Pioneer School for Visually Impaired learners started its own radio station

Pioneer School

Michael Bredenkamp, Pioneer School Principal, said the purpose of this exciting new addition to the school was to educate and empower blind and visually impaired learners to become broadcasters and thus create employment.

The learners share stories and news, do interviews, and report on all activities in and around the school. They are also trained in proper microphone etiquette, operating the various aspects of a studio, producing, sound engineering, compiling and presenting specialised programmes, scriptwriting and compilation of radio ads, etc.

The radio station is broadcasting live from the school, every Wednesday night from 19:00 until 20:00. It is an internet-based station so listeners from all over the world can tune in.
Quinten Pendle, a music teacher at the school and the driving force behind the radio project, said employment opportunities for visually impaired people are fewer than for their sighted peers. “As a blind person, I have had to compete with other “normal” or “sighted” people to get a job, and to provide for my family.”

The learners started off with preparation and training at the beginning of 2021. Their very first broadcast took place on Thursday, 9 September 2021. Until now, the school made use of some of Pendle’s spare equipment, which includes a computer, mixing desk and microphones, to stay on air, but in February, this year, they received a generous donation from “Dankie Lottoland” with which they can now buy all the necessary studio equipment and software.

One of the rooms in the music building is being made soundproof and ready for use as a dedicated broadcasting studio. At present, nine learners are part of the Radio Academy. Apart from music, the learners cover all topics regarding the school. “Our broadcasters are keen interviewers, and not only do they bring the most amazing stories, but they also have great ideas, some of which we have already implemented into our schedule.”

“Our radio station serves as a method of entertainment for both students and staff, a platform for communicating information, and as a marketing tool for our school,” Pendle concludes.

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