A class at Norwood High School is launching a new radio show on KOTO, 105.3 FM, in Norwood. The show, called “Lunch Break,” will air on Fridays at 12:06 p.m. until 1 p.m. beginning Jan. 18
The show will be produced by Ken Lawrence’s videography class, and he said each student will produce their own segment as part of the show. Students will discuss music, regional news, sports and other Norwood-centered events.
Lawrence — who also has his own segment, called “Old Days,” in which he talks about music from his generation — said the show resulted because of a collaboration between the school, KOTO, the Just For Kids Foundation and Telluride Foundation.
Already, Lawrence’s class produces Mavs News, a weekly video show for the school. Last year, Geoff Hanson of KOTO toured Norwood’s studio. Then, Hanson was working on better radio reception throughout Norwood. Hanson and Lawrence met to discuss placing a radio translator on the school’s roof. Then, they discussed the possibility of Norwood students having their own show.
“He and I kicked around the idea of producing a student radio program,” Lawrence said. “I told him that I had been wanting to convert one of our rooms into a sound recording studio since I started Mavs News, but it’s been a lower priority due to lack of funding.”
At the time, Hanson offered the Norwood kids air time on KOTO for their program along with weekly support from Cara Pallone, KOTO’s news director.
To help cover the costs of radio equipment, Lawrence applied for a grant from the Just for Kids Foundation and another from the Telluride Foundation and later the production class was awarded $2,300 and $1,000, respectively.
“I also reallocated some of my videography class and tech budgets to make up the rest of the funding we need,” Lawrence said.
Now, Pallone, who lives in Norwood, is working with Lawrence and the high school kids to develop what she describes as their "variety show."
Additionally, she is also holding office hours on Thursdays at the school, so that Norwood community members can record personal commentaries without having to drive to Telluride. Those commentaries will run on KOTO radio.
She said commentaries can be up to three minutes in length and are an opportunity for people to express opinions, and offer more information about upcoming events, fundraisers, new programs and more. Anyone interested in scheduling a time to record a commentary should email Pallone at email@example.com.
She said the high school studio is a bonus for the area.
"The new studio gives West End residents easier access to the airwaves," Pallone said. "KOTO prides itself on being inclusive, so it's great that we're able to extend the mic to residents across our listening area."
Emily Phillips, a high school junior in Norwood, said she and the other students are getting the hang of radio.
“It's good because each one of us students in the class gets to express ourselves,” she said. “If there is nothing specific to talk about, we can talk about what we want: our music, just topics that are important to us, whatever is going on currently, or whatever it is we would like to discuss.”