Every Wednesday, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., you can listen to Pawling High School students on their new radio show, The Pawling Playback, on Pawling Public Radio/WPWL. The program is part of the tenth grade English program, as a secondary project to the regular curriculum. Each student, individually or in a group, formulates and conceptualizes their own radio show, researches ideas, and writes scripts before actually going on the air and performing live.
The Pawling Playback shows have no shortage of diversity, with topics ranging from current events and advice to music and movie reviews and much more. Students spend months working on each episode in class and at home, sitting together to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another. Mr. Spencer Goot, the tenth grade English teacher, has been advising the students, encouraging them to act naturally and talk about things that they think are interesting in order to create a more genuinely fun show. Mr. Goot has been dedicated to helping students with their shows however he can. Sometimes, in class, he allows students to listen to radio programs similar to their shows.
Many students consider this to be the highlight of their week, as it gives them a chance to talk about a project they like with their friends. Before going down to the radio station, the students practice repeatedly, making sure that they’re confident and prepared to go live on the air. When the day comes for them to finally present before the microphone, everyone performing that day boards a bus at 4:00 p.m. and heads down to the station together to talk on the air.
This sort of long-term project is doing a great job of teaching students real-world skills, such as time management, meeting a deadline, and public speaking. The show is very popular, and it can be heard on the air at 103.7 FM or on MixCloud. At this point in the year, most students have already premiered their shows, and they are preparing a second. The tenth grade students look forward to the days when they get to work on their radio shows, and they are eager to display their hard work to friends and family.
The program has proved to be so popular that it will be developed into a full class, available to students of all ages, starting next year. This will give lots of students a great opportunity to have their voices heard in their community, and it will give them a chance to discuss topics they may not have the opportunity to discuss anywhere else.
Lauren Radicchi is a sophomore at Pawling High School.