John Pirie’s new radio station is on the air

John Pirie Secondary School are getting closer to the airwaves, with their radio and recording station officially up and running for students to use. 

The school started progressing towards the studio in term one, when student mentor, Marc Swensson began playing music for the students on a Friday lunch time and had no where to store his gear. 

Marc was hoping for a cupboard where he could set up a microphone and speaker near a window, but what he achieved was far beyond that. 

Reg Dennis, Business Partnership Manager for the Education Department heard of what Marc was aiming towards and was able to source the school $20,000 through the I Can Community Engagement grant, which has now resulted in a successful studio which offers opportunities for students both in and out of the curriculum. 

The station, known as JPFM, is a makeshift radio station and recording studio, whose content plays throughout the school every lunch time from volunteer student hosts.

Marc started mentoring the students through the set up process and now he has a dozen full time students, dedicated to bringing music and talk shows to their fellow students.  

“It doesn't go out into the airwaves, but we have speakers set up around the building, so it plays out into the yard, it is all live.”

“At the moment, it is just every lunch time. At first I did it alone, but then, one by one as students showed interested and as I trusted them, or had an interest in journalism, music or production, I would get them to come in. They would shadow me, see how everything works, hand it over to them and now some of them are doing it by themselves.”

The radio station has provided a kickstart to those students who intend on a career in either journalism, music production or music but, it has also been used by teachers throughout their lesson plans to make use of such a unique opportunity. 

Reg Dennis says that the station is open for whatever teacher wants to take advantage of it with their students. 

“For instance, we have already had some English teachers, who as apart of assessments, students have to present an interview that they have done. It is not just being used for lunch times and musicians, it is also in mainstream curriculum now, being used as a tool to present assessments.”

The response from students has been overwhelming, as the station now has a student running each lunch time session. 

Year 11 students, Chelsea-Rose Meyer and Adam Stubbs have teamed together to present a show to the school and they said it is a fun experience. 

“I am quite thankful and it has got me out of my comfort zone and it has made me quite confident.”

“Every wednesday I come in here, I set up all the amplifiers, all the microphones and set up a playlist. I turn on the speakers for the outside and I play some music and talk to the students”, Chelsea-Rose said. 

“I hope that this will give people a better opportunity to see what radio is like and they might like to do it when they’re older.”

“The advantage is, it is in their face, they can see it and hear it. But if they go to elsewhere, no one knows what they’re doing, none of their peers know. If the student can do some stuff in here. People outside can see what they are doing, they can hear it outside, it gets them interested”, Reg said.

The school are now aiming at expanding the program to include the new DJ desk, recording abilities and hopefully be able to tune into mainstream airwaves.