Tuned in: Upper School Students Deliver Radio Broadcast 

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It was an eye-opening learning experience for Helen Gao. 

“I was very surprised about the intensity of being on air while having so many people listening,” says the Grade 12 Bayview Glen School (BVG) student. 

A recent visit to a radio station by the Grade 11 and 12 Communication Technology classes, gave Gao deeper insight into a field she is interested in.  

“I learned that improv and being comfortable with your conversation is the key for a successful podcast,” she says. 

Gao, along with more than two dozen students visited CHOP FM, a student-run radio station, for a tour and the experience of going ‘on air’. 

“Prior to the pandemic, we visited CHOP FM 102.7 in partnership with another CIS (Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario) school in Newmarket called Pickering College,” says Anthony Chuter, Communication Technology teacher at BVG. “During the pandemic, our students planned, wrote, produced and broadcast remotely as BVG:radioon the air” for the channel and for live broadcast.” 

This year, with COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the in-person experience — designed to complement the curriculum — resumed. 

“We are currently exploring Audio Production and focused particularly on the radio industry,” continues Mr. Chuter. “We have created a variety of audio projects from audio book recommendations to podcasts as a medium for academic discourse and research. We have also had some fun along the way too!” 

In recent years, Grade 12 students have used media platforms (weekly podcasts, videos, animation and documentaries) as part of their final Capstone projects, says Mr. Chuter. 

Seeing the process of hosting and broadcasting content as well as understanding the production elements involved in a LIVE radio show was a first for many students, including Helen, who left with several key takeaways. 

“On the more technical side, the timing of when to talk and when to stop is key for a podcast to have a smooth transition,” says Helen who was also, “very intrigued by the different equipment.” 

Podcast topics spanned the gamut from, “lighter topics like sports, music, books and popular culture to more academic topics and research questions,” says Mr. Chuter. 

“A number of students were also keen to work in the sound and mixing booth and spoke to the station manager about life and routines working in a station.”  

For Helen, the immersive experience provided important food for thought. 

“I am already very involved in media,” says Helen. “Given this opportunity to visit CHOP FM cemented my perception of media even more.” 

The visit also gave Mr. Chuter additional perspective on both the medium and the message. 

“I am so proud of our students and how much they express themselves, their creativity, and aspirations to bring good to the world through creativity, discourse and discussion,” he says. 

“From podcasts on environmental issues to support for mental health, there is an endless variety of topics to discuss and listen to. Next time, you see a teen with earbuds in you might think they are tuning OUT the world, but perhaps they are tuning IN and seeking to change the world.” 

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