Thursday, March 19, 2009

KAXE Volunteer Training Classes

by Maggie Montgomery

Two or three times a year, we hold classes for new, on-air volunteers at KAXE. Usually about a dozen people attend, and now and then some current volunteers come back for a “refresher.” This spring the classes are on three Tuesday nights in April: the 14th, 21st and 28th.

KAXE program director, Mark Tarner, and I teach the first two classes. KAXE engineer Dan Houg finishes the class training with a technical introduction to the on-air studios. After the classes, everything happens at the volunteer’s own pace. The “grads” sign up to observe a staff member or volunteer as many times as they wish before practicing in the studio. They can practice in a studio as often as they wish too, before their first, partial airshift under supervision. Completion of that supervised airshift is usually the last step before they go on the air on their own!

Going into that first class, we always wonder what will happen. Who will be there? What preconceptions will people bring with them? How familiar are they with KAXE’s programming? Why are they volunteering? What are their hopes and fears?

We hope we can gently introduce the class to audience-centered programming concepts that impose some rules on what they do and still keep them “jazzed” about the opportunities and creative processes of radio program production!

By the end of the first class, we trainers are the ones who are jazzed!! The classes are invariably impressive!

Class sessions are a good way to train new volunteers because new people coming into the station do so knowing other new people from the class—a built-in support group! And if some trainees don’t follow through it’s ok. It’s a low-pressure environment, and a great learning experience for anyone.

If you’d like to sign up for volunteer training there are 2 things required:
1) Be a member in good standing of KAXE
2) Register for the class by calling 218/326-1234 or emailing, or responding to the Facebook event on the KAXE Northern Community Radio Facebook page.

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