The C in CMJ is for “college,” but a small contingent of high school stations (a home for college radio staffers in training, perhaps?) is included in the CMJ reporting panel. Just as hardworking and dedicated as their counterparts in secondary ed, high school stations feature music, sports, live broadcast and in-studios while fostering a broadcast-minded community. Last October Syosset High’s WKWZ outshone many a competitor and was nominated for a 2010 CMJ College Radio Award—the first high school station to make the ballot. Senior and outgoing music director Marissa Greenberg talks to CMJ about the nuts and bolts of WKWZ and about where she’s headed in the future.

What’s going on at WKWZ in 2011?
We’re gearing up for a laser tag event for our DJs and then our annual WKWZ softball game in the spring, so it’s going to be a fun couple of months for us.

You are one of our few high school stations. About how many students are active within the station? Is it considered a class or an extracurricular?
We currently have about 30 student DJs. Being on staff at the station is considered an extracurricular activity for which students receive club credit. Some of our DJs spend time at the station when they don’t have their shows. This is when we do things around the station to keep us up and running. This is also when our station managers, Lawrence Watling and Matt Greenberg, our sports director, Kosta Katsaros, and myself do the bulk of our work, for which we receive class credit as well.

About how much control do students have over what’s broadcast?
Students have complete control over what they play at the station. The only guideline they have is the format of their show. As long as they stick to the format, they can play whatever music we have at the station.

Do you feel like you’ve gained quality experience as music director?
I really do. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my high school career and my life so far. I’ve learned how to network, I’ve become more outgoing, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to some pretty rad music, see some awesome shows and meet some amazing people over the last three years as a music director. I want to end up in the music industry eventually, and I feel like my time as music director has given me the skills I need to pursue that goal.

How did it feel to be nominated for a CMJ College Radio Award?
Being nominated for a CMJ award felt amazing! I was looking through the list of possible awards, and I saw “Best Use Of Limited Resources,” and I said to myself, “Well wait a minute … we’re pretty good at what we do, even though we’re using equipment that’s older than I am, and we get minimal funding from our school. I think that this nomination would suit us pretty well!” It was something I really wanted for our station. We all put so much work into what we do that it felt really amazing to have our name out there.

Do you often get to go on station trips like when we met in NYC?
That was actually our first one! Nothing like that had ever come up so it was unknown territory for us. We had to go through various school officials to get the trip approved, but luckily it did! It was a great experience for me, our station managers, and our faculty adviser, David Favilla.

What are you plans post-graduation? Will you move from high school to college radio?
I will be attending Pace University next fall at their New York City campus for management. I have already sent an email to their station, WPUB, to see how soon I can get involved there. I can’t wait to continue on in the college radio community.