Campers Learn Their Way around the WGMU Radio Studio

Posted: July 31, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nicholas Zinzer

As the new school year looms, many students are spending their days shopping for supplies and prepping academically.

For students participating in WGMU’s Radio Camp, preparing for the coming school year is only a part of their day. Last week, the students learned how to produce radio programs.

“We give them a chance to learn what radio is all about. We put them in situations where they can be on the air, play music, play commercials, and put together a newscast,” says Rodger Smith, WGMU’s faculty advisor and head of Radio Camp.

Thirteen students are participating in the camp this summer. The campers range from rising sixth graders to rising twelfth graders.

The WGMU Radio Camp was created by communication professor Don Boileau in 1996. According to Smith, the camp has become more and more efficient and hands-on since then.

George Mason student Skylar Silliphant is one of the camp counselors. The senior, who is majoring in communication, spends most of his time at camp teaching radio production.

“I do on-air work with the kids, such as teaching them how to use equipment,” says Silliphant. He says he enjoys working with kids during the day. “It’s good because the kids are interesting to work with and teach.”

Gus Caldwell is a rising sophomore at W.T. Woodson High School. He came to the radio camp because he wants to learn about the general workings of a radio station and how to use soundboards in audio studios.

“The camp is pretty good. There is a lot of hands-on stuff. We’ve learned how to work the soundboards in the studios, how to make commercials and newscasts,” says Caldwell.,.

Alec Aziz is another WGMU radio camper. He attends Flint Hill School in Fairfax and is a rising eighth grader. “I’m going to the camp to get hands-on experience and see what goes on in a radio station,” says Aziz.

Smith has plans to expand WGMU’s Radio Camp next year to include two, one-week camp sessions. This will allow more participants to be introduced to radio production and generate additional revenue for WGMU.

While WGMU does not broadcast on either the AM or FM spectrum, the student-run radio station broadcasts 24 hours a day on the Internet. This allows it to reduce costs and reach a worldwide audience.

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