LCHS Receives Grant to Create Radio Station

Friday, Mar 04, 2016

While most high school students across the nation enjoy listening to the radio, ag students at Lawrence County High School will soon be operating their own radio station at the high school thanks to a recent grant that was awarded to the school.

The CHS Foundation recently awarded a $500 Classroom Grant to the Lawrence County FFA to start a broadcast communications unit for the ag communications class at LCHS.

The CHS Foundation is the major giving entity of CHS Inc., North America's leading farmer-owned cooperative.

"CHS and the CHS Foundation are proud to support ag teachers in developing leadership capacity in the next generation and helping young people find their purpose in agriculture," William Nelson, president of CHS Foundation and vice president of CHS corporate citizenship said in a press release.

The grant was one of 10 awarded during the National FFA Convention held Oct. 28-30, 2015 in Louisville, Ky.

Lawrence County FFA adviser Travis Allred said he saw the CHS Foundation booth at the convention and decided to apply for a grant, never dreaming his school would be one to receive it.

"I applied for it not thinking we had much of a chance, but we did have a unique request," Allred said. "Not a lot of schools have a school radio station and when it concerns ag departments, I don't know of a single one in this nation that offers that as a program."

Within three weeks of applying for the grant, Allred received a letter from the foundation saying Lawrence County was one of the 10 schools nationwide to receive the grant out of thousands of applicants.

Allred said when he was in high school, he broadcast a small, unlicensed radio station out of his bedroom.

"With my little high school radio station, I broadcast 24 hours a day from a 40-foot antenna pole from my house," Allred said. "That is what sparked my interest. I wanted to offer that to these kids who have a desire to get involved in communication, but put an agriculture twist on it.

"The kids will have a chance to be broadcasting on air, do sponsorships, journalism, writing articles to be broadcast on news segments, host radio programs and play music. Basically, they will be getting an all-around feel to what it's like to work at a radio station."

Allred said the equipment is being purchased and he hopes to get the radio station up and running before the end of the school year.

While it will be unlicensed, the radio station will meet FCC rules for legal unlicensed transmissions, Allred said.

"The students are really excited about this opportunity," Allred said. "They keep asking me if the equipment has come in yet. They are looking forward to having something at Lawrence County High School that no one else has to offer."

Allred said the station would be on the FM band, but the school is still searching for a frequency. Also, the signal will only be strong enough to cover a few city blocks.

However, Allred said after starting small, he hopes to build the station one step at a time.

"We will get it started and in the future, expand from there," he said.


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