Help Our Student Radio – Support WKHS!

Share

Chris Lobely, senior at KCHS and member of the Trojans’ football team

It’s fundraiser time at WHKS radio, the on-air voice of Kent County High School. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 14 and continuing through Friday, Nov. 17, the student disc jockeys and announcers will be seeking the community’s help to purchase equipment and perform needed upgrades to the station. The fundraiser runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. To make a pledge, call 410-778-4249 or 410-778-8100 or click here.

Station manager and instructor Chris Singleton said on Monday that the station seeks to raise $20,000 to $25,000 for structural renovations and to replace outmoded equipment. Needed renovations include upgrading the soundproofing of studios — including replacing the deteriorating foam on the walls — and bringing in new furniture to make them more “guest-friendly. The radio station has also expanded into the old photographic dark room where students used to develop their own pictures before digital cameras.

Vincent Wilson, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student announcer

Among the equipment needed is a new audio console, at about $10,000. Professional quality microphones can cost $400 each.With these upgrades, and others done this past summer, the station will have state-of-the-art equipment, comparable to that of many medium-market commercial stations, Singleton said.

On air for more than 43 years, WKHS is one of the most powerful student radio stations in the country, boasting 17,500 watts for a clear signal as far as sixty miles away. The station has been an educational platform for students and a labor of love for volunteers who provide on-air talent during the evening.

Alison Rameika, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student announcer

The student disc jockeys present an eclectic mix of music — pop and rock hits spanning 40 years, Singleton said.  Student announcers get the world, national, and state news from the Associated Press as well as local news adapted in part from Chestertown Spy stories.  The students get practice in writing through re-writing news stories in their own words.

In addition to the student hours, local adult volunteers conduct shows daily during evening hours, including the evening programming includes Bill Staples “Big Band,” “Honky Tonk Jukebox,” and “Bluegrass” shows on Wednesdays; Lain Hawkridge’s “Musicology” show, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays; Ron Lockwood’s “Thrill of the Night,” 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays, and Bill Wright’s “Road Trippin’,” 8 p,m. to midnight, Thursdays. The station simulcasts the University of Pennsylvania radio station, WXPN, during non-local broadcasting hours. See the station’s website for a complete schedule.

Between 35 and 50 students are involved in the station at any given time. Singleton estimated that some 1,200 to 1,500 students had taken part in the program over the years. Among them are June Fox, a 1982 grad now working with a high school station in Seattle, and Camri McKee, now the floor director at the WBAL TV (Channel 11) morning news show in Baltimore.

Any list of graduates of the program should include Singleton himself, who graduated from KCHS in the early 1980s. He returned to the station as a part time engineer while he was in college. Then beginning in 1989. Singleton became working part-time at the radio station. He stayed on as a part-time engineer until ten years ago, when he became full-time, adding on duties as an instructor. He described his current position as “instructor, station manager, engineer, chief cook and bottle washer – the whole nine yards.”

The last couple of years, WKHS has also had the services of Ken Collins, formerly of WCTR radio, as a part-time fundraiser.

While many students go on to study broadcasting and communications at college, Singleton said that the high school station gives them all the skills they need to get a job in broadcasting. Students also are taught the basics of marketing including branding, reaching an audience, and creating quality content, Singleton said.

But long-term and more importantly, these students are doing more than just having fun while learning career skills. They are gaining a deeper understanding of all communication media – from television, social media, movies, to broadcast news in all its myriad formats.  These students will not be as easily taken in by “fake” news or other scams, in whatever areas of their life they may meet them.  The Kent County High School radio program combines academic skills with hands-on experience that enriches their lives and provides a community service.

The school system pays the basic costs of operating the student radio station such as overhead, maintenance, and consumables but there is no extra budget — especially in these days of monetary constraints — for modernizing the studio and its equipment.  Some of the equipment is 30 years old.  There has been a lot of technological advances in the past 30 years!

B K Saunders, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student

WKHS is owned and operated by Kent County Public Schools. The studios and transmitter are located on the campus of Kent County High School, 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton. The broadcasting program is a Kent County High School Career Technology Education pathway and is staffed with students in grades 10-12 during school operating hours.

 

WKHS Old Radio Equipment that the station hopes to replace with state-of-the-art audio equipment.

WKHS – The first of the new modern radio equipment. This industry-standard equipment was installed last summer just before the start of the new semester.

 

 

###

*

Letters to Editor

  1. Ken Collins says:

    Great radio, great music and information, great students…. please donate, http://www.wkhsradio.org.

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.