Emerson radio station WERS-FM has joined forces with a group of Boston-area high school girls from the group GRLZ Radio to create a self-titled, one-hour news and entertainment program to launch on sister station ETIN (Emerson Talk and Information Network) this spring.
WERS operations manager Howard Simpson ’94 has worked with the girls since November to develop the program, aimed at teaching broadcast media skills, and is thrilled to see the project so close to completion.
When the GRLZ Radio students began looking for potential mentoring in the Boston area, they contacted Emerson’s noted radio program. “They happened to end up on the radar of some people at the College,” Simpson said, “and we said that there could be some interesting collaboration.”
The program was originally conceived as a high school internship program, but Simpson ultimately decided to create GRLZ Radio—a show that allows the girls to comment on current events. GRLZ Radio existed previously at the St. Mary’s Center in Dorchester with some broadcasting equipment; however, Emerson’s professional radio equipment has provided a new opportunity for the girls to learn even more technical skills.
Though the young women already had some experience in radio personality development—interviewing Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley—Simpson is training them to be equally comfortable with basic radio consoles, from the operational board to microphone and broadcast transmitter functions.
“They had a lot of theory in radio, not so much in hands-on experience,” Simpson explained.
After three months of workshops, the young women have learned how to use the professional media equipment in ETIN’s studio and are well on their way to being fluent in what it takes to run a radio program.
As the girls continue to learn how to present the news and pick up new broadcasting skills, Simpson is hopeful for a quality final product.
“I want them to be exposed to the journalism aspect of the station, and the power of that,” he said. “The final product will be a quirky, entertaining, and enlightening mix of news with a positive spin.”
GRLZ Radio is in its final stages of development and will premiere on ETIN sometime in April.