Radio team broadcasts student voice through music, message

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Caroline Wilburn

Light from the “On Air” sign shines on a radio mic inside the vocal booth. Radio students record and edit their segments inside the sound-proof room. “It used to be that we would write our show on Monday, record our show on Wednesdays, then produce it on Friday and put it out,” Caden Long said. “but this year it’s mostly just editing and imaging.”

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The fluorescent glow of the “On Air” sign shines through the glass of the black sound-proof vocal booth. The sweet symphony of non-stop 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s classics mixed with today’s top hits can be heard in the background as the radio team prepares the lineup of songs for the day. The Talon Radio has not only become a popular go-to during long drives to work or school for its listeners, but also an opportunity for the students behind the mic to have a voice.

Michael Hatch, Prosper’s broadcast and radio teacher, finds that over the years, radio has kept him engaged in his love for music and broadcast while also helping him to inspire others to create their own voice.

“The teacher that was here before me, he left, and it was just kind of a natural transition for me,” Hatch said. “I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been really fun to kind of go back to my roots.” 

Hatch has worked with all different kinds of students throughout his radio career, ranging from beginners to old-timers.

“I taught radio before this, before PHS, for about 15 years,” Hatch said. “It wasn’t only kids this age, but I had some guys who were in their 60s that wanted to do radio.”

The Talon Radio, the school’s radio station run mostly by students, plays all day for listeners with programmed songs and occasional imaging, which are recordings and advertisements from the Talon students. The Talon Radio has nine students and a library of 1,057 songs to play throughout the day. “Right now, we’re making more imaging,” junior Talon student Riley Miller said. “In the future, we’ll have different positions and work as if we were an actual radio station. But right now, we’re just getting into it.” (Riley Miller)

Apart from Hatch’s mentoring, the entire radio station is run by the students, with each member having a key role in keeping their content clean, professional and enjoyable to all its listeners.

“The process is really just sort of getting students broken in where they understand how radio is put together and how audio works,” Hatch said. “Starting with that, then moving into just the mentality of how radio stations are run.”

Senior Caden Long initially joined the radio team due to his passion for sports radio and commentary, but says he has learned many more life skills along the way, including public speaking.

It gets me more comfortable talking in front of people because at least 50 people are going to listen to whatever you put out,” Long said. “So, it’s going to be a lot easier whenever you get in front of a room full of people doing a presentation.”

Long, a percussionist in band, also uses the radio as a way to share his music taste with the community.

For us, it’s just one more artistic outlet,” Long said, “as far as getting the music we like out there and getting stuff we like to talk about out there.” 

Sophomore band student Natalie Garms takes her passion for music to another level by learning how to edit and produce audio within the class. Garms aspires to go into the music industry and hopes that her radio skills will be an asset for her future career.

“I think in the future I want to become a composer, and I want to write music, so I felt like radio specifically wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do,” Garms said. “But, once I read the description for the class, I thought it would be really relevant to what I wanted to do later.” 

Along with the rest of the radio staff, Garms wants to make connections between the students, administration, and community through the power of lyrics and a beat.

“Our hope is that it’ll be a way for everyone to connect through the music because a lot of the songs we play are pretty popular. Even if you don’t know the title or artist, you’ve probably heard them before.” Garms said. “Just that kind of collective interest in a really common genre of music is something we want to bring the student body together with.” 

To listen to The Talon radio station, you can find all formats here:

The Talon radio station goes on air