Northside High School launched its own online radio station Monday with a lineup of nonstop music programs produced by the school’s broadcast journalism students.
Shows like “Cajun Sunrise,” “Boogie Train” and “I-10 Waltz” are part of the 24-hour lineup.
“We have 600 programs produced and ready to go,” academy director Jay Redmond said before a brief ceremony to celebrate the official launch in the academy’s radio lab Monday. “These students have done work that trained adults do at radio stations across the country.”
The radio station’s general manager, Marcus Mitchell, 17, said he’s proud of what he and his classmates have accomplished. Mitchell, a senior, plans to major in broadcast journalism in the fall and pursue his interest that’s been fueled by his work in the broadcast academy.
“It’s a dream of mine to be on the radio,” he said. “Everybody put so much work into this.”
For now, listeners may tune in at nhsradio.org, and by summer or early fall, the programming also should be available on a low-frequency FM station, Redmond said.
“The Cajundome has agreed for us to put an antenna up, and we’re awaiting approval from the FCC,” Redmond said.
Redmond said over the next several months, the students will monitor the online radio station’s progress and work out any kinks.
Principal Melinda Voorhies congratulated the students for their hard work and dedication to the program. Voorhies said she had a vision for the program about 2½ years ago, and luckily, Redmond agreed to help build the program at the school.
Redmond said about 50 students are in the program and enrollment is expected to grow as the academy will open up to students who live outside the Northside High zone as part of the school system’s schools of choice option.
“We have another 38 who have applied,” he said.
Aside from music, the radio station also will air radio plays as part of a program called “Theatre of the Mind,” a concept championed by the station’s creative director, Tyler Jolivette, 16.
The show harkens back to the radio plays of the 1930s, Redmond said.
Jolivette, a sophomore, is excited about involving students in the creative venture.
“One show that I’m working on is about concept of self, and it involves time travel and coming back from the future to correct the past. I don’t want to give it away. It’s like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ” he said.
Jolivette is an aspiring film director and said the opportunities to produce shows as part of the academy has helped him explore that interest.
“This moment today, I feel like I made it,” he said. “It’s the people around me and the work we put into this that I’m proud of. It feels like we all made it.”
Sophomore Amori Edmond’s show, “Cajun Sunrise,” debuts at 6 a.m. Tuesday with what she described as “old-school” Louisiana music until 9 a.m. Edmond moved to Lafayette in October 2013 from Atlanta and taking classes as part of the academy program helped her make friends while she learned more about the music culture of Louisiana. One artist Edmond said she discovered and enjoys is Camey Doucet and his song “Mom, I’m Still Your Little Boy.”
“I like that I can make my own shows and learn more about Louisiana,” Edmond, 17, said.
“Mr. Redmond teaches you how to come out of your shell and speak for yourself.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.