WYC Radio

WYC Radio publishes radio stories and audio works made by
students at Westbury Youth Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa


Full profile description

First, a full respect for your interest. Second, here below, a briefing on what the WYC Radio Skills Workshop is all about. Third, in the end, a briefing on what the WYC Radio Drama Work, conducted by I Am Awe-Ness Productions, means and produces.

All in all, WYC Radio serves to create, edit, broadcast and share to the world radio reportages, podcasts and audio stories from the Westbury area and from wider Johannesburg. All the publications are made by Westbury Youth Centre radio students.

WYC Radio brings in surviving stories, hopeful stories, dark yet not scandalised stories, views, wisdom, challenges, awareness, laughter, encouragement, non-googlable history, questions, gags, paths of life, art, challenges, legacies, all these in order to inspire people and to bring up the issues the young WYC reporters and audio enthusiasts wish to bring up. Themselves. In high quality audio work. In order to take the public speech of their communities in their own hands. All in all showcasing their abilities, dreams, wisdom, wildness and skills – and reminding the listeners of the rich ways of field work radio production often forgotten in the busy and studio-centered radio world.

Who is doing the Radio Skills Workshop?

The students. From the facilitating perspective WYC Radio Skills Workshop is initiated and established during the period of September 2014 – June 2015; this initiating and establishing phase is conducted by Matias Harju and Kaisa Osola. Matias Harju is a lecturer in music and teacher in sound engineering. Kaisa Osola is a teacher in media, speech communication and speech art. Prior to and after their year in Westbury they both work in Kallio Upper Secondary School in Helsinki, Finland. The start-up year of WYC Radio is dedicated not only for the everyday practices, contacts and publications of the workshop but equally strong for the future funding, structures and sustainability of radio work at Westbury Youth Centre. E.g. the most enthusiastic and committed students are trained to assist the workshop further and thus get a valuable side-job at the Centre.

How is it done? What for?

From the skills perspective the concrete aim of WYC Radio Skills Workshop is that every student learns the technical and expressional skills needed in radio work: the use of high-quality fieldwork equipment and professional editing software hand in hand with brave sound design work and the basics of radio journalism. The basic journalistic skills include core question thinking, well-thought framing of the stories and talk shows, open-minded background research as well as intelligent, brave and responsible interviewing skills. As the studying deepens, the skills of live studio work of leading and presenting a show combined with the managing of radio studio techniques and software come in action.

During the first months of education the primary aim of the Workshop is to concentrate on field work reportages and interviews on the Westbury area and beyond in Johannesburg. The spirit is to produce the students' own journalistic or radio fictional articles and to create a powerful WYC Radio portfolio on SoundCloud. This SoundCloud stream serves both the Youth Centre's and the students' own good: it showcases the work done at the Centre and works as a permanent audio-CV for each individual student. Now, in mid-May 2015, this primary aim of WYC Radio SoundCloud publications is in full action. It's reached and topped every week.

If you started your reading in SoundCloud, this is where it ended and this where it continues. Thanks for keeping up!

The second aim, always by the side of continuous internet publishing, is to broadcast WYC Radio's reportages and interviews as parts of the shows of local community radio stations in Westbury and its neighboring areas. Also this aim is in action: WYC Radio students' top stories and top entire talk shows are broadcasted on a local, renowned community radio station: EldosFM. The students also frequent as live studio guests or telephone interviewees on EldosFM when their stories are aired in order to discuss the topic further and to engage with the audience. It's a fresh clear win-win story. WYC Radio gets time on air and thousands of listeners; EldosFM gets brave new stories, topics and sounds from the field. Negotiations with also other local community radio stations and radio organisations are in the air. The various ways of future cooperation are explored.

As the workshop deepens and proceeds further, the final aim is, always by the side of the internet publishing and the broadcasting cooperation, to get the devoted WYC radio students involved and active in local radio business. Individual students have individual dreams. Some head towards local radio stations. Some want to use their sound skills to enrich their careers on other fields of expertise. Some plan an experimental podcasting career. Some concentrate in sound engineering and the technical side of sound. Hard work pays off.

What's new?

Now, in mid-April 2015, WYC Radio walks on a steady avant-garde path of live studio work. The era of podcasts has reached SA. We're bringing it on! We're giving it a young professional voice and perspective. Three talk shows are already in full permanent action: after Easter holidays "Uncle Couzen's Lounge" heads for its 8th full episode. "Master of Disguise" and "Classroom" follow right behind with their 5th and 3rd episodes. All the talk shows are published on three different platforms. They are narrowcasted loud for a live audience of 15–60 people on the inner yard of Westbury Youth Centre. They are livestreamed at myradiostream.com/wycradio. And in the end they are published as full permanent podcasts on WYC Radio SoundCloud.

WYC Radio's biggest talk show success so far is "Uncle Couzen's Lounge - Episode 4: Proudly Different With a Difference". It's a groundbreaking podcast in many ways. It's a talk show where one of the only openly gay young man in Westbury gets to tell his life story. WYC Radio had 60 live narrowcasting listeners in the WYC inner yard. We had livestreaming listeners e.g. in Finland and Germany, and the 43 minutes SoundCloud track has been listened to 80 times now. EldosFM also broadcasted the whole show. Remarkable little local human rights history happened. Awe, Uncle Couzen and his guests. This is a proud start.

Live narrowcasting listeners of Uncle Couzen's Lounge in the inner yard of Westbury Youth Centre
Live narrowcasting listeners of Uncle Couzen's Lounge in the inner yard of Westbury Youth Centre

All in all, the skills and publications of the podcast side give the advanced students a permanent showcase portfolio of their own talk shows, of their skills of leading and presenting a show as well as of their ability to manage professional quality radio studio techniques. This will in turn help them to go towards broadcasting as a form of publishing, if they wish.

Where do we do this?

In January 2015 WYC Radio got its own special working space in the little South-Eastern wing of Westbury Youth Centre. We cleaned one of the rooms to be Westbury Youth Centre's very own Sound Studio. Yebo, it's true! Another room was cleaned to be the editing and studying room of WYC Radio. The whole space was named WYC Sound Hub. The studio goes by the name of Die Kaas se Stasie. If you want to see what it looks like, welcome: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.800794563340687.1073741943.451775358242611&type=3

The studio entails all the equipment needed for homemade yet very high-quality podcasting work. It is suitable and open also for other kinds of studio sound projects such as students' own music, WYC Radio's radio advert and audio ID workshops as well as WYC Radio Drama. All the studio equipment (mixer, other recording devices, microphones, piles of wires) as well all the fieldwork recording equipment of WYC Radio are gathered as donations from Finnish musicians, radio stations and sound engineering professionals. All the editing of the students audio works are done with free, yet professional quality sound editing software: Studio One Free. The podcasting work is done with free, yet professional quality studio software: Radio DJ and Audacity. The software are chosen based on their professional quality and free accessibility. The gathering of equipment as donations continues.


The workshop entails also deeper sound engineering work (e.g audio ID's, multi-track audio art, musical sound engineering) for those who are interested. In December 2014 we worked through a widely thanked WYC Radio advert workshop of five days. It's the Michael Jackson story published on the 20th of Dec 2014. Give it 33 seconds and enjoy! In mid-April 2015 we finalised four audio ID's for WYC Radio, or, more specifically for the radio stations that broadcast WYC Radio's stories. You'll find them by the tags of #ID. Short sweet trim stuff, yoh! Now in mid-May, we're busy with another radio advert workshop for the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School. Two scripts are waiting for comments of the client.

Recording the WYC Radio ID's at the WYC Sound Hub in Westbury Youth Centre
Recording the WYC Radio ID's at the WYC Sound Hub in Westbury Youth Centre.

In addition, from the perspective of contacts and cooperation, WYC Radio Skills Workshop includes also visits and excursions: radio professionals coming to Westbury Youth Centre and WYC Radio students visiting radio organizations and radio stations. International partners include e.g. various educational institutions in Helsinki, Finland (both upper secondary level and university level) as well as many independent musicians. As an example of the international cooperation, altogether eight hours of WYC Radio's top reportages and talk shows were aired on Kaupunkiradio 107.4 MHZ in Helsinki, Finland, on the 23rd and 28th of April and the 12th of May 2015. The eight hours included also a special live show of 2h15mins produced especially for the Northern listeners: WYC Radio gave them a free pass to Westbury, Johannesburg, South Africa.

First things last: the students

The first and along the year the most advanced Radio Skills Workshop started on Tuesday the 16th of September in 2014. A second group saw its start on the 3rd of November 2014. Both groups had 3h long classes twice a week. Many of the students worked independently e.g. editing their stories for hours outside class schedules. All in all, 21 students studied in the groups of 2014. A group of five of the most devoted students continue their studies in 2015 in the form of constantly deepening skills. They have 3h long classes twice a week. Many of them work independently way much more, practically every single day.

A third group of WYC Radio students took off on the 9th of February 2015. This group consist of five very committed sound men. Also this group has two 3h long classes per week. These guys bring in brave new things in the form of sound and sound art.

So, open your ears. If you like it, tell it to the world! If you don't, tell it to us. We'll make use of all argumented feedback.

Want to learn more about I Am Awe-Ness Productions' radio drama work in Westbury Youth Centre?

Please do, you'll enjoy! Listen to any of the I Am Awe-Ness Productions' drama episodes here on WYC Radio SoundCloud. In the track info text of each episode you will find the whole story of I Am Awe-Ness Productions' new-wave radio drama education at WYC and on the local radio stations.

WYC Radio students thanking SoundCloud for their support

Thank you:

All the recording devices, mixers and microphones used in WYC Radio work both in the Radio Skills Workshop and the Radio Drama are donations from Finnish musicians, radio stations and sound engineering professionals. All the editing of the students works will be done with free, yet professional quality sound editing software: Studio One Free. So, a big hand and a topmost essential thank you to all the donators and the supporters of the entire project: Alfred Kordelinin säätiö, Kone Centennial Foundation, Suomen lasten ja nuorten säätiö, Tiina Luoma, Axel Liljeblad, Hanna-Helena Kinnunen, Supreme Music / Kalle Miettinen, Rapid Production / Tuomas Koskipää, YLE (Laitevarikko) The Finnish Broadcasting Company / Matti Poimula, Olli Moilanen, Petri From, Jari Komulainen, Hanna Mauro, Santtu Salminen, Leena Linhola, Juuso Vantola, Eva Havo.

Alfred Kordelinin säätiö
Kone Centennial FoundationSuomen lasten ja nuorten säätiä - The Finnish Children and Youth Foundation

Photos: Matias Harju