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Hendricken creates waves with Internet radio station
Warwick Beacon photo by Jessica A. Botelho
TUNE IN: A recent $4,000 donation allowed Bishop Hendricken High School to enhance its Internet radio station, which was created by a former student four years ago. Seniors Mason Szeligia, 17, (left) and Station Manager Jim Kent, 18, co-host shows such as Loaded Music and Sports City.

Loaded Music. Wired In. Boss Fight. Cyber Jokes. Politics in the Classroom.

Those are just a handful of Internet radio shows created and hosted by Bishop Hendricken High School students, which they broadcast online at www.hawksradio.us.

While the station came to life about four years ago when former student John “Johnny Mac” McGowan asked the school’s computer science teacher Mike Benedetto if they could have a station of their own, Hendricken was able turn up the volume on the show this year, as another former student made a $4,000 donation through the Pastore Foundation.

The donation, which Benedetto said they are extremely thankful for, enabled the school to purchase up-to-date equipment, including a new computer, as well as a $2,000 operating system created by TuneTracker Radio Automation Systems. Benedetto uses the system to compose a programming scripting language that drives the station.

Station Manager Jim Kent, 18, a senior, co-hosts Loaded Music, a show about classic rock, as well as Sports City, a show that features sporting events at both the high school and professional levels.

While he and his co-hosts started Sports City his freshman year, they conceived the idea for Loaded Music last year.

“We normally focus on one legendary artist per show and play music from 30 minutes to an hour of that one artist,” said Kent, who is thinking about majoring in IT, with a minor in Sports Communications in college.

One of his co-hosts, Mason Szeligia, 17, another senior, is also contemplating pursuing a future in radio, as he enjoys “the whole atmosphere and getting the news out to people.”

Kent’s younger brother, Dan, 16, a sophomore, is part of the Internet radio station, too, and co-hosts Cyber Jokes with his classmate David Neary, 16.

“We talk about Internet culture and Internet humor,” Neary said. “Some people might not understand certain jokes, or they might be behind, so it’s helping people learn, but in a fun way.”

Junior Chris Caramello, 17, started his own show, Politics in the Classroom, freshman year. He discusses local political news, school politics and even some international politics every now and then. He said his family, mainly his father, sparked his interest in politics, and hopes the show educates other students and people his age who don’t understand politics.

“People need to be informed about this stuff,” he said.

Other shows include Wired In, in which a student broadcasts reviews about the latest technological devices such as iPads and iPods; Boss Fight, a talk show about video games; Side Line Sports, which focuses on college sports, and more.

Benedetto said the show is not only helpful to students, but also expanding Hendricken’s many assets.

“We’re known to be a jock school, and win more titles than most schools, but we’re more than that – we’re an art school, too,” he said.

Students create and host the shows, and can have up to four microphones working at a time. This allows them to have guests that they often interview, including high school coaches. Students tape the show at the school, and Benedetto converts it to an MP3 file before posting it to the web. They also live stream Hawk games on the Internet.

“We have alums and grandparents all over the world who want to see their grandsons playing in a basketball game, baseball game or a football game,” said Benedetto.

Ron Mosca, who teaches A-plus, a computer repair class, as well as game design, said they had at least 2,000 views on last year’s Thanksgiving Day football game.

Further, the school has an Asian population through their exchange program, and created a show in their native tongue.

“They did a radio show in Korean, and all their friends in Korea were listening,” Mosca said.

Additionally, students will be broadcasting talk shows, which will be filmed in the residence that formerly housed the Brothers. This past weekend, they interviewed Hawk basketball coach Jamal Gomes.

“We want to get them experienced with being in front of a professional video camera,” Benedetto said.

Other teachers, such as Mosca, Mark DiPippo, who teaches App Design and Networking, and English teacher John Feeny, also the assistant principal of grades 10 through 12, helped put the station together.

“I’ve been very active in the world of new media over the last two or three years, and when [Benedetto] asked me about this, I said, ‘I can put a whole network together in 30 minutes.’ He said, ‘That’s what these kids need,’” said Feeny.

Feeny suggested running the Hendricken Sports Network through a central blog, and attach links to their YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and USTREAM accounts for live broadcasting. He also educated them about Audioboo, a mobile and web platform that allows users to upload interviews and sound bytes via cell phones.

“It goes right from the site to the blog,” Feeny said. “They are only limited by their imagination.”

More information can be found about the Hendricken Sports Network at hendrickensportsnetwork.com.


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