In the spring of 2011, Philly Youth Radio (PYR) was created by Yowei Shaw with the support of Asian Arts Initiative, WHYY’s Hamilton Public Media Commons, and the Leeway Foundation in response to the alarming level of school bullying and bias-based violence experienced by students in the city of Philadelphia.
Philly Youth Radio provides high school students with the tools and training to create their own radio stories – and the opportunity to share them on a larger stage. Working with professional audio producers, youth radio apprentices engage in intensive radio production workshops to produce stories about issues important to them and their communities. Participants gain experience in story pitching, interviewing, field recording, script-writing, digital editing and voicing. Our hope is that these youth-produced radio stories will promote intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, as well as better understanding about young people’s lives and contributions in this city.
The first installment of PYR resulted in “Students of Violence,” a series of first person audio essays exploring the root causes, consequences, and possible solutions to school bullying and violence. Our first series has been featured on alt.NPR’s YouthCast, Generation PRX, Youthradio.org, and other media outlets. The overwhelming response and unexpected success of our first project prompted a second “season” of PYR in 2012. Through an intensively collaborative process between young people and radio experts, we produced our second series, titled “Teen Sanctuaries”, focusing on the places where we go to relax and recharge.
Since the first workshop, loyal volunteers, including Beth Patel and Bruce Schimmel, supported and worked to make PYR a success. And we are pleased to announce PYR has grown into a recurring project with a team: Yowei Shaw is PYR’s Director and Lead Educator, Beth is our Coordinator and Workshop Facilitator, and Bruce serves as our Resident Radio Expert. To learn more about us, visit The Team here. We run project-to-project on limited resources and funds, so we rely on partners and volunteers to make each season of PYR possible. If you are interested in volunteering with us in any way, please visit How to Get Involved. We look forward to bring you more compelling youth-produced stories in the future, so stay tuned for a third season!