of Radio at Brooklyn Tech
$10,000 grant from Mary Smart of the Smart Foundation will be
used towards the construction of a sound studio at Brooklyn Technical
High School, where WNYE-FM was born in 1938.
James McAndrew and Cecile H. Suffern, then English teachers at
Brooklyn Tech, created WNYE-FM, which has served as the official
radio station of the New York City Board of Education. Brooklyn
Tech was home to WNYE-FM until the 1970s, when the station was
moved to a building on nearby Tillary Street. The grant was awarded
to Dr. Sylvia Weinberger, a Brooklyn Tech English teacher, to
be used towards the development of a radio recording studio for
the school. Dr. Weinberger plans to hire engineers to study the
area, design a studio, and estimate its cost.
actually build it, we will need three times as much money,” she
said. She hopes to attract the attention of other foundations
in order to realize that goal. In the meantime, she will
purchase state-of-the-art tape recorders and organize workshops
on the use of radio in the classroom, in all subject areas.
look forward to exciting and creative
segments from Tech students,” said Terence O’Driscoll, WNYE’s
station manager. In fact, several collaborative projects were
in the planning stages until the September 11 attacks in which
WNYC’s tower and facilities were put out of action. For weeks,
WNYC’s programs were broadcast on WNYE’s frequency. A few continue
to do so.
Work on these projects can resume only
when full use of its air waves returns to WNYE. For example, short
segments on which Brooklyn Tech freshmen speak about the
transition from junior high to high school could be broadcast
between regular programming.
Brooklyn Tech already offers many technology classes in which
students learn about different forms of communication, including
radio. But, the growing relationship with WNYE might lead to enriching
hands-on experiences. “The kids could work as interns with engineers
at WNYE,” Dr. Weinberger suggested. “We would record excellent-quality
tapes which would then air on WNYE. And the tapes could be put
online so [everyone] can listen to them.”
Cecile Suffern, who worked at WNYE-FM as a writer, producer, and
director, says, “In those days, we were enthusiastic newcomers.
We had science programs. We had a workshop that met to do dramatic
programs. We did
anything it was possible for us to do on public radio.” How to
match the interest of that
generation? “It would become a radio club,” said Dr. Weinberger.
To motivate students to participate, she would organize contests.
Recently, Dr. Weinberger took six groups of students over to Tillary
Street, where they
performed radio scripts they had written for the Big Apple Short-Radio-Drama
Festival that will air on WNYE in the spring.
When asked if the new studio will occupy the same space as the
original one did, on the 8th floor of the school, Dr. Weinberger
said, “I hope so.” It would be a revival of a tradition of radio
at Brooklyn Tech.#
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