Going live: Students learn ins, outs of radio broadcasting

HARLINGEN — They’re learning to make their voices heard.

Students in Mary Garcia’s broadcasting class listened attentively as she explained the steps necessary for creating and editing quick spots on the radio.

“We’re going to do a drop,” said Garcia to a class of sixth graders at Memorial Middle School.

“Do you know what a drop is?” she asked. “A drop is what you hear on the radio between songs. It’s transition. You may have the name of the radio station.”

Garcia, a radio personality on Q94.5, is now sharing her years of experience in radio broadcasting. She has one class of sixth graders and two classes with seventh and eighth graders. The class is only a half semester long, so the current one began this week.

She flipped a switch and a loud “drop” rushed from a speaker, clips of different songs strung together before a high-octane voice declared, “Memorial Raiders Radio.”

The young broadcasters seemed suddenly energized by the quick radio segment.

“You have to put this together,” Garcia said. “Look back at the screen.”

While it was only the first day, Brandon Velarde, 12, already was enjoying it.

“I want to start learning how to stand up in front of people and not be scared to talk,” he said. “I thought it would make me more sociable than I am right now.”

Garcia said the students were starting off fresh, learning the basics. One of those is selecting a subject to write a podcast.

That subject can be anything, she said. It can be about video games, basketball, or almost anything else they’re interested in. They must then research the subject thoroughly in order to write a factual podcast.

“Research is something you need in high school and in college,” she said.

She also teaches them how to speak well.

“We work on articulation, how to speak properly,” she said.

She sometimes demonstrates by using her radio voice.

“They freak out because they say I have a famous voice,” she said with a laugh.

They were now finding their own voices while learning a whole new terminology such as “FX” for sound affects and “podcast” for radio shows. Garcia frequently approached a screen with the jagged edges of sound tracks.

“In order to get audio, you are going to insert,” Garcia said. “What is the S? Scissors. That’s what you use when you want to cut something. If you want to throw something away, the delete button throws it in the trash.”

They now went to the computers.

“Go ahead and log-on,” she said. “As soon as you log-on, look at Reaper. It’s an editing program.”

Mikayla Villarreall, 11, was enjoying the first day.

“We are going to use the computer and all the sound effects,” she said.