4 Ways To Make Radio Cool Again

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Wildwood students and visiting guests in action!

1) Bring it to Young People

On March 6, 2013, Feminist Magazine held a hands-on workshop for middle and high school youth at Wildwood School‘s annual Multicultural Symposium, “Spectra: Intersections of Identity,” which was primarily organized by three Wildwood students and a faculty mentor.

Students and educators gathered at Wildwood that morning to hear poet and white anti-racist activist Ariel Luckey‘s opening keynote. Then everyone scurried off to classrooms all over the building to attend over 30 workshop sessions with an amazing lineup of presenters.

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Field recording kits

2) Make it Hands-On

We pulled together 6 field recording kits, each complete with microphone, recorder and headphones. This feat was accomplished with a wide range of resources, from professional Zoom 4H recorders from KPFK, to iPads from Wildwood, to downloading apps like eXtra Voice Recorder onto a laptop. Between USB, minijack and XLR inputs, we managed to create complete kits of varying quality.

 

3) Contextualize Radio as a Tool for Social Justice

Our FemMag Prezi highlighted what we’re up against, starting off with a clip from Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut after she testified at a Congressional hearing, and highlighting the gender gap for women in media. We played clips from some of our featured guests, and premiered a short behind the scenes video we filmed on our phones while in production. (Don’t you always wonder what it looks like on the other side of your car radio?)

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Lauren McQuade and Connie Shen, Feminist Magazine


My favorite part of that presentation? After listening to a short clip from bell hooks (featured on March 21, 2012), I asked students to reflect on how their bodies felt after listening to the radio versus watching the behind the scenes video. One student observed how he felt relaxed and calm while listening to the radio clip. In a high tech world, it’s important to remember that radio (unlike the internet) is free and accessible to wide audiences, making it a fantastic tool for social justice work.

 

4) Put the Radio in Their Hands!

After our short presentation, students split into teams of three — one interviewer/host, one interviewee/guest, and one sound engineer. After a brief period of coming up with their questions, they got right to it. They were naturals, and echoes of “This is what feminism sounds like!” filled the room. They reported on the Multicultural Symposium — some went into the hallways and interviewed attendees — and asked each other to reflect on what feminism meant to them.

You should have seen those faces light up when they got their hands on a mic!

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Interviewing symposium attendees

We’ll be inviting some of the students who gave us their emails to come on the show, and edit together a montage of their interviews from the workshop. Stay tuned for the upcoming show (June 11) featuring youth from the Wildwood Multicultural Symposium! They might even turn into regular contributors…!

We also received handwritten thank you notes from students in the mail soon after!

Thank you for informing me of how influential radio can be. I’ll definitely listen to KPFK 90.7 now. –Jamie

Your workshop was incredibly fun. Since yesterday I have already listened to several shows on your website and enjoyed them very much. –Caleb

Being a feminist myself, and even having an independent radio show as well, I found it very inspiring that it is not too hard to spread the word around feminist beliefs. –Alana

This is what feminism sounds like!


Co-presenters from Feminist Magazine

Co-Presenters (left to right in picture): Lynn Harris BallenSammy Lyon, Lauren McQuadeConnie Shen

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