Bruce Warren, second from left, of WXPN in Philadelphia talks with WKHS student DJs, from left, Olivia Johnson, Jonah Elburn and John Singleton on air Thursday, Feb. 9 in the Kent County High School studio.
WORTON — Kent County High School's student radio station 90.5 WKHS hosted a trio of special guests in the studio earlier this month.
Kate Brett, Jared Styles and Bruce Warren drove down from WXPN in Philadelphia Thursday, Feb. 9 to visit the high school and speak with the broadcasting students about their careers in radio.
WKHS shares its signal with WXPN. When students and local volunteers are not on the air here, WXPN broadcasts at 90.5 on the FM dial.
"The WXPN programming relationship, in place since 1992, allows the station to be on the air 24/7/365 and brings a valuable programming complement to our existing format," said Chris Singleton, broadcasting teacher and WKHS station manager. "The additional educational component offered by the WXPN staff is an inspiration for the students as they get a glimpse of major market radio operations."
Styles, director of engineering, gave students a virtual tour of WXPN, talking about the station's set up and equipment and his team's job to keep it all working.
"We have five transmitter sites that are hundreds of miles from each other and sometimes from the station itself. We have multiple control rooms and studios," Styles said. "We have to support the entire staff with IT, keeping everybody's computers up and running."
With WXPN being public radio, like WKHS, Brett, the director of development, spoke with students about the importance of fundraising and connecting the community with the station.
"It's hard, but if you like it, it's fun," Brett said of fundraising. "I get to build a bridge between a radio station that I want to keep existing and people who care about it."
WKHS holds biannual membership drives, with students on the air drumming up community support for the station's operations.
"The fundraising portion of the class session really hit home with the students and gave them a new perspective on our yearly membership drives," said Ken Collins, WKHS fund manager. "A substantial amount of all our funding comes from individual members in our local and regional listening community. We truly do build bridges and connect communities through radio excellence."
Warren is the associate general manager for programming at WXPN. Much of his conversation with students focused on music, managing the on-air team and building and maintaining an audience.
"I got my start as a volunteer DJ," Warren told the students. "The first day I was on the air I said, 'I've got to figure out a way to get paid playing records on the radio for people."
The WXPN team gave two presentations Feb. 9, first in the morning to sophomores and juniors and again in the afternoon to juniors and seniors.
Following each classroom presentation, they went on air with students for interviews.
"It was great to hear the fluid and professional exchange of musical insight and perspectives between the WXPN staff members and the WKHS students," Singleton said. "To hear them interact with the professional radio hosts was a rewarding experience for me as their instructor and the listeners alike."
Next month, the high school students are going to pay WXPN a visit in Philadelphia for a field trip that has been a longtime goal. First scheduled in 2020, the trip was postponed due to COVID.
"Now we are all looking forward to our visit coming up later in March with the entire radio class and chaperones," Collins said. "This will be their first real opportunity to see a major market radio station in action and should be a great learning experience for all of us."
Learn more about Kent County High School's radio station at wkhsradio.org
or tune in to 90.5 FM to listen.
Jared Styles, director of engineering at WXPN, guides broadcasting students at Kent County High School on a virtual tour of his radio station in Philadelphia Thursday, Feb. 9.
Staff members at WXPN radio station talk to broadcasting students at Kent County High School Thursday Feb. 9 in the WKHS suite. The broadcasting students here will be taking a field trip to WXPN in Philadelphia next month.
WXPN Director of Development Kate Brett talks to WKHS students at Kent County High School Thursday, Feb. 9 about the important role fundraising plays in public radio.
Director of Development Kate Brett talks to WKHS students at Kent County High School Thursday, Feb. 9 about the important role fundraising plays in public radio.
WXPN Associate General Manager for Programming Bruce Warren speaks to WKHS students at Kent County High School about music, radio and building an audience.