Recognizing the need to help revitalize their largely migrant community in rural South Texas, a group of teenagers formed a “radio team” in 1999 at Edcouch-Elsa High School, Edcouch, Texas. The students sought to use the station to talk about the potential of people and radio technology to transform their community, create a new economy and redefine an emerging culture.
The radio team was one of seven projects managed by the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development in Edcouch. The Center received funding for the projects from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Managing Information with Rural American (MIRA) initiative.
K-BUZZ youth radio, FM 89.7, involved more than 15 teenagers from the Texas communities of Edcouch, Elsa, La Villa, San Carlos, Edinburg and La Blanca. Broadcasting locally from within the high school, the students largely determined the station’s format by selecting the music aired and catering the talk shows to fit their personal style.
The MIRA grant money was used to purchase transmission and radio equipment. A major challenge team radio faced once MIRA funding ceased in 2002 was a staff shortage. In order to keep K-BUZZ on air, the radio team was restructured within the confines of the high school’s music department, directed by Benigno Layton, the school’s music teacher. According to Layton, the station will continue broadcasting under the radio team’s mission to help revitalize the community
“Obviously, we don’t have lots of power, but I definitely think we do our part,” Layton said. “We’re getting kids exposed to different cultures and types of music. If we can make students excited about learning, there’s no question that we’ll have a stronger community.
For more information on the radio team, contact the Llano Grande Center at (956) 262-4474.