.4 broadcasting from Dargaville Intermediate School."
For two years the students have been spreading their voices like this over the airwaves on what is thought to be one of only two school radio stations in Northland.
SOLID is an acronym for Strong Optimistic Leaders In Dargaville.
The station is the brainchild of retired principal Margaret Morrison.
She saw it as a hands-on way of involving students in IT, while gaining organisational and speaking skills along with the ability to think on the spot.
Vern Woods, who has radio experience, helped with technical aspects.
The studio, in a room attached to the gymnasium, broadcasts over a radius of about 5km and from speakers outside the gymnasium.
It operates continuously, mostly on auto pilot, but from 11am to 11.30am and 1pm to 2pm on school days students take over broadcasting live interviews and recordings of school projects, poetry, recipes, sports events, current events and other topics of their choice.
The driving force is the Radio Club of about 30 students.
Teacher Jan Thomas acts as co-ordinator but she wants it to be student driven.
"It's available to all students and is optional. Some are involved every moment they can."
Club president Bailey Welsh's interests lie more in the mechanics of broadcasting than being behind a microphone.
"It has helped my IT skills and built up my confidence."
And the experience has prompted him to consider a career in broadcasting.
Maryanne Hodgson has been acting as a DJ for a few weeks and started "because it looked like fun".
"At first it was a bit hard but it gets easier as you get more confident until it becomes like natural conversation," she says.
Among skills young DJs have to master is blathering.
Mrs Thomas says that in radio terminology blathering means using your voice and choice of words to convey a message to compensate for unseen facial expressions and hand gestures.
Nikau Newman does a bit of announcing and records material for broadcast.
He is also part of a team which records comedy Chipmunk Blogs where voices are technically altered to squeaks.
He even turned the tables on our reporter, interviewing him on live radio.
Nikau's professional performance suggests the broadcasting industry can look forward to a ready supply of talent.
- © Fairfax NZ News
© Dargaville News 15/09/2010
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