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Bay Area Youth Take Over KQED’s Airwaves in April

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Two high school girls speak into microphones in recording studio
 (Cheyenne Bearfoot)

Each year KQED’s education, content and news teams work with high school students across the Bay Area to develop stories, reporting and content for the station’s broadcast and digital channels. The culmination of these youth collaborations will happen April 22-26, 2024 during the 7th annual KQED Youth Takeover. During that week of special programming, local teens will make their voices heard on radio programs and podcasts like Rightnowish, Forum, Political Breakdown and Perspectives, as well as on newscasts and in web articles. Audiences in the Bay Area and beyond will hear fresh and powerful voices and learn about how the next generation sees the world and their role in it.

“We believe young people need to see themselves represented in public media,” says KQED Chief Content Officer Holly Kernan, “and that their perspectives can spark intergenerational conversations that give us all a richer understanding of the multifaceted communities that make up the Bay Area.”

The KQED Youth Takeover program is unique in the public media system for its depth of collaborations between professional staff and local youth and for the scale of its impact. This year’s cohort includes more than 300 students, from 14 high school classrooms in 7 Bay Area counties.  Led by Amanda Vigil, members of the Youth Media Team visited these classrooms to help students develop story ideas and write their pieces in the style of KQED’s broadcast, podcast and online programming. Then students visited KQED headquarters to capture their stories in the professional recording studios, working alongside KQED producers and content makers. New to this year’s program, some students got to work with KQED’s product team on developing a new feature for the KQED mobile app.

“The Youth Takeover resources and the support staff who come on-site have been wonderful and super impactful to amplifying student voices over the year,” says Skyline High School teacher Michael Roe. “For me, having public-facing projects where students can share their narratives with the public at large has been so impactful as students are way more committed to polishing a creative project to completion when they know it’s possibly going to air on the radio.”

Surveys of past Youth Takeover students and teachers show that there was an increase of three times as many students who said they were able to write effectively for a real, public audience and four times as many teachers reported their students were able to use their words and voice to influence others after participating in the program. This data aligns with the experience of the students.

High school junior Ryan H. says Youth Takeover gives him a platform to use his voice “to engage with the Bay Area community and gain invaluable experience working and seeing your work in the journalistic field.” High school senior Khadeejah K. is in her third year participating in Youth Takeover. She says she keeps coming back because of how it is “empowering youth to use their voice to bring change, tell stories, and create empathy across all age groups.”

Audiences in the Bay Area and beyond can tune in to KQED radio, TV and podcasts from April 22-26, 2024 to hear all of this year’s new stories. The stories will also be featured on the kqed.org homepage and collected in the Youth Takeover showcase.

About KQED

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. An NPR and PBS affiliate based in San Francisco, KQED is home to one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program helping students and educators thrive in 21st-century classrooms. A trusted news source and leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration—exposing them to new people, places and ideas. kqed.org

Media Contact:
Liana Holmberg

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