|MHS station has added facilities, staff, programs
By Elizabeth Schneider
MAYNARD - Disney is not the only major broadcasting corporation to expand exponentially in the last year. Look out world, WAVM is moving into the big time.
The student-run radio and television network at the high school has made great strides over the summer months and returned to the air waves this fall with more equipment, more staff and more programs.
The largest development to take place was the creation of a training area, set up adjacent to the school's primary filming studio.
The room next to WAVM's homestead, which use (sic) to house the art room, has been gutted and refurbished and now serves as an additional studio.
"This realizes a dream for me," said Joe Magno, who runs the program. "Before now, once we were on air, everything else would wind to a halt. Now we can continue training people in one area, and we can be recording live from the studio at the same time."
The radio production booth and television control apparatus have been duplicated, as have the mixing boards and editing booths.
The additions to the program were high in demand. WAVM now has 167 student members, an increase of almost 40 over last year.
"We are just growing like crazy," said Magno, adding it would not be possible without the financial backing.
The nearly $12,000 in bills were covered with school budget appropriations, fundraising dollars and Cablevision gifts.
With the new facilities, new programs are skyrocketing. Formal training has begun for students in grades six and seven. The Beacon Santa telethon will now be 40 hours long and will be done out of both studios, with two different sets. Student workers are covering Boston Celtics Media Day along with seasoned professionals, and some plan to go to the new Fleet Center to interview the Boston Bruins.
"We have arrived as far as the general public is concerned," said Magno. "We rival anything in the country of this kind."
And the expansion is not over yet. Magno said he wants to bring WAVM into the curriculum and use the resources in academic classrooms. He said by hooking equipment up in other area schools, students could communicate via the television screen - sharing lectures and special presentations.
With the added space, he said students can really use the facility as a home base.
"Some kids will come in here at night or in the afternoon and do their homework," said Magno. "It makes for a nice atmosphere. It's like a real family."
And the skills they are learning will last a lifetime. Mike Sale, a Maynard High School alumnus who has gone on to a career in Hollywood, often is back visiting students at WAVM - and egging them on to a career in the field. He credits his knowledge of a new computer editing machine for his rise.
So one day recently when Sale was in town he took junior Garrett Wisuri to Avid Corporation in Tewksbury to teach him how the equipment works.
"They let me play with the equipment all day," said Wisuri. "It was a good opportunity."
Garrett and friend Kathy Griffin, both general manager of radio at WAVM, say they can not wait until all the equipment is in at the second studio.
"We're psyched to get the new stuff in," said Griffin. "This should be a good year."
As the students gear up for another year of challenges at WAVM, they continue to fundraise so it may all be possible.
Papa Gino's in Stow will host a WAVM benefit night Monday, Oct. 16 between 5 and 10 p.m.. A percentage of all sales will go to WAVM.
"We have a lot going on," said Magno. "These kids have the energy to make it happen. And believe me, it is happening."