Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There’s No Place Like SPOT

Written by Annette Flores, KJZZ Public Relations Representative

The Valley’s public radio station KJZZ 91.5 is collaborating with Rio Salado College to launch a new after-school program to train and mentor the next generation of public broadcasters. It’s called SPOT—that’s Internet code for “home.”

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.

SPOT 127 will be located at 3701 W. Thomas Ave. in Phoenix in an existing building made available through Rio’s partnership with the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD). The 7,430 square-foot center is already wired for digital interfaces and plenty of space for students to work on and showcase their multi-media productions.

Rio faculty and staff will provide curriculum development support to help train students in all aspects of digital media production and PUHSD may assist in identifying students for the program.

“SPOT 127 demonstrates Rio’s commitment to community development,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, Rio Salado College President. “This collaboration is an example of how we are redefining the educational model to meet the unique needs of non-traditional students in communities where they live.”

“The goal of SPOT 127 is to engage youth with tools that are likely to be of interest to them,” said Lou Stanley, KJZZ Associate General Manager. “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 requirements.

An important component of SPOT 127 is the Food Journalism curriculum. Adjacent to SPOT 127 is Rio’s adult basic education center, which will include a brand new kitchen equipped with state-of-the art appliances. Rio will use the kitchen to teach sustainable food practices, while SPOT 127 students and staff use the kitchen to learn how to make healthy food choices. The students will also learn techniques on how to produce cooking show demonstrations—providing a means for students to nurture their bodies while they develop critical thinking skills.

SPOT 127 is scheduled to open its doors this spring and work with up to 60 students ages 14-24. For more back-story, visit KJZZ.org or click here to see a short video about the inititagive. For additional details about the program, grand opening and ways to get involved, contact Lou Stanley at 480-774-8448, lstanley@rioradio.org.

Additional support for SPOT 127 is made possible in part by the Carstens Family Fund, Friends of Public Radio Arizona, Electrolux, FITCH, Schulz Charitable Foundation, US Bank, Alliance Bank, AVNET, Boeing Employees and the Phoenix Union High School District.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station licensed to the Maricopa Community College District. It is a community service of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, featuring a mix of local, national and international news, jazz and blues — serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners.