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Youth Radio

Boise Community Radio Project

Radio Boise sought funding to continue to develop our burgeoning youth radio education initiative created in collaboration with the Boise School District and other high schools in the area. This collaboration trained 21 students attending Boise High and Wilder High School in audio production and media literacy; in the 2017/2018 school year, Radio Boise worked with students as part of their regular class schedule, and engaged two Boise High School students in regular volunteer help at our studios.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How does media arts relate to its various contexts, purposes, and values?

Essential Question(s): How do media artists organize and develop ideas and models into process structures to achieve the desired end product?

  1. Students spent time reviewing content produced by media arts organizations, specifically podcasts. They analyzed podcasts for key structures, impact on audience, goals, and methods of the creators. They were then able to brainstorm their own content ideas and strategize how to turn those ideas into content that would meet the goals they had of impacting their communities.
  2. Almost all of the students had never previously analyzed media content through the lens of a producer or creator. The students were highly engaged with looking for content and learning how to listen for key identifiers that would define the media pieces.  

Essential Question(s): What is required to produce a media artwork that conveys purpose, meaning, and artistic quality? How do media artists improve/refine their work?

  1. Educational material: Radio Rookies curriculum produced by WNYC. https://www.wnyc.org/shows/rookies/resources-educators
  2. Students went through applicable exercises in the curriculum to gain an understanding of the strategies and tools needed to produce an audio podcast, effective storytelling techniques, and how to use audio to capture an audience and convey a message.
  3. Example: audio podcasts


At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

  1. Media Arts “Creating” Standard, Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. Essential Question(s): How do media artists organize and develop ideas and models into process structures to achieve the desired end product?
    MA:Cr2.1.I: Apply aesthetic criteria in developing, proposing, and refining artistic ideas, plans, prototypes, and production processes for media arts productions, considering original inspirations, goals, and presentation context
  2. Media Arts “Creating” Standard, Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work. Essential Question(s): What is required to produce a media artwork that conveys purpose, meaning, and artistic quality? How do media artists improve/refine their work?
    MA:Cr3.1.I: a. Consolidate production processes to demonstrate deliberate choices in organizing and integrating content and stylistic conventions in media arts productions, demonstrating understanding of associated principles, such as emphasis and tone. b. Refine and modify media artworks, honing aesthetic quality and intentionally accentuating stylistic elements, to reflect an understanding of personal goals and preferences.
  3. Media Arts “Connecting” Process – Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

MA:Cn11.1.I: a. Demonstrate and explain how media artworks and ideas relate to various contexts, purposes, and values, such as social trends, power, equality, and personal/cultural identity. b. Critically evaluate and effectively interact with legal, technological, systemic, and vocational contexts of media arts, considering ethics, media literacy, social media, virtual worlds, and digital identity.


Media Literacy Scale:  at the beginning of the program, students completed the Media Literacy Scale survey presented in research: Maksl, A., Craft, S., Ashley, S., & Miller, D. (2016). The Usefulness of a News Media Literacy Measure in Evaluating a News Literacy Curriculum. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 72(2), 228-241.  (Used with permission.) At that time, students were evaluated for a general understanding of media literacy. The average accuracy rate was 40%. At the end of the program, students again completed the survey, and the average accuracy rate was 90%.

  1. Example: At the beginning of the program, students were asked to share “a relevant news item they had recently become aware of.”  
    1. All students were able to report one significant current event
    2. Only 50% of the students were able to remember how they learned about the current event.  Student quote: “I overheard it on TV from the other room.”
    3. Of the 50% that remembered where they learned about the event, almost all listed a social media site feed – and had no idea of the specific source of the content.
    4. By the end of the program, 90% of students were able to name the specific source of the content, and 50% of students reported using 2 or more sources to shape their perception of the current event.


Student quote: “ After I shared my podcast, I was surprised how many people liked it, and didn’t already know what I was talking about.  Like, it’s really important for students to create their own media and share these things. Or else people won’t know about it.”

One of my favorite moments was at the beginning of the program, when students were asked to share a current event they’d heard about recently.  When the students realized they had no idea where the information came from, we spent a good amount of time discussing why that could be problematic.  It was exciting to see the students become aware of the importance of media literacy through that exercise. At the end of the program, I was so proud to see the students being responsible media consumers by using multiple sources to inform their knowledge about current events.

Overall, the best outcome came from the student’s personal empowerment growth.  By the end of the program, they all had an awareness and understanding that, yes – they have the power to share stories! That it does matter who creates it, and it matters what stories and voices are shared.