Take courses worth six hours of Sinclair Community College credits
Train on how to use Adobe software to edit audio
Program the Wide Orbit Automation System
Compete for regional AND national broadcasting awards
Would you like to compete in regional and national communication competitions? Collect your award in New York City? The Communications Arts (CA) program stresses public speaking and presentation skills as foundations not just for working on-air at WCWT-FM, the Voice of the Elks but for pursuing careers in media, sales, and marketing.
CA is a Career Tech block program, so students have two classes a day during their junior and senior years at CHS. Students are immersed in broadcasting and all its related industries. To reinforce what they learn in the classroom, students visit local media outlets and meet with their staffs to understand their jobs and career opportunities. So, running a federally regulated radio station is just part, but an exciting one, of gaining exposure and understanding of broadcasting, how it works and affects our society.
CA students, the WCWT-FM management and staff compete with their peers, both regionally and nationally. This is an important aspect of the programs because success is grounded in and emphasizes both technical and communication skills. In the spring, they compete in the Miami Valley Tech Prep Showcase hosted by Sinclair Community College and open to all regional Career Tech students. Hundreds of students participated and last spring, CHS CA students took first and second place in seven of the eight categories entered, Two of the CHS teams tied for the ‘Best of Show’ award, each earning a perfect score, the only teams in the competition to do so.
2018 graduates entered the prestigious, nationwide Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems (IBS) competition and were finalists in six categories, including best play-by-play, podcast, PSA, station promotion, and use of sound effects – and this was the first year that WCWT participated. The finalists flew to New York City, the Big Apple, to receive their awards, many financed their trip using their sales and marketing skills to sell Donor Acknowledgements to local businesses – WCWT-FM is a non-commercial station. They took in a live show on Comedy Central, hit Times Square, and went to the 9/11 memorial. This year’s seniors have already submitted 15 entries to IBS’ 2019 competition.
Beyond such accomplishments, all graduating seniors passed the six state exams and most of the class earned 6 hours of college credits through an articulation program with Sinclair Community College.
So how does the CA program achieve these results?
Through a practical approach that starts in the Junior year with a focus on learning the basics about how the WCWT-FM creates programs and gets them to air. This involves developing their technical understanding of Master Control and the Wide Orbit on-air automation system. They use recording and editing equipment as well as software, such as Adobe to write effective on-air material. Students put together the music mixes, write the Public Service Announcements, Station IDs, Promos, Donor Acknowledgments, and of course, have their own program and time slot!
WCWT-FM carries all of the home and away varsity football games, home varsity soccer and basketball games. Many of the students want to learn how to be sportscasters and so the CA program has retained John Hitchcock, a retired ESPN sportscaster and college professor, to come every week to critique and coach those interested in learning how to call a game, engaging the audience and really bringing listeners into the action. Recently, WCWT 107.3 FM began streaming so Elk fans can now pick up these games, virtually anywhere in the world and they do!
WCWT-FM has collaborated for the past 3 years with Dayton’s local NPR station, WYSO as part of their Dayton Youth Radio project. Basim Blunt is the project coordinator and visits once a week for an eight-week period, teaching the seniors how to write and create short podcasts. Many of the seniors’ final audio essays have been broadcast on WYSO, a confirmation of their skill and ability to tell compelling stories that audiences can relate to.
Students have two classes a day, the first is usually a lecture covering the history of broadcasting, the role of the FCC, patent and copyright laws, workplace regulations to provide an understanding of the business environment for broadcasters. In their senior year, two Sinclair Community College courses; JOU2101 (journalism) and MGT1107(business fundamentals) are incorporated into the classroom curriculum. As long as students maintain a C or above grade, they earn 3 hours of college credit for each of these courses. The second period class provides “hands on” for the students working in one of the three professionally equipped broadcast studios.
To support WCWT-FM, the students participate in extracurricular activities, sometimes to raise funds for a worthy cause or to cover some additional expenses, or to give back to the community they live in and serve. Over the past years, these efforts have included support for Spirit Chain and the creation and management of the Battle of the Rock Bands, a Dodgeball Tournament, Video Game Championships, and more.
WCWT-FM 107.3 and the CA program is more than the sum of its parts; it creates a vehicle and a space to explore ideas and opportunities, to develop and test out new skills, and to see and experience new possibilities broadening students’ horizons for comes after their days at CHS.
If this sounds exciting, then the Communication Arts program and WCWT-FM 107.3 might be a good fit for YOU!