Aspen High School on the air |

Aspen High School on the air

ASPEN – Commuters will hear a whole new kind of talk radio on their drive upvalley Monday, as students from Aspen High School take over the airwaves on KSNO.

“We’ll be right there in the middle of it all,” said AHS Principal Art Abelmann, referring to a live radio broadcast planned for 6-10 a.m. from the school commons. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and, I think, great for the kids and the community.”

In fact, Aspen High students, faculty and others will chat with KSNO’s “Morning Man” Don Chaney every Monday morning, thanks to a recent agreement with Alpine Bank to underwrite the radio spots.

“But this is not the Art Abelmann radio show … this is an opportunity for the kids to share what they have going on,” Abelmann said, adding that the idea for the radio broadcast came about as he and AHS Booster Club representatives were brainstorming about how to get the word out about what’s happening at Aspen High School.

“We thought a radio or TV broadcast would be really fun,” explained Abelmann. Soon after that conversation, Abelmann met Chaney, and things fell into place.

“I asked Don how difficult it would be to do a remote broadcast from the high school highlighting what we do. He said he just brings this laptop and it’s done,” Abelmann recalled.

The next step was finding an underwriter for the program; Alpine Bank stepped up.

“Alpine Bank has always been supportive of youth activities,” said Mary Ryerson, senior vice president of Alpine Bank and co-director of the Aspen High Booster club. “And a goal this year is to raise the exposure of Aspen High and the school district as a whole. This should go a long way toward reaching that goal.”

During Monday’s four-hour show – and subsequent Monday morning broadcasts, which will likely be shorter than the inaugural show and broadcast from both the KSNO studio and AHS commons – Abelmann and Ryerson believe the community is really going to get to know Aspen High, and vice versa.

“That’s a lot of commuter minutes each week that our students, or teachers, or myself get to interact with Don, talking about what’s going on at Aspen High, what’s coming up, what happened over the weekend,” he said.

But Abelmann doesn’t envision – nor does he want – the KSNO Monday morning show to become a mouthpiece for the school. He see it as a real opportunity for people to learn about the real Aspen High and its students.

“Yes, we’ll highlight exciting things like homecoming, the ski swap, back-to-school, and we’ll talk about what the Friday night football score was, but we also want to the kids to share what goes on in the life of an Aspen High student,” he said.

Ryerson also wants the radio spots to focus on the real Aspen.

“This is a place where kids are doing cool things all the time,” she said. “Not just the football stars and academic leaders … there are all sorts of kids doing all sorts of amazing things. That is who we want to shine the spotlight on.”

Of course Abelmann acknowledges that giving kids almost-free rein of a radio mic could be interesting.

“I’m not worried about what they might say … they can say whatever they want, as long as they can back it up.”

Abelmann actually worries more about getting kids to warm up to talking live on the radio.

“There will be a learning curve, but I think the right kids will be able to handle it. And I think that certain kids will realize they have a gift for this, that they really enjoy this type of work.”

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