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Kids rule the radio

Matt TerrellVail CO, Colorado
NWS ECCA Radio Free PU 5-18-07
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MINTURN – The show begins with a head-bang and a stiff double shot of AC/DC.DJ Jake the Rake and DJ Energizer Bunny are spinning the tunes on 107.9 FM, Radio Free Minturn. They play a little “Thunderstruck” and some “Highway to Hell.” Then they shift gears to Metallica and blow our minds with “Fade to Black” and “One.” Oh, yes.Meanwhile, the first-time guest DJs, actually eighth-graders Jake Bishop and David Shearon from Eagle Valley Charter Academy, discuss the Metallica documentary “Some Kind of Monster” with Leo Spaziani, the program director at Radio Free Minturn. Apparently, Metallica is quite the implosive group, enough to need group therapy sessions while making their last album. “Some people don’t want to change,” Shearon says.

Spaziani shows them some more knobs and dials and teaches them how to do a promo spot for the “Smokin with BBQ Brad” show. Live and on the air, Shearon glides through the strange word “yall’ternative” like a pro.Jake the Rake and Energizer Bunny play an interview they did with Brian Baker, the freestyle director for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. They finish their show with more AC/DC, rock ‘n’ roll trivia, Def Leppard and Pink Floyd.Next up, DJ Fellin and DJ Nellin will pummel the Vail Valley with “Cowboys from Hell” and “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera. Students truly ruled the air waves Friday on Radio Free Minturn.How to be a DJ

Michelle Fisher, a teacher at the charter academy, grins at the heavy metal booming from the radio. For the past five Fridays, her students have been writing and producing their own radio shows.”We’re trying to get them into the community, show them things the classroom can’t offer,” Fisher said.Students received mentoring from Alex Markels, the founder of Radio Free Minturn and a National Public Radio correspondent; Paul Sanders, who works at a community radio in Estes Park; and Austin Richardson, the web editor at the Vail Daily.They learned the fundamentals of broadcast journalism and were taught how to ask open-ended questions and keep their subjects talking. They spent hours putting together news reports, interviewing their subjects and editing their bloated interviews into five-minute nuggets perfect for a radio spot.

And of course, they picked their music.Seventh-graders Leala King, Sammy Miletich and Juliette Martinez did a piece about their experience spending a day at Battle Mountain High School. They followed around a couple of students, sat in on high-level biology and calculus classes and helped sell prom tickets.”You have a lot more freedom,” King said. “It felt so much bigger there – here (at the charter academy), you pretty much know everyone.”Their music: a mix of reggae, Fergie and some “Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go,” by George Michael.

=====================================================For more information about Radio Free Minturn, show schedule and DJ application, visit http://www.minturnradio.org.=====================================================Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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