Saturday Gentle Brigade empowers teenagers to take the airwaves
Each Saturday morning since 1978, you may flip the radio dial to 88.3 FM and hearken to the Saturday Gentle Brigade, a kid-friendly broadcast centered round highlighting youth voices from the Pittsburgh space. Now, SLB needs to assist prepare the following era of podcasters, audio editors, and NPR hosts.
Open Studio on the Youth Media Middle was launched by SLB as a free after-school program for youngsters in grades 6 to 12. Its purpose is to supply the expertise and house for teenagers to study all steps of making a podcast, from recording to modifying to publishing.
Tucked away within the decrease stage of the Kids’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the newly renovated SLB Youth Media Middle house options microphones, recording cubicles, keyboards, computer systems, and extra. Open Studio, which operates from Monday to Thursday and on Saturday, is a drop-in program, so no sign-up is required to go to (although, if it’s your first time visiting Open Studio, SLB asks that you just fill out an on-line type previous to attending).
Open Studio is designed to be a relaxed program the place children can really feel comfy, and even use it as a time to do homework or play a board recreation after a protracted faculty day.
Larry Berger, the creator and host of SLB’s dwell present, says children are inspired to tinker with the audio gear and create one thing that they’re happy with.
“Whenever you get right down to it, [radio] all begins with phrases and language. It actually offers you an opportunity to sharpen that,” Berger says. “You’ve unbelievable management — there’s quite a lot of payoff in studying to create and edit audio accurately.”
The times of moveable radios and hearth chats could also be lengthy gone, however, to Berger, the thought of audio as a conduit for self-expression stays very a lot alive. Berger says that, when he spoke with college students at a Woodland Hills Excessive College profession day about radio as a medium, he was completely happy to listen to them reward its “old-school” qualities.
“I’m at all times involved I’d hear deficits: ‘There isn’t a video, there may be nothing to look at, it limits your creativity since you solely have half of what’s there,’” Berger says. “However on the contrary, I heard issues like, ‘You generally is a little extra nameless, you don’t should be seen, and everybody listening creates their very own picture and film, so it finally ends up being a extra intimate type of engagement.’”
Taking away the visible factor may help take away a stage of self-consciousness, which is useful when broaching private subjects. Just lately, 4 high-school ladies learn their poetry dwell on air as part of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Ralph Munn Artistic Writing Competitors. Their poems handled points equivalent to physique picture and poisonous relationships.
“Audio eliminates bias you may need,” Berger says. “How an individual is dressed, what form their physique is, what their race is, what sort of clothes they’re carrying. And teenagers, they actually get that.”
Two 17-year-old ladies created an audio documentary at SLB’s studio in 2015 that handled the difficulty of the “school-to-prison pipeline” because it pertains to Black ladies. The piece ended up being so profitable that it was picked up by a station and broadcast nationally.
Berger says that collaboration in a crew setting is vital to SLB’s mission. Its web site describes radio as a “large equalizer,” a medium that may remove bias and provides children the arrogance to work collectively.
“After we’re working with groups, it’s all about growing confidence, studying to work as a crew, sharpening expertise and speaking, studying how one can meet deadlines,” Berger says.
On the Saturday morning that Pittsburgh Metropolis Paper visited SLB’s Open Studio, a toddler and his father got here from the museum upstairs and poked their heads into the room. Quickly, the toddler waddled into the recording studio, intrigued by the brilliant crimson foam microphone covers. It took some affected person question-repeating and microphone changes, however earlier than lengthy, Berger had a brief recording of the kid saying his favourite meals (spaghetti) and animal (elephant).
Taking this sort of hands-off, “try-it” method with children at Open Studio is commonly one of the simplest ways to show them, Berger confused. Hovering over somebody (Berger calls this being a “mousegrabber”) robs them of an “aha” second, he says.
“Sit in your palms if it’s important to,” Berger says. “I imply, we’re not gonna make issues tough, however particularly with expertise, folks have to attempt issues and would possibly have to ‘fail.’ We don’t wish to eclipse folks’s self-discovery. We are able to’t.”
Along with actions in its studio, SLB typically visits native colleges and runs applications instructing children about audio. Chad Inexperienced, SLB’s supervisor of productions and distribution, says that Open Studio’s drop-in format permits college students whose curiosity may need been piqued at a faculty program to simply mess around with gear.
“If a teen that we’ve labored with in a faculty actually enjoys what we talked about, they’re greater than welcome to come back to our house on their very own time to proceed constructing the talents or pursuits that we launched them to,” Inexperienced says.
Microphones and enter ranges is probably not everybody’s thought of an after-school program, however Berger hopes that Open Studio generally is a place for youngsters to type unlikely connections with their friends and really feel comfy sufficient to experiment, particularly for individuals who don’t have the privilege of a soothing dwelling life.
“Children don’t have many secure areas to speak to folks they’ve by no means met. Children are discouraged from doing that,” says Berger. “The thought is to create a showcase house to show folks how all this works.”
Open Studio on the Youth Media Middle. Kids’s Museum of Pittsburgh. 10 Kids’s Method. North Aspect. slbradio.org/openstudio