The production department has been busy for the past few weeks, as we’ve been shepherding the kids of Summercise through writing and producing radio spots.
During the summer, the CAMP department of Norton Sound Health Care runs a program focussed on teaching kids about healthy living. That afternoon program is called “Summercise”, and a part of it is about helping the kids talk to others about what being healthy means. Daynee and I have worked with the CAMP department throughout the year – they’re our partners in Breakfast Wednesdays – and we agreed to teach a group of kids about radio, helping them write, voice, and produce their own “healthy living” radio spots. (Just a reminder on terminology: a “spot” is the general word for short messages on the radio, which includes commercials, PSAs, promos, and so on. KNOM is a non-commercial station, so we air educational and inspirational messages instead of commercials, and refer to the whole lot as “spots.”)
When we agreed to help out with Summercise, I was under the impression that the kids would be… older. I was expecting to work with high schoolers, especially since I taught radio production to high schoolers and college students before going to Seminary. I prepared a packet with sample spots, and talking about what goes into writing a spot, and editing techniques – and of course, none of it was particularly appropriate for the 12-and-under crowd we got. Fortunately, being able to think on your feet is an important part of radio, and by tag-teaming days, Daynee and I were able to get the kids’ attention, and teach them a little bit about what radio is all about.
One of my favorite parts of this whole process was working with each kid individually to record the scripts that they had written. Kids often get a “reading voice” that they use to read books or papers in school – a sort of sing-song, oddly timed rhythm based more on the length and difficulty of the words than the meaning of the word itself. I loved getting to watch the kids’ faces light up as they “got it” -that being excited in their voice when reading was possible – and that it would help the spot sound better, too!
Altogether, Daynee and I spent six hours with the Summercise kids, and then had them chat on-air with Kelly during their last day at the station. Their spots sound great – and will be airing in regular rotation on KNOM for the first two weeks of August!