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High school in Longview produces radio shows for East Texas

Victoria Reese

High school students in Longview are making air.

Pine Tree High School students are producing a weekly, hour-long radio program that’s been broadcast since September on several radio stations in East Texas. The project is called Bluebeard Radio. They pair music from a specific era with student essays that delve into events from that time period, according to Pine Tree High School audio visual instructor Allen Morris.

“They think they’re making a fun radio show and their friends get to listen to it and they get to listen to it. But, what they’re really doing is they’re all working together to write things, research things, edit things, edit other people’s work, meet deadlines, collaborate, learn new technologies, and push the envelope on some things,” Morris said.

Pine Tree students have penned hundreds of essays on a variety of themes. A recent show featured essays on the Slinky and Silly Putty, paired with music from the 1940s, according to Morris.

Sophomore Joel Ramirez is one of about a dozen students who works in and out of class on the production. He recently produced his own show about the Beatles.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together and learn to work as a team, instead of everyone being independent. They can call for help and see if anyone else has ideas on what they can do to make any project they are doing better,” Ramirez said.

Morris says students have begun to get fan mail, and he’s working out the legal issues with copyrighted music so that the show can be picked up beyond East Texas.

The prerecorded show is aired Sundays at 7 p.m. on 100.3 KZQX in Longview, 97.9 FM in Tyler, and 1400 AM in Jacksonville.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.