Chesterton broadcast students dialed in

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on December 08, 2010 with No Comments

by Mike Siroky

Talk about being dialed in.

When broadcasting students at Chesterton High School take to the airways it is serious business.

But it is also fun and, for some, will lead to their real-world careers.

WDSO-FM 88.3 is in its 34th year of broadcasting. WDSO serves the Duneland School Corporation, the entire Duneland community and also streams on the Internet at www.wdso.org.

Student staff members this year include seniors Tyler Devitte (program director); Ryan Gorman (music director); Michael Coslet (sports director); Aly Larimore (PSA director) and juniors Jake Deiotte (assistant music director) David Ortiz (news director); Austin Martinson (training director); Hunter Hudleston (co-promotions director) and sophomore Billy Atherton (co-promotions director).

Live on-air broadcast hours are weekdays, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. with automation during the overnight hours Monday through Thursday. Music shows and feature program will air during the day with news at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 a.m. and every hour on the half-hour until 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

There are weather updates throughout the night and early morning until 6 a.m. There are no Saturday or Sunday regular live broadcasts but there are special events, such as the school’s basketball games now, with baseball in the spring. WDSO continues to stream on the internet during weekends.

Specialty shows range from local artisans to the State Police, with school administrators joining the fun.
And it is all put together by Matt Waters, the station manager and faculty advisor and Michele Stipanovich is the operations manager.

Waters is in his sixth year and teaches six classes during the school day, but the radio ‘casts are clearly her passion.

A graduate of the exemplary school of Journalism at Indiana University, Bloomington, Waters kicked around at some Indianapolis-area radio stations until she got a call to apply at Chesterton.

“That’s nice, when someone actually asks you to apply,” she said.

Chesterton’s state-of-the-art facility was certainly a big draw for Waters, enough watts of power to reach the Illinois state line and Lower Michigan on a good day, but the real love is for the business and the chance to pass the torch and all he has learned to the next generation of broadcasters.

Students may swell the ranks of the introductory classes, but the serious ones will survive to the advanced classes and get on the air.

“No one gets on just to say we put someone on,” Waters said. “We just don’t throw them on the air.”

What she likes best is when the students realize the scope of broadcast and reach back to understand the art form.

“I definitely appreciate it,” he said of being the generation that has seen the most intense technology explosion in his chosen craft.

“The students will ask intuitive questions and we’ll discuss the answers,” she said.

“We have 13 rooms to work with, three production studios, a TV studio (for on-campus broadcasts). We produce videos for the school and for the Duneland Athletic Conference. We present video announcements.”

They even have the reel-to-reel tapes that bridged the way to hand-held electronic devices. They learn about the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules.

Any student who has interest can get in, usually a starting alignment of 200 students each school year.  Those who stay for the advanced classes find a career.

Waters knows that not every student will be an on-air hit, but some will find their way in lighting or filming or other behind-the-scenes work.

And, yes some have gone on from WDSO to jobs in Chicago, downstate Indiana or to colleges across America.

Waters has that good feeling of helping the students find a niche, to grow in a field which has real-life possibilities.

As if they were ever wondering if anyone is really listening, he can recount how they started getting some interesting calls on the request lines.

“You hear a recorded voice saying this is an incoming call from a prisoner,” Waters said. “Then a click and then, usually, all the caller said was something like ‘Play Heavy Metal!’ ”

Yes, the state prison in Michigan City is well within the listening arc and, apparently, WDSO has some fans who are staying put for awhile.

For more information about WDSO, call 219-983-3777, write to WDSO at 2125 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304 or visit www.wdso.org.


Radio One David Ortiz – Chesterton High School student David Ortiz is also news director for WDSO-FM 88.3, which serves the Duneland School Corporation, the entire Duneland community, and also streams on the Internet at www.wdso.org.

Radio One Hunter Hudleston – Hunter Hudleston, co-promotions director for WDSO-FM 88.3, is one of the broadcasting students at Chesterton High School that are playing a role in the station’s 34th year of broadcasting.

Radio One Ryan Gorman – Music Director Ryan Gorman, a senior at Chesterton High School, is one of this years student staff members at WDSO-FM 88.3, which has served the entire Duneland Community for 34 years.

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About Mike Siroky


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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