LONDONDERRY —They position themselves in front of the microphone in a tiny studio and the broadcast begins.
Students enrolled in Londonderry High School’s radio class are making waves — airwaves, that is, as they learn the ropes of radio broadcasting, spreading high school news, special events and music.
The high school’s low-power FM radio station, WLLO-LP, is located at 102.9 and is also known as LEO 103, Londonderry Educational Outreach 103.
The low-power station signed on the air for the first time in March 2004, authorized by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast with 100 watts of power. The antenna/transmitter is located at North Elementary School.
High school teacher Karen Robinson leads the radio class, as well as a radio club, teaching students all about broadcasting, technology and programming.
“I teach them how to read, how to edit and put things together,” Robinson said.
Most programming is pre-recorded, but students will broadcast live from special events like the annual Old Home Day celebration in August.
The radio station also came in handy during the ice storm in 2008 when notices ran continuously on the air to give residents weather and safety updates.
Students can create their own shows using music, sports or other topics as a theme. Students also create public service announcements to air to preview upcoming community events.
Some of Robinson’s students got interested in radio during an elementary enrichment program years ago. Connor Battles was in fifth grade when he caught the radio bug.
“We got to use the microphone and that was enough for me to be interested,” the sophomore said.
His brother Declan took the same fifth-grade enrichment class and joins his brother in Robinson’s high school class.
Sophomore Cindy Miller also caught radio fever early on.
“I hope to continue television or radio production outside of high school,” she said.