Calling All Radio Lovers: Westridge’s New Radio Station Has Gone Live


Gigi T.

Sound in Space Cover Art.

“The program will begin in one minute” flashes on the left side of every eager listener’s computer. After the minute has passed, audio breaks the silence, and KWST’s grey “off-air” text shifts to a darker, bolder, “on the air.” Gigi T ‘22, the host of the hour-long program, “Sound in Space,” quickly introduces herself and her show, greeting listeners from weeks prior, while also welcoming new ones. As she fills the hour up with music inspired by weather conditions, she writes the song titles and artists in the chat so listeners can play the songs on their own time. When the hour is over, she says a temporary goodbye until the next week when the show will air again. Although it has only run for a few weeks, KWST, the new Westridge radio station, has offered a unique space for Westridge upper schoolers seeking to express themselves.

On Monday, Feb. 1, Westridge launched its first ever student-created and student-run radio station. Gigi Timoner ‘22, the creator of KWST, was inspired by the enjoyment and sense of community her brother received from participating in the radio station at his school. Additionally, with the pandemic, she saw the perfect opportunity to bring the Westridge community together. “It’s always been in the back of my mind, but then especially because of the isolation caused by online learning, I saw a really good opportunity to start it. I think it’s a really cool way for people to interact and express themselves with their community,” Gigi remarked.

Orchestra teacher and faculty advisor to the radio station, Kerri Epps, was approached by Gigi with this idea in the fall. The two knew each other from chamber orchestra class the previous year, and already had a good relationship. Throughout the beginning of the year, they met with Mr. Baldwin several times to make the idea a reality. “I love that Westridge is a place that says, ‘yes, let’s do it.’ It’s just wonderful that’s our attitude as a school,” shared Epps. “That when a student has an idea like, ‘I want to launch a radio station,’ it wasn’t met with an automatic ‘no.’”

Gigi’s show, “Sound in Space,” runs alongside a growing number of others including, Student Voices’ “Beyond the Ridge;” Briar Brooks ‘23 and Fiona Hastings’ ‘23 talk show “There She Blooms,” and Liv Bjorgum’s ‘21 music show. The hosts come on the air during their allotted time slot each week through an app called Mixlr. Mixlr features a live chat, allowing hosts to interact with listeners and play with different formats for their shows, such as hosting a Q and A or asking for song suggestions.

The station’s first official show, “Sound in Space,” launched with an episode titled “89 degrees in L.A.” The host, Gigi, lines up a playlist of songs based on a particular location and weather condition. In the following weeks, she plans to explore more places and types of weather through music, including cold and snowy weather for the many Angelenos who are deprived of a legitimate winter. 

Student Voices first show cover art

Student Voices’ first show on Monday, Feb. 8 celebrated Black History Month. They hosted a few members of the Black Student Union at Westridge, who each brought songs to share that spoke to their own experiences or the Black experience in general. After each song, the hosts and guests took a moment to respond to what it meant to them. Afterward, Student Voices asked BSU members about traditions they had, and their experiences being a person of color at Westridge. 

On Fiona and Briar’s first “There She Blooms” show, they discussed many different subjects from school to current events. “We will pick a topic for our show, but then we’ll start to ramble and get off topic, but I think that’s part of our charm,” shares Fiona. Later on, she adds, “It really just feels like a facetime between the two of us.” Although both Fiona and Briar do not consider themselves public speakers, they have found a lot of enjoyment from their show so far. 

Listeners of the programs have especially appreciated hearing people their own age discuss topics they are interested in. “They talked about very relevant pop culture topics, so that was really fun to hear about and hear other people my age putting their input,” shared Noa K. ‘24. She continued, “The way that they talked made it seem more like a conversation between them and the audience as opposed to them just excluding you, which was really nice.”

KWST is open to any Westridge upper schooler hoping to host a show. Those interested are encouraged to contact Gigi and submit a proposal, including a show summary or sample recording. Gigi encourages anybody to give it a try.

“When this came about, it was the kind of thing that was scary and nerve wracking,” Briar admitted. “At the same time, I feel like if we didn’t do it, it would be a missed opportunity.”

For those who still do not feel comfortable going on a radio show, there are other opportunities to get involved. People can submit art for their friends’ shows, located on KWST’s Finalsite page in the resources tab. The Finalsite page also includes a show schedule, links to listen to the show, and a place to submit a proposal. KWST also has its own Instagram page, which is another resource for people to reach out with questions or suggestions for Gigi. The Instagram account will post about the show(s) streaming that night to remind listeners to tune in.

In the few weeks since its launch, there have been a few small snafus, such as mishaps with the unmute button and wonky mics, but no major tech issues have taken place — a rare gem in the tech-saturated Covid era. “It’s run really smoothly considering how inexperienced I was when I started it,” said Gigi.

Because of its very recent launch, KWST still has only a small number of listeners, but Gigi and everybody else involved continue to hope for more growth and expansion. “I really hope that it grows enough so that we can have a few shows every day and so we can get enough people to make it more of a consistent thing,” she expressed. “Hopefully after I graduate, I can pass it down and create a legacy with it.”

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Click here to visit Instagram

Click here to submit a proposal