From The Gazette

St. Laurent

Internet radio gives students a voice

  • Teacher Louis Bilodeau, left, and student Micah Watts, centre, chat with former student Paris Tsovrasin at the Lauren Hill radio station.
    Teacher Louis Bilodeau, left, and student Micah Watts, centre, chat with former student Paris Tsovrasin at the Lauren Hill radio station.
    Photo credit: Peter McCabe, The Gazette

Students at Lauren Hill Academy in St-Laurent are talking and their voices are being heard by more people than ever before.

Last week, with the help of history teacher Louis Bilodeau, they launched an Internet radio station called The Voice.

“It was a very hectic day,” Bilodeau said. “But it was wonderful to see the excitement it generated.”

The Voice might well be the first student-run, Internet radio station in Canada.

“I did my research and I couldn’t find another one, but I would be surprised if we really were the only one in Canada,” Bilodeau said. “The fact that I got support from the school board, the governing board, the parents in the home and school association and (Lauren Hill’s) administration is what I find exciting.”

The Voice features one morning and four lunchtime shows. The content is community oriented, featuring information important to students, staff and parents, be it interviews conducted by students, sports roundups, a travel show or The Nerd Herd 2.0, a show with four hosts, each with a specialty: government, politics, sports and science and technology.

Then there’s The Anglais-French Show, co-hosted by Jonathan Garceau and Micah Watts.

“I am English and (Jonathan) is French and we thought it would be a good idea to do a show that used both languages,” Watts, said. “We look at music and the news from both points of view. It’s not about conflict. We’re having a discussion. We’re good friends.”

Watts, 16, grew up listening to the radio. There wasn’t a television in the house and home Internet was restricted to slo-mo dialup service.

“Radio was the only way I could keep up with the sports and news and listen to music,” he said. “I’m never nervous being on air. We are always well prepared with an outline of key points we want to cover and the music we want to play.”

Would Watts consider a career in radio?

“I consider it a building block on a career path,” Watts said. “The fundamentals I learn on air – thinking on my feet, being quick and articulate – can be applied to any job.”

The Grade 10 and 11 pupils who work on air went through a selection process that included presenting an outline of their proposed shows.

Those selected attended sessions about radio code of conduct, a code of ethics and the limitations on free speech. “You can’t, for example, go on air and incite hatred against a particular group,” Bi-lodeau said. “But these kids are smart. They know what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Bilodeau also became involved in student radio in high school in his hometown of Quebec City and went on to work in community radio for three years.

He’s been teaching history at Lauren Hill Academy for 18 years and nurturing Lauren Hill Academy radio for 12 of those years.

“We began with second-hand equipment and the intercom system,” Bilodeau said with a laugh.

To check out LHA Radio The Voice (Live365), visit www.emsb.qc.ca/ laurenhill.

One comment

  1. Though they are only launching their live stream this month, Spartan Youth Radio, out of Espanola High School in Espanola, Ontario, has been producing radio and video content for over seven years!

    spartanyouthradio.com

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