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Appointment Tuning For The Youth of Wood Buffalo

Steph Seidel
BY Steph Seidel
(1 Vote)

Connect Youth Spotlight is a new show taking over 91.1 The Bridge’s airwaves every Monday morning at 10:30.  The show is multifaceted, in that the aim is to connect the youth of Wood Buffalo with serving agencies and programs available to them, to give young people the opportunity to learn about filming, broadcasting, and podcasting, and to engage teens and adults in informative and meaningful conversations. 

A bit of history - in 2011 we started a partnership with the Fort McMurray Public School District and moved into the Composite High School. Over the years we have run an after-school performing arts program and invited digital media students into the station to learn. This has given 91.1 The Bridge the opportunity to ignite a passion in students, for broadcasting on radio airwaves, telling the truth in media, and developing creativity in sound.  We’re so thankful and excited to continue that partnership with engaging students in our Connect Youth Spotlight. 

This show is a collaboration of many different organizations in Fort McMurray. We were blessed to receive a Red Cross grant to help with funding, and the RMWB, King’s Kids Promotions, the Justin Slade Youth Foundation, Legacy Counseling, Shaw TV, the FMPSD, Y Connect Youth Agencies Committee and a host of other youth outreach programs have come along side 91.1 The Bridge to make it happen.

Each week, in preparation for the show, we meet with a different agency and discuss our next topic. We pose questions and contact the experts for their advice.  We also take a recording device to the public and ask the opinions of youth outside of the studio.  We want to know their thoughts, and we include them in our episode. 

The show is a roundtable format, with a host, experts, and young people being given a mic and a safe space to discuss the real, tough, pressing, and fresh topics the youth of Wood Buffalo are facing.  Questions are asked and each person around the table is given the opportunity to participate and state their feelings.  Connect Youth Spotlight is also very informative, lets listeners know where they can go to get the help they need and makes them aware of upcoming, youth-focused events.

The many different layers of the show are in place in hopes of reaching as many people as we can in practical ways.  One thing 91.1 The Bridge is passionate about is engaging youth face-to-face. Connect Youth Spotlight allows us to invite three youth every week to film the show from different angles, edit, and produce the show with guidance from the helpful workers at Shaw TV.  We are also diligent in getting feedback from students about our topics, and have started recording on location, in front of a live youth-filled audience, at the Dugout of the Justin Slade Youth Foundation and in the Composite High School. Having a live audience facilitates excellent student discussion around the topics once the taping of the show is completed.  Each week also includes different young people sitting around our discussion table and weighing in with the experts.  After the taping of the show, we invite the students to come back to the 91.1 The Bridge studios to learn to edit the audio and turn the recording into a podcast. 

We believe this is an extremely important show because while social media is making people less social and isolating them we are doing our best to draw them out of their screens, to talk about issues that matter, to hear about agencies that exist to help them, and to inform them about upcoming events.

The radio show is like a lighthouse, similar to radio programs of the past, in that they pull people together. The project is designed to go to where the people are.  A designated outreach worker ensures the residents of Fort McMurray are engaged at a higher level and given a voice to express themselves and ask questions. We research these questions and get answers to air on subsequent shows. We’re engaging people where they’re at – places like grocery stores, block parties, schools and other gathering places in order to listen to them and surface their needs. Then we provide information relating to services in their respective demographics or psychographic category.

We hope you’ll tune in Monday mornings at 10:30 to hear the Connect Youth Spotlight, and on the other weekday morning at 10:30 to hear our thought-provoking, demographic specific programming including Impact with Russell Thomas – a leadership spotlight, Old Enough to Know Better Seniors Spotlight, Diverse Voices Multicultural Spotlight and Community Profile Spotlight.  We also invite you to stop by any Youth Serving Agency in Wood Buffalo or at 91.1 The Bridge studios in the Composite High-School to pick up an air freshener to display and show your support.