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HISD Launches Radio Station

By the summer, Houston will welcome a new radio station-launched by the Houston Independent School District. It's the first of its kind in the country, and it won't be available on your FM dial. From the KUHF NewsLab, Melissa Galvez has more.


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“What’s up everyone, it’s time again for Jazzy-J…”

That’s the voice of Janelle Calhoun, a junior at Jack Yates High School in the Third Ward.? She produced this audio-blog on high school relationships for her radio production class. And soon, she and her peers across HISD will get the chance to air their work on K12 RadioHouston-HISD’s new internet radio station.?

Classmate Amanda Roper is excited:

“I would never think in a million years that my voice could be heard by people all over the city.”

Starting in July, K12 RadioHouston will be streamed through the HISD website, and linked from One of the goals is showcase student work already happening in the district.? But another is to spotlight the programs and events that HISD wants the public to know about.?

This is Chief District Relations Officer Lee Vela:

“We have probably about 115 different magnet programs throughout the district. We actually have a school of aviation where kids can get their pilot’s license before they can even qualify for their driver’s license.”

But the concept of K12 RadioHouston is not just a public relations channel.

“We’re in the middle of something right now around internet radio that is changing everything.”

That’s Pat Fant from RFC Media, the company that will actually manage the radio stream.? He says that most of the programming will be music, of the kind that polls really well in Houston. Fant describes it as rhythmic pop, with a little bit of rock, and some R&B flavor. That’s how you entice people to listen to the channel:

“People everywhere, all the time love music. It’s like fly paper. You open the door and the people will stick to the fly paper, and while they’re there going, ‘Boy this music is wonderful!’, someone comes on and says, ‘Hey did you know…?'”

Fant thinks that this kind of tailored internet radio programming could help businesses attract customers to their website, or simply link people with common interests. HISD is hoping that their 30,000 employees and the parents of over 200,000 students will share a common interest in the stream.

HISD also hopes to get some money out of the project.? They’ll offer air time to sponsors, similar in fact, to public radio.? Some of the money will pay RFC Media, and the rest will go to the district. HISD’s Vela says they wanted to get creative on funding:

“The economy, as it tightens, that there will be budget concerns in the future, so anything we can do to help offset those concerns will be useful.”

So, watch out Steve Inskeep and Renee Montaigne.? HISD wants you listeners to tune in to them.

From the KUHF NewsLab, I’m Melisa Galvez