Friday, October 16, 2009
CCHS radio station finds a new voice
For nearly 40 years, Concord Carlisle High School (CCHS) students have had the opportunity to broadcast their music and their ideas on the school’s radio station WIQH 88.3 FM. However, only those living within the tight radius of the station’s range have been able to listen. This all changed, though, in September 2009 when the station began to simulcast their content at WIQH.org while shows occur live on the air. Since then, listeners have tuned-in from locations ranging from Canada to China to Taiwan, not to mention more local areas that are not included in the broadcast range such as Carlisle.
WIQH transmits with a relatively weak 100 watts of power. Station manager and CCHS faculty member Ned Roos attributes this to the large number of colleges in Massachusetts, each with their own radio program. “The bandwidth is full,” explains Roos. “If we were to increase our power any more than we already have, we run the risk of interfering with those other radio stations. That’s illegal.” Live-streaming online sidesteps this issue, allowing anyone anywhere to listen. “It’s easy to do, easy to receive, and we’re streaming in pretty high audio quality,” Roos continues. “We sound just as good online as we do on the air.” The new Internet feature can be accessed through the CCHS website via a link for listening directly above the link for WIQH, or by visiting WIQH.org and navigating to the listening live page.
WIQH was first founded in 1971 by then electronics teacher Walter Brzezinski, recalling the days when CCHS was more of a comprehensive rather than the college-prep focused high school it is today. The station began very small at 10 watts and was later expanded to 100 watts in the mid-1990s. Today it is an integral part of that CCHS community and broadcasts live at least seven hours after school Monday through Friday. Roos estimates it is one of only several hundred high school stations in the entire country and one of about a dozen in Massachusetts, which include locally Acton-Boxborough, Lincoln-Sudbury and Maynard. WIQH happens to be the oldest of these nearby stations.
In order to have a show, students must undergo a “fairly significant training process that takes place in six or seven sessions over the course of six or seven weeks,” explains Roos. Though much smaller than big-time Boston radio stations, WIQH is subject to the exact same rules and regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission. As publicity director and Carlisle resident Sara Keeler explains, “We’re board-tested to make sure we know what we’re doing.” In Keeler’s words, the test consists of “a practice show, basically, with Ned sitting there and deciding pass-fail.”
Those involved with WIQH agree a radio station is an extremely valuable institution at a high school and that participation is highly rewarding. Ironically, it’s not so much the DJ skills that are central to the station’s benefits for students, as those that are developed while producing a show. Roos cites the important life skills that students learn by participating in WIQH, such as management, organization, cooperation, public speaking and presentation skills. “We’re running a small business here,” Roos remarks. All equipment is maintained by students, so members can learn about electronics and engineering as well.
Keeler comments that she enjoys the sense of accomplishment in a final product. Her fellow publicity director and Carlisle resident Ailin Thomas adds that WIQH members are a “tight-knit” yet inclusive group that provides a “really good support system.”
Roos, has always had a “certain fondness in [his] heart for WIQH,” as it is where his original interest in radio was sparked when he was a student at CCHS. “Concord-Carlisle has a ton of great kids in it who are just fun to hang out with and talk with and listen to,” says Roos. “There’s so many different things to do here and there’s so many different parts of radio that you never really get bored.” ∆
[Ed note: Tommy Veitch is a junior at CCHS.]
Carlisle student productions
The schedule for programs produced by Carlisle students is as follows: Mondays: Rachel Dumka at 4 p.m. and Ben Parson at 8 p.m. Tuesdays: Ben Parra at 6 p.m., Sara Keeler and Ailin Thomas at 7 p.m., and Katie Hart and Sarah Rush at 8 p.m. Wednesdays: Chapman Wells at 4 p.m. Thursdays: David Yanofsky and Rebekah Shenton at 6 p.m.. Fridays: Robbie Drinkwater at 6 p.m. and Robert Hitchner and Jackson McNally at 8 p.m.
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito