My fourth co-op experience has been at WYSO Public Radio Station, which is an NPR-affiliated local radio station located in Yellow Springs. They broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 50,000 watts of power and they reach twelve counties in Southwest Ohio with a potential audience of more than one million people. According to their website, the mission of WYSO is “to give voice to our community, our nation, and our world with independent news, music, and storytelling.” Their mission is based on their belief in education, collaboration, editorial independence, and diversity. I started working at WYSO at the beginning of the year in January during my academic quarters and now am working full time for the remainder of my summer co-op.
My time at WYSO has been a fun and hands-on experience. I have been able to acquaint myself with the programs used for radio and have strengthened my ability to communicate. The work I have done has mainly been editing and co-hosting podcasts, as well as conducting interviews. The Antioch College reunion was during my first week of co-op and I was able to interview seven accomplished alumni all in one day. The experience was fantastic, and I was able to hear about and speak on many dynamic topics. I held my first interview with an alumnus who spent most of their young years as a freight train traveler and ended up taking environmental science at Antioch, which sparked their interest in solar energy and resulted in them installing solar panels in Antarctica. My second interview was with a D.C. alumnus who works for NASA and we had an extensive conversation about physics, quantum theory, and the universe. Then, I spoke with one of the winners of the Winning Victories for Humanity grant about how her organization in Washington helps the visitation process of children in the foster care system be more hopeful and less traumatic. I can definitely say I grew and learned a lot from those interviews.
The very next week, WYSO hosted a Dayton Youth Radio Camp where kids and teenagers from the Dayton, Ohio area were able to come in for a week and learn about radio, including how to do field-recording, interviewing, scriptwriting, and digital audio editing in order to collaborate and produce audio stories about our local community. I was able to assist them in their learning, alongside impressive radio professionals, Basim Blunt (the project coordinator for Dayton Youth Radio) and Katie Davis (who is known for her radio work on NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life). It was very rewarding, and I was very proud to be able to be a part of helping to cater to our future generation’s interest in working in radio and helping them leave feeling proud and confident in their abilities.
During this co-op, I have been able to delve into more complex radio stories than I did in the past. I am currently working on a podcast about a dementia-friendly Yellow Springs initiative that intends to help our community become more accessible for those with cognitive disorders. This podcast is important to me as the largest age population in Yellow Springs is seniors. I conducted interviews with the executive directors of the Greene County Council on Aging, the Yellow Springs Senior Center, and the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce—all of whom were named Karen. Being able to do this type of story has shown me that there is a way I can intersect my interests in local social justice with my interests in media and radio.
I am currently a fourth-year student at Antioch College who is majoring in political economics, and this co-op expanded my ideas on how I can use my skills in communications and media as a way to assist local organizations and help the communities I am apart of. Specifically, I have found radio work to be very inspiring as it is a free and accessible way that we spread education and information, and I am very thankful for this experience.
Photo credit: https://www.wyso.org/