KJZZ September 2011 - SPOT 127

September 23, 2011


KJZZ ENews Sept. 2011

There’s No Place Like SPOT
Spot 127 Newsroom renderingWhat do KJZZ, Rio Salado College, Phoenix Union High School, The Carstens Family Fund, Friends of Public Radio Arizona, FITCH and Valley youth have in common?  It’s called SPOT—that’s Internet code for “home” and the name of KJZZ’s new youth media center.  It’s an after-school program designed to train and mentor the next generation of public broadcasters.

A bit of back-story is in order.

2010 South Mountain Teen Radio ReportersIn the fall of 2007, Deborah Carstens, a long-time listener and member of KJZZ provided a grant through the Carstens Family Fund to help launch an experimental pilot program called Teen Radio. The idea behind the pilot was to determine whether teens would be interested in learning the public broadcasting and journalism trade.

The project was well-received and has become a recurring program at South Mountain High School with the help of Ann Miles in the school’s communications department.

2011 South Mountain Teen Radio ReportersFast forward to 2009, when Dr. Jim Paluzzi joined KJZZ as the new General Manager. “I really believe in the program,” said Paluzzi.  “There's just one problem.  It needs to serve more students.” 

Paluzzi thought KJZZ should model its program after Oakland, California’s highly successful Youth Radio. The KJZZ executive team and key members of Rio Salado College visited the Youth Radio facility. Inspired, they decided to transform KJZZ’s Teen Radio Project into an after-school Youth Media Center, now known as SPOT

For the sake of space, and to coin the first of what will likely become several incarnations the youth media students will come up with, KJZZ is calling the center SPOT 127 for short. 

Soon to be home for SPOT 127Rio Salado College was instrumental in helping KJZZ secure the Phoenix Union High School District facility at 3701 W. Thomas Ave. in Phoenix  as home for SPOT 127. The 7500-square-foot center is already wired for digital interfaces and features two large classrooms, room for a sound editing booth, office space, and a multi-purpose studio space where students can work on and showcase their video, audio and graphic design productions.

The Carstens Family Fund has once again taken a leadership role to help fund the SPOT 127 launch.

 After completing the SPOT 127 core program, students can enroll in a certificate program and earn college credit toward an Associate of Applied Science degree. 

Teen Radio Coordinator Nadine Arollo Rodriguez with South Mountain Teen Radio reporters“The goal of SPOT 127 is to engage youth with tools that are likely to be of interest to them,” said Lou Stanley, Associate General Manager and Executive Director of Friends of Public Radio Arizona. “Ultimately, we want to develop a continuous pathway for young people to pursue higher educational opportunities and to understand the benefits of life-long learning.”

To enroll in the program, students are required to have or be working toward attaining a high school diploma or GED certificate, and they must commit to SPOT 127 program requirements. 

Some students participating in the program are likely to have socio-economic challenges.  SPOT 127 will work to create partnerships with Valley agencies to provide health and human services and counseling.

An important component of SPOT 127 is the Food Journalism curriculum. Adjacent to SPOT 127 is the Rio Salado College adult basic education center, which will include a brand new kitchen equipped with appliances donated by Electrolux. Rio Salado will use the kitchen to teach SPOT 127 students sustainable food practices, including how to make healthy food choices. 

The students will also learn culinary journalism skills and techniques for how to produce cooking show demonstrations.  This provides a way for the program to help students feed and nurture their bodies while helping they develop critical thinking and media skills.

FITCH design team meets with KJZZ and Rio Salado teams to review logo treatments and designs for SPOT 127Last spring, FITCH, a global retail architectural design firm, having an office in Scottsdale AZ for more than 35 years, joined the growing list of companies and individuals who are making SPOT 127 a reality. 

Among its contributions, FITCH came up with the name SPOT after testing it with a focus group of 200 teenagers. Branding the new center is just one of the many in-kind services FITCH is donating. 

FITCH is also contributing architectural and design services. FITCH General Manager Larry Stewart and his team eagerly adopted the youth media center, shortly after hosting a reception in May for KJZZ’s Leadership Society and members of BBC’s Newshour team.
Spot 127 Newsroom rendering“FITCH takes our Corporate Responsibility very seriously,” said Stewart.  “We are delighted to participate on such a worthwhile project, and one that can have a meaningful impact to so many.  It is our goal that the environment we help create for the Youth Media Program is an inspiration to all who become involved.”

The FITCH design team has come up with a dynamic interior for the entire center—with the students and program purpose in mind.

Spot 127 Newsroom renderingKevin Evernham, FITCH Director of Architecture said, “While FITCH takes pride in the commercial environments we create, it will be especially fulfilling to work with KJZZ and Rio Salado to provide a special environment for our community’s youth.  The vision for the program is very inspiring, and we are thrilled to have an opportunity to contribute.”

FITCH didn’t just think about the interior of the building.  It also donated design services to renovate the exterior.  The FITCH team wanted to create an environment that would welcome students and give them a sense of safety and comfort by day, while serving as a beacon of light for the entire community at night. 
The lights are scheduled to turn on just after the New Year and we hope everyone is there to help cut the ribbon and open the doors to the first 60 students of 2012.
More details about the program, grand opening and ways to get involved are forthcoming. 
In the meantime, we hope you’ll help us choose a logo for SPOT 127.  Send us an email to let us know which of these three logos you like most. 

Spot 127 logo sample 1Spot 127 logo sample 1Spot 127 logo sample 1

Then take a few minutes to watch this compelling online video about KJZZ’s Teen Radio Project, the pilot program that helped KJZZ prove the power of youth media.  We think it will give you a better idea of what SPOT 127 can do for Phoenix on a much larger scale.

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