Thanks to the financial support of the Government of Quebec, a network of 15 webradios is in the process of being created in secondary schools in Quebec. This new project, announced in the Youth Action Plan launched last June, allows the Radio jeunesse organization to expand.
For twenty years, the Radio Jeunesse organization operates a radio made by and for children on the AM band in the Gatineau region. It is the only radio station of its type officially licensed by the CRTC, the federal agency that regulates radio activities.
But now the organization can now set out to conquer Quebec and the Web through a new student radio project. “We got the funding to develop the project over three years. This will allow us to deploy a real network of student webradios across Quebec and to mobilize many young people, ”says the producer and initiator of the project, Nathalie Bernard.
After responding to a call for applications, five Quebec high schools were chosen to start the first year of the project. Five new schools will be added next year and five more the following year. Each will receive all the equipment needed to set up a web radio station. Training will also be offered both in the use of technical equipment and in the basics of radio production (interview techniques, musical entertainment, program production, etc.). Communications professionals will also visit schools to act as mentors.
The project could be experienced differently from one school to another. Sometimes it will be as part of a class, other times it could be as an extracurricular activity. About twenty students should be affected in each school. “In any case, I want these young people to have a concrete experience that will allow them to develop new skills, to learn about jobs in the communications sector. In their community, they will be considered as real reporters. They will have their press card to be able to attend events, such as press conferences, sports matches, or other, in their community, ”argues Ms. Bernard.
At the end of the school year, a gathering of all participating students can be organized to highlight the commitment of young people and reward those who have produced the best reports.
A media education opportunity
At the Vallée-des-Lacs high school, located in the small municipality of Squatec in Bas-St-Laurent, Kate Monosiet and Jérôme Thériault, two science teachers, decided to dive into the adventure. Students from Secondary 1 to Secondary 5, enrolled in a program specializing in culture (performing art and vocal technique), will be able to learn about radio production.
“It's a very stimulating project for the whole team, even if everything is new. We do it for the students. As we are far from the major centers, this is an incredible opportunity for them to open up to a new universe and to discover the world of communications, ”says Kate. As part of the program, students will produce approximately 160 hours of recordings over the next school year.
When we spoke to him, the material had barely been delivered to the school. The team was waiting for the Internet to be connected to make everything work, as well as for the first introductory workshop. The excitement could be heard in the teacher's voice. We promised to talk to each other again towards the end of the school year to see where this project has taken its students.