Tongue Point students take their message to the airThe idea for a radio show on Tongue Point Job Corps Center was a streak of inspiration from student Tariku Sahele.
Along with fellow student Neimy Miller, Sahele was on Claudia Harper's Talk of the Town on KMUN one day in July, discussing their plans after Job Corps. Sahele wants to be a doctor, Miller a nurse.
Harper was suitably impressed, and Sahele suggested offhandedly that a show on Tongue Point would be a good idea. Many people don't hear about TPJCC activities, or the success stories of its students.
SOUNDS GOODThe TPJCC program airs on KMUN at 6 p.m. the third Sunday of every month. KMUN broadcasts on 91.9 north to Grayland, east to Longview, Wash., south to Seaside and beyond, and 89.5 in Cannon Beach and Tillamook County.Well, Terry Wilson, KMUN engineer, heard that exchange and latched on. Why not create a TPJCC radio program written and reported by students? He recruited nine students to an initial meeting; five are currently involved with the project.
"Being able to do it for the center, it's revolutionary," said Marcus Seaman, a 20-year-old in the office technology vocation. "It's taking pride in the place you live and learn."
Antoinette Cunningham, a 19-year-old also in the office technology vocation, said trying radio was on a list of 10 goals she had created in high school.
"It's a way for me to write and put my voice out there," she said. "I like writing and entertainment and music."
Michael Kirk, a 25-year-old in the pre-apprenticeship painting vocation, Chris Airey, a 21-year-old in the medical assisting vocation, and Jonathon Coultas, a 22-year-old in the office technology vocation are the other student reporters.
PreparationThe students meet with Wilson twice a week to brainstorm stories and rehearse. At a recent Tuesday meeting, they were feeling the pressure of a looming recording deadline.
One of their interviews, a security officer, was called out to a meeting. Rescheduling him proved impossible.
"That does it, the interview is out," Wilson said. "We can extend Nancy a bit."
His comments were met with laughter. A voice piped up," That shouldn't be hard."
Everyone knew Nancy Pyburn, the center's director, would gladly take the extra time to talk about its programs and students.
Wilson went through other stories on the list: The Monster Bash, a poem on voting, an election update, Make a Difference Day...
"I think we have a show!" he said.
Good news, bad newsThe students generate story ideas each meeting. While they used to canvass the bulletin boards to scrounge up materials, now they have a backlog of leads and are nearly a month ahead. The stories provide news and information, and together create a "Reader's Digest" of Tongue Point.
"It's student-written and student-run," said Sarah Cullison, business and community liaison for the center. "We don't have to spin the stories. They speak for themselves."
A regular feature is good news, bad news, which highlights the number of GEDs and high school diplomas students have received, in addition to listing the number of students who have been terminated from the program.
All the budding radio voices were adamant that the good apples far outweigh the bad.
"I don't want people in the community thinking it's a horrible place," Cunningham said. "Everyone here is involved in getting all they can from the program."
The show is recorded without any editing, which makes the initial reporting and writing key.
Students have slowly been picking up on the tricks of the trade: Double space scripts to avoid pauses, and don't use dates and telephone numbers unless they're repeated - it just confuses listeners.
One day, Wilson hopes to record a program in front of the TPJCC student body.
"It's just really exciting. It might not seem big to other people, but it is to me," Cunningham said. "I never thought I would be able to work on a radio station."