Avondale High School Radio Station Receives Grant from Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association

The Avondale High School radio station, WAHS, at 2400 watts, is the strongest high school radio station signal in the State of Michigan and has the potential to reach one million listeners. Having recently celebrated 40 years on the air, the student-run station is looking forward to expanding programming thanks to a grant from Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association (DSBA) and new partnerships with Student Broadcast Foundation and Oakland University. “We are very thankful to the Detroit Sports Broadcasting Association, “ said Kimberly McKnee who is the broadcast class teacher overseeing the program. “The opportunities WAHS offers students are authentic and amazing. Making this connection with DSBA goes beyond the grant. Students are being mentored by professionals at our games and in our studio,” she added.

WAHS students with Fox Sports Broadcaster and DSBA President, Trevor Thompson

WAHS students with Fox Sports Broadcaster and DSBA President, Trevor Thompson

McKnee and several broadcast class students were on hand to receive the award check from Fox Sports Broadcaster and DSBA President, Trevor Thompson who shared his professional journey and spoke with the students about the importance of persevering in the world of sports broadcasting. The students also heard from Neal Ruhl, Director of Broadcasting and Social Media for Oakland University Athletics, who spoke to the students about the importance of building relationships in the close-knit community of media broadcasting, giving insight about local personalities eager to help up-and-coming talent. Ruhl, is working with McKnee as a mentor for the Avondale High School Sports Broadcasting Club. The club is designed to engage students who may not have time in their school schedule to take the broadcasting class but still have interest in sports broadcasting, writing, providing re-caps, and working with statistics. The goal of the club is to mentor student to learn all aspects of sports broadcasting and journalism and to provide the play-by-play and pre- and post-game shows heard live on air and on line at WAHS-Sports.com.

Collaborating on the club’s development and launch is Thomas Lengyel who heads the Student Broadcast Foundation (SBF), an organization created to provide student with opportunity to start a career in sports information and broadcasting, while promoting their school team. Lengyel visited WAHS this summer and continues to mentor and support the growth of the station. “Thom has been amazing,” said McKnee. “He brings experience, his knowledge and talent, and most importantly, his passion for students to succeed and become independent. He has brought many professionals to the station to not only meet the student but to work alongside of them in the studio and the press box. Thom is the reason WAHS is now providing live remote coverage of our Varsity football games,” she added.

McKnee’s own passion is evidenced in her students’ level of engagement. In a recent interview, junior Mitchell Payne talked about his experience being part of WAHS. He shared his excitement for the new equipment the grant will provide and the industry connections the class has made through DSBA and SBF. Payne hosts some shows but prefers the technical aspect of radio production. He and his classmates are excited to continue to develop new programming. “Everyone has so many ideas – they’re excited about the changes – WAHS is going through a rebirth and it’s going to be great,” he said.

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