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Buffalo students learning RadioARTS

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some Buffalo Public school students are learning how to produce their own radio music show and interview guests.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley visited the RadioARTS program at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts where students were attending a summer camp program.

Jackie Albarella is creator of  RadioARTS. She is the owner of Albrarella Media--- a multimedia production and consulting firm in Buffalo.

"So this is open to any student in the Buffalo Public School grades 5 through 12 and it's free," said Albarella.

Realizing there was no other type of program in the city school district Albarella joined forces with District's Art Education Department, led by Michele Agosto, who serves as Supervisor of Curriculum in Art Education.

"I came up with an idea for children who enjoy the arts, but who maybe thought they weren't talented enough or just weren't confident enough in their skills, but they wanted to talk and share things they loved about the arts, so we came up with this idea of RadioARTs," said Agosto. "We call it the little NPR of the art world in our district."   

RadioARTS is now in its third year in the city school district and is offered throughout the school year and a summer camp program. The program is funded by the New York State Council of the Arts.

Albarella said they wanted to keep the program art focused to allow students exposure to all the culture in  our community. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo school students participating in RadioARTS.

"The students who are involved, they  interview artists, but then they also interview people in their own homes and in their own communities to talk about issues of art, so they might talk to their grandma and say grandma there is this statue down the road from use, do you know anything about that? Or what art do you like?," said Albarella. "We really have a broad reach." 

Through the program, students are able to learn new  computer technology skills, conducting their work in a learning lab at the Performing Arts school on Apple computers. They use a digital recording program called "Garage Band".  They're required to conduct research to learn about who they will be interviewing. They also write, edit and mix sound. 

The students are learning how to deejay. Jacob Workman will be a 6th grader at City Honors this fall.  He's learning how to anchor on the radio. "I like to meet new people and I like to inform people about things, and I just think all of that is very cool," said Workman.
One of the older students in the program, high schooler Armani Works attends Performing Arts high to learn about music, but this summer RadioARTS is bringing him a new skill -- researching for interviews.

"You want to know that person. You want to ask them the right questions," said Works. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo school students participating in RadioARTS.

"It sort of gives you the opportunity to like mix different kind of sounds," said Morgan Thompson. She will be starting at City Honors in 5th grade this fall. "My track -- it sounds so mixed up." 

"I would love. I envision this so much bigger than what it is," said Agosto.  Agosto said biggest challenge is trying to figure out how they can bring more students to this free program. "Our biggest issue is transportation, so if a parent can't find a way to get here, we just don't have access to dollars when it comes to funding a bus," Agosto stated. 
Other students like Malcolm Orrange, who will be a 7th grader at City Honors this fall, said he's learning how to blend voice with his own mix music. "It's mostly strings, some piano, some drums, but I just used a few more exotic strings. It's like the same beat and it's really good,' said Orrange.  

"Hi, this is Emily Smith here for your news today," said Emily Smith in describing how her radio show would sound.  She will be heading into 6th grade at Performing Arts this fall.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo student Emily Smith interviews WBFO's Eileen Buckley about working in radio. Other students sit and listen.

Smith displayed her creative music programming. "I don't want to be dull. I want to give them a feeling that oh this is kind of chill radio and not some radio that you would be talking about on the street saying 'wow that's pretty boring' -- you want a fun, energetic radio," said Smith.

Smith was very prepared  to conduct her interview. "So what are the pros and cons of being a reporter on the radio?," asked Smith WBFO's Eileen Buckley. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
WBFO was among the guests students interview during their RadioARTS program.

Students invited other members of the community for their radio interviews.  You can listen to all the students work is up loaded to their on-line RadioARTs website.