LONDONDERRY — Anyone tuning in locally to 102.9 FM on the radio can hear school happenings, student podcasts, music, sports and interviews.
The Londonderry High radio station will also see updates when it comes to infrastructure, programming and educational training in the classrooms.
High school curriculum coordinator Shawn Flynn, along with school district technician John Beaulieu, gave the school board a radio station update recently.
Flynn said updated radio broadcasting curriculum is being worked on, with opportunities for students to learn all about broadcasting, editing, interviewing and creating other types of radio programming.
The school district's low-power station signed on the air for the first time in March 2004, authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast with 100 watts of power. The antenna/transmitter is located at North Elementary School.
Beaulieu said an online transmitting device is located at that transmitter location to receive content; currently that is uploaded to a server with the Backbone Radio Software system recently purchased.
The system can go live from any location using a laptop with internet access.
Beaulieu said the Backbone system is located on systems on two tech office computers, the radio classroom, the athletic director's office, on a laptop used for sports/music events, and in the radio studio located in an upper gymnasium space.
Several people were trained on the system this past winter, including a broadcasting teacher, Beaulieu, athletic director and a student intern.
Right now, radio broadcasts include fifth-grade elementary newscasts, basketball games, middle and elementary school concerts, student podcasts from the sports journalism classes, sporting events and athletic interviews with players and coaches.There are also programs on safety issues like preparing for blizzards, the dangers of texting and driving, bullying and suicide and mental health awareness. Future programs could include political interviews with candidates coming to the area.
Students have also created podcasts on movie and television program reviews, technology discussions and music genre debates.
Beaulieu said the radio station can be found on the school district website by clicking an icon and also on smart phones.
"That's really the big upgrade we've done over the past year," he said.
Flynn said future goals could get more student interns involved to create more original radio programs, more college information from the high school's Futures Lab and making the station a true experience with a station manager, programming manager and production manager.
School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks said she is very excited about the opportunities within the high school's radio curriculum and operating station.
"I don't think we always realize the resource we have sitting in our own high school that, from my view, has been grossly underused since I've sat on this board," Hendricks said. "So I am thrilled that we are finally taking some steps in that direction. I think there are boundless opportunities for the producing of shows."
She also suggested having students work with local businesses for potential commercial writing and interview opportunities.