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MIHS radio finds its footing
The high school radio station has returned to its roots.
After a successful year that has brought the number of students in the program from just four last fall to 35 in the spring, the station, led by teacher Charlie Hilen, is looking ahead to even more students this coming fall.
This past year the program broadcast more than 30 Islander boys and girls basketball games, including one from Atlanta. The renewed program has brought praise from high school parents and fans alike.
Islander student Ryan Rouillard did the play-by-play broadcasts, which were part of his senior project. He was assisted by freshman Luke Mounger, who will take over for Rouillard, who graduates in June.
Hilen, the teacher for the program, is pleased by the basketball broadcasts and the workings of the station. There is new energy at the station, he said. Some of that is due to a former radio personality and DJ, Matt Lockman, aka “Doormatt” of KISS radio, has joined the station as a volunteer.
“The kids were excited to have Matt join the station,” Hilen said. “Here is someone who has worked in the business and with Clear Channel — and someone they had actually heard on the air.”
Lockman is one of many station ‘volunteers’ who, over the years, have helped with technical and programming issues and mentored students.
The radio station had suspended broadcasting games several years ago. Instead, the program concentrated on promoting hip hop music and streaming music online.
The station has gone through several changes in the last five years. A commercial station took over their dial position, which is allowed according to Federal Communication Commission rules.
Hilen said that data they receive each month shows that the station has between 300 and 400 listeners each hour tuning in online. Other listener ratings data on the low-power station shows it near the bottom largely due to the fact that the broadcast area around the Island is small.
Hilen, who also teaches video production at the school, said the listener reports don’t mean much to the station, but they serve as an education tool to help students understand the business.
Hilen hopes that Islanders support the station financially so that the broadcasting of games can be maintained or even expanded.
“The station relies on donations,” he said. “By supporting the station, donors support student growth and learning.”
The station also assists in emergency management by the city. The station is set up to broadcast information to the community during a storm, earthquake or other adverse event.
During the snow storms this winter, the station was on the air continuously, Hilen said, updating information on closures and weather reports.
To learn more about the station, visit its website at www.hotjamz.org.