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RadioActive Youth Media

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RadioActive is the youth media program at KUOW where youth delight in discovering public radio journalism. Hear stories created by RadioActive youth producers about the people and issues that matter to young people in the Northwest. Subscribe to get our latest audio pieces delivered directly to you.

RadioActive stories produced prior to October 2012 can be found on our archive or here, too!

Welcome KUOW's Spring 2015 RadioActive Youth Producers

Mar 12, 2015
KUOW Photos/RadioActive Staff

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media is proud to offer our spring journalism workshop. Six teens, aged 16-18, will spend 12 weeks learning what it means to be a journalist.

During that time, they'll gain the skills to create radio stories. They'll do all of the research, interviews, writing, voicing and editing to produce their own feature stories on topics of their choice.

RadioActive's Guide To Making Friends In New Places

Feb 26, 2015
Kendra Hanna recruiting members for the Kendra Needs Friends Club at the University of Washington
KUOW Photo/Iman Mohamed

February is known as a month to focus on love and romance, but in this month's podcast, we focus on the people you lean on year round: your friends! We hear what friendship means to preschoolers and retired people and a timeless story of teenage adventure. 

Plus, you don't want to miss our story about one girl's unusual attempt to make friends in a new place.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Foster High School senior Nandina Cengic is a feminist, filmmaker and activist.
Courtesy of Jesenko Spahic

Do you hate men?

Nandina Cengic said she hears that question all the time. That's because the Foster High School senior tells people she is a feminist. As she puts it, people assume she's a "man hater," who's "trying to squander men."

"Which isn't true at all!" she said. 

PHOTOS: Amazing Sculptures Made By A Student Who 'Didn't Know What She Was Doing'

Jan 29, 2015
Courtesy of Amal Ahmed

What makes an artist? A high school art student inadvertently stumbled upon a technique to make ridiculously cool, award-winning sculptures -- using something you have lying around the house. Listen in to learn how. 

Plus, a 15-year-old sculptor ponders the dilemma between making art for himself and making the Disney princesses his classmates want to buy. 

RadioActive producer Jaylen Wheeler at a RadioActive listening party.
KUOW Photo / Jason Pagano

I’ve done this a million times: Wake up, get ready, drive to school.

At first, I hated getting up so early for school every day. It only made it worse that it took me an hour to get there. It would have been easier if it was five minutes away.

Tara Keo is a single mother to Sokinna, 16, and Kayden, 2.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

RadioActive's Sokinna Keo has learned to find forgiveness for her mother's past as a drug user. Here is their story, in Keo's words: 

When my mom was in middle school, she fell into a bad place. She told me she got expelled from school and started hanging out with "the wrong people."

Nathan Boss, 16, poses with his Airsoft gun before playing the game for the first time. Airsoft guns are sold with orange tips to make them look less realistic, but most players remove them.
Courtesy of Nathan Boss

RadioActive's Nathan Boss, 16, made his first foray into American gun culture through a real-life combat simulation game called airsoft, where players use guns that shoot non-lethal plastic pellets. This experience inspired him to examine whether playing with fake guns fosters real violence. 

The "field" is located down a high wire path, behind a Les Schwab in Maple Valley. After a couple hundred yards, I turn off of the path into a dense forest. I come to a clearing.

People are setting up, laying down gun bags and test firing guns. Most are military-looking types: short hair, good gear, well disciplined. Others have their faces adorned with bits of metal and their ears pierced. The smell of tobacco vapor fills the air.

Burmese Refugee Yearns For Her Lost Father

Jan 6, 2015
Sara Ling hopes to return to Burma to search for her missing father.
KUOW Photo/Amran Aden

Sara Ling is from Burma. When she was a child, her father disappeared. That's why her family left their country.

"Everything about my country is damaged," Ling said. "No hope besides to escape our country to make a new life." 

Burmese immigrants, like Ling's family, were the largest refugee group to settle in the United States from 2000 to 2012. 

Why This Teen Stopped Hiding Her Dad's Abuse

Jan 2, 2015
Ivy Jacobsen speaking about her abuse at her high school graduation.
Courtesy Ivy Jacobsen

As a senior at Lake Stevens High School, Ivy Jacobsen appeared confident. Blonde, popular, and a varsity athlete, her peers labeled her as the perfect girl next door. But Jacobsen said there was a time when she wasn't so confident. 

"I was very insecure. I had many friends but I was still really shy," Jacobsen said. "I wasn't really comfortable with who I was, body-wise."

KUOW Photo/Jenny Asarnow

When RadioActive's Noah Phillips Reardon was 13, her friend put Beat Connection's song "Silver Screen" on a mix tape. Noah played it over and over and over again. Four years later, she sat down with the Seattle band in KUOW's studio for this live performance and interview. 

Keyboard player and producer Reed Juenger explains the phrase he coined to describe today's iteration of the perennial artist's dilemma: Industrial Condo Sadness.

Feminism, Resilience, And The Needle In The Haystack

Dec 18, 2014
The graduates of "RadioActive’s" Fall 2014 Introductory Workshop: Noel Gasca, Azeb Tuji, Nathan Boss, Sokinna Keo, Amran Aden and Jaylen Wheeler.
KUOW Photo

This month, RadioActive is talking about issues that are not addressed enough. You’ll be hearing from some of the newest RadioActivians -- graduates of our fall workshops held in the Tukwila Community Center.

Azeb Tuji introduces us to a rockin' feminist.

Jaylen Wheeler tells his journey of being the odd man out.

Noel Gasca shares the story of a young women who seemed like she had it all but held a deep secret.

Also, Nia Price-Nascimento asks: what are peoples' first impressions of you?

Sit back, grab some hot cocoa and listen to some amazing stories for December's podcast. Happy Holidays!

Demonstrators at a Seattle march on Nov. 25, 2014, in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

It hurts that yet another officer isn’t being indicted for killing an unarmed black man; especially in the case of Eric Garner where there is no ambiguity. These injustices can often make us feel demoralized. But it may seem surprising that after attending a rally on November 25, I feel inspired.

The Best Of RadioActive Summer 2014

Dec 1, 2014
KUOW Photo

This past summer RadioActive Youth Media completed its 11th year at KUOW. Eight high school students spent six weeks writing, editing, recording and mixing their very first radio stories and podcasts. In this showcase, we hear from these producers and the work they completed. Click to listen to the entire show hosted by Ann Kane, or skip to your favorite pieces below.

Anecjokes, Chai Tea, And Role Models: Stories To Get You Through Fall

Nov 26, 2014
Seattle Public Library's University District branch.
Flickr Photo/javacolleen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Fall getting you down? This month's podcast is sure to make the transition into winter a lot easier with a series of uncomfortable situations in the University District Public Library, a poetic piece by Kamna Shastri, and an inspiring story of a Japanese-Brazilian man living in America. Check it out!

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast, and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter

21 Things RadioActive Learned At Third Coast

Nov 20, 2014
KUOW Photo

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media recently spent three days in Chicago with 550 of the world's most talented  radio makers at the 2014 Third Coast International Audio Festival.

“I washed my hands next to [NPR health reporter] Alix Speigel,” said youth producer Madeline Ewbank. "Once [former Planet Money reporter] Alex Blumberg passed so close to me that I could've tripped him. Not gonna lie, I seriously considered it.”

Why Do We Love Spooky Things?

Oct 30, 2014
Flickr / vmax137

It’s that scary time of the year again, and RadioActive gets spooked out.

Kendra Hanna asks young writers at 826 Seattle and author Neil Gaiman why kids love scary stories.

Then Esa Tilija goes inside a haunted house for the first time. Don't act vulnerable!

Welcome KUOW's Fall 2014 RadioActive Youth Producers

Oct 22, 2014
KUOW Staff

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media is proud to offer a fall journalism workshop at the Tukwila Community Center, in partnership with the City of Tukwila Parks & Recreation.

Six students, age 16-18, will spend 11 weeks learning what it means to be a journalist. During that time, they will pitch, interview, edit and write their own feature stories for KUOW.org.

Youth Find Themselves By Crossing Religious Boundaries

Sep 25, 2014
KUOW Photo / Jenny Asarnow

This month's podcast features stories about youth who are defining themselves by building new religious community. 

First, pre-teens on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict put aside their cultural differences to find peace and friendship in a program called Kids4Peace.

Then, two young Muslim converts pursue their beliefs in spite of what their families or the media have to say.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

Youth In Crisis Find Someone To Listen At Teen Hotline

Sep 12, 2014
KUOW Photo / Caitlin Gaylord

The walls are covered with colorful decorations and pictures of about 80 smiling volunteers. Wires covering the desk connect computers to phone headsets. And volunteers like high school senior Colin are waiting for the phones to ring. 

Most cities have their own anonymous hotline for people in crisis. Few of these hotlines are specifically for teens and staffed by teens. At Seattle’s Teen Link, teen volunteers answer calls from teens in crisis every night. Teen Link doesn’t allow volunteers to share their last names, in order to prevent harassment.

A Death Sentence Turns Into A Call Of The Wild

Sep 4, 2014
Courtesy of Leo Egashira

Leo Egashira, 60, is no stranger to death. He once saw his life flash before him when chased by a thousand-pound muskox in Greenland.

However, he had an even scarier encounter when he received an HIV diagnosis back in 1992. The life-changing event fostered his appreciation of the outdoors.

How My Basement Led Me To The Jazz Scene On Jackson Street

Sep 3, 2014
Public domain, via BlackPast.org

Nia Price-Nascimento lives in a house built in the 1920s in the Central District, Seattle's historically African-American neighborhood.  Last year, she found out there are two chambers hidden under the wooden floorboards in her basement creating a sub-basement. That led her to a journey back in time, as she explains in her own words.

Before I get into the story, you need to know I’m African American and Brazilian. I grew up in a mostly African-American neighborhood, but most of my friends are white, and I never really felt like I fit in. I recently got curious about my heritage.

Young Seattleites Feel Limited By Lack Of All-Ages Live Music

Sep 2, 2014
KUOW Photo/Noah Phillips Reardon

At Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party this July, a crowd at the Main Stage was waiting for hip-hop artist ASAP Ferg to come out. The crowd was chanting and everyone was excited.

"There's a lot of emotions attached to music that you don't get with talking to somebody or going down the street," observed Mila Widmayer, 16. She's a singer and a volunteer at the Vera Project, an all-ages concert venue. "Music just affects your life in ways that other things can't."

Courtesy of Kathleen Gillette

Kathleen Gillette has had a passion for singing for as long as she can remember. She was always "very excited about bringing a piece of music to the audience. I loved it. I just loved it.”

Life is about making difficult choices. Sometimes you make them, and other times it’s not up to you. For Gillette, life pulled the stage out from under her.

Water Is The Sound Of Freedom For My ‘Ba’

Aug 28, 2014
Quang Adam Nguyen, Angela's dad, holding the South Vietnamese and American flags.
Courtesy of Quang Adam Nguyen

I'm at a dock on Lake Washington and it’s a calm evening. I’m with my "ba" – dad in Vietnamese – Quang Adam Nguyen.

Ba is handy and loving. According to my mom, he’s “a little chubbier” than the “handsome, buff” man she married 25 years ago. My brother Andy calls him a “fixer,” and my sister Kristy says he’s “stubborn.”

He's always thinking and forgetting, about too much, if you ask me. He remodeled the house I’ve lived in my whole life but still hasn’t finished the gazebo. He did finish a waterfall in the yard, however. 

An Autistic Teen's Guide To Impersonating Michael Jackson

Aug 27, 2014
Courtesy of Lorenzo Manuel

It was homecoming dance at Roosevelt High School, and the Roosevelt football team had just been crushed. As it started getting late, the energy sunk even lower. People were mostly slow dancing; it was all Taylor Swift at that point.

Just then, a familiar tune started to play. The thinning crowd began to roar. A spotlight came on. As the first lyrics of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" shook the room, a skinny kid with short brown hair and a sparkly glove began to dance.

Teen Girl Loves Computer Science, But Struggles To Fit In

Aug 26, 2014
KUOW Photo/Ahlaam Ibraahim

It was the first day of freshman year at Rainier Beach High School and everyone had first day jitters. The first period bell rang: computer science class. It wasn't a good experience for 16-year-old Ifrah Abshir.

"I could never get it right," Abshir said. "Everything just kept crashing. Nothing worked, and I got mad, and I'm short tempered!"

Professor Vincente Rafael On Filipino Folklore Origins

Aug 25, 2014

Vincente Rafael is a professor of history at the University of Washington, specializing in Philippine history, colonialism and nationalism. RadioActive youth reporter Maria Caoagdan interviewed Rafael for her story exploring Filipino supernatural creatures.

Unraveling The Family Folklore Passed Through Generations

Aug 25, 2014
Courtesy of the Caoagdan family

What if you grew up being told that the monster under your bed is real? Seattle is home to a large Filipino Community, and in the Philippines, superstitions and the existence of supernatural creatures are firmly believed. RadioActive's Maria Delmar Caoagdan was born there, and tells us what it's like.

In my family, whenever we walk through the woods, we say the phrase "tabi tabi po." Why? I don't know.

As a child, I did whatever my family told me and believed whatever they said. Occasionally, I'd also watch horror films that introduced me to Filipino mythological creatures. But after hearing my family's own paranormal encounters, I began to wonder if those myths really have some elements of truth.

RadioActive: Music For All Ages And Lessons From Opera Singers

Aug 8, 2014
KUOW Photo / Jenny Asarnow

Come with Noah Phillips-Reardon and Ernesto Morfin and hear two musical stories in this final podcast of RadioActive's Summer 2014 Workshop. Noah finds out why some shows in Seattle aren't all ages, and Ernesto learns life lessons from an opera singer. 

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

Don't Stop 'Til You Reach The Summit

Aug 7, 2014
Courtesy of Leo Egashira

Join Esa Tilija and Meghan O'Kelley for an inspiring podcast about individuality and living life to the fullest. Meghan shares how autistic high schooler Lorenzo learned to express himself through an unconventional hobby: impersonating Michael Jackson. Esa tells the story of how Leo, an avid backpacker, got a life-changing diagnosis that served as a call to truly live.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

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