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FCHS students catching the ‘Central Wave’
Austin Hollis, left, and Justin Coplen talk about their experience with Forsyth Central’s broadcasting class. The seniors work on the high school’s new radio station, The Central Wave. - photo by Autumn McBride
At Forsyth Central High School, radio has replaced the video star.With the school no longer doing TV broadcasting announcements, a group of students and their teacher launched an online radio station called The Central Wave.The site went live about two weeks ago and has been grabbing the attention of students and teachers across the school.“We no loner do the announcements anymore on video, so I thought this was a great way of doing this,” teacher Sid Bramblett said. “We’re still doing broadcasting, still doing announcements, but this is something completely new in most schools.”Three students in the broadcasting class and other student volunteers run the station, which plays a variety of music and school announcements at the top of each hour.All the project requires is some sound equipment, computers and access to music.On a recent morning, seniors Austin Hollis and Justin Coplen were at work importing music during class in a room about the size of a tool shed.Since high schools are exempt from typical radio copyright laws, the students are able to import any music they own and anything they get from promotional companies, such as a preview of Sugarland’s latest release.The station plays primarily new and trendy music in pop, country, hip hop and rock, but also plays a eclectic mix from Aaron Carter to Jimmy Buffett.Listeners can also request songs on the site or hit a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” button to let those behind the microphones know what they want to hear.Hollis said he tries to keep the music current, while Coplen said he’s trying to add more rock songs, but is looking for “clean versions” of the music.Since it’s a school station, all the music has been screened or censored to omit anything inappropriate.Bramblett said that has appealed to several teachers, who have begun to play the station as background during class assignments.The broadcasting class meets and records the announcements every day except Wednesday, which is when Jessica Jenkins lends her voice.Though not in the class, Jenkins, a junior, started exploring the idea of a school radio station several months ago with Hollis.A fan of talk radio, she hopes someday to become a disc jockey, either as a career or a hobby.On Wednesdays, she and Hollis hold a talk show from the classroom, writing and talking from a script about weather, current events and what’s new in music.“It’s about the adrenaline of being on air and being live and having everybody be able to hear your voice,” Jenkins said. “It’s kind of like you’re famous.”Listeners can also interact by text message, phone or e-mail during the live show.Hollis, who heads up most of the site’s technical side, is able to see how many computers are listening at any time and a see dot on a map of what city they’re tuned in from.“It was just kind of fun to know that there were people listening to us,” Hollis said.