Splat FM – Whangaparoa School

Kid DJs start with a Splat

SPLAT-OUT: DJ Georgie Williamson, front, with Jordan Pope and Sam Hagen of the station communications team at Splat FM.
© North Harbour News.

Splat FM is a local radio station with a difference.

Like other stations, it plays a selection of modern music, mixed with soundbites and live DJ spots.

But unlike others, none of its crew have graduated from primary school.

“We feel like it’s our station,” says Sam Hagen, 10, a member of the station’s communications team.

“It’s cool to hear it on air. We’re going to do more and more with Splat FM.”

The station has been on air on 107.7 FM, with twice-weekly lunchtime DJ spots and 24-hour music since May 1.

It is the result of weeks of work by a team of about 14 year 5 and 6 students at Whangaparaoa School.

With the help of teacher Rody O’Reilly, the students set up the station in a space behind a classroom using old recording gear, a computer and a six-metre broadcasting aerial.

Each student has a role, from sound engineer to soundbite recorder.

Playlists are compiled from songs picked from CDs the pupils bring to school and put on the computer.

Starting at the station was a nervous experience for on-air DJ Georgie Williamson, 9.

She wasn’t sure she would be able to DJ, but says it has been great how everyone has adjusted to running a radio station.

“When you’re being the DJ, you’re really nervous. I didn’t think we would really know how to do it.

“At the start I had to read off a sheet, but now I don’t even need it.”

The only real setbacks for Splat FM so far have been the computer crashes that have taken the station off air.

Early competitions asking fellow pupils for a name and logo have been popular, with about 30 entries resulting in the station’s unconventional moniker.

Mr O’Reilly says he wants to keep using the station as a teaching tool.

That means eventually getting the team reading stories and news on air, and even writing their own radio skits and plays.

“It’s like a school drama production,” he says.

“The kids are learning so much without even realising it.”

He says having so many people doing different jobs is important for the pupils.

“The kids can see there’s more to life than just being a teacher, policeman or postman. There’s all sorts of creative roles for them out there.”

© North Harbour News, May 19 2007.

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