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KJZZ Putting Teens Behind the Mic

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There's always a lot of news coverage about so-called "teen issues" -- in the paper, on-line, on TV and on the radio. From teen pregnancies and homelessness to video-game violence and, of course, teen shopping habits, it's an endless topic of debate and discussion...among adults.

That's about to change.

KJZZ (i.e. 91.5, the talk radio station that airs NPR and some of the best local coverage around) is about to let teens speak for themselves...about themselves.

The local station has created an outreach program of sorts, called the Teen Radio Project that will let teenagers from Dobson and South Mountain High Schools learn the medium, get behind the mic, and get their voices out there.

The first edition will feature Dobson High students Dustin Little (who says he listens to KJZZ a lot because his mom always has it on in the car) and Libby Alonge. The two will discuss the depressed economy's effects on teenagers during next Thursday's Here and Now at 11 a.m.

Of course, the adults running KJZZ have another motive: To recruit the next generation of public-radio journalists. And it looks like they might have hit on a group of hard-hitters with this project. These students, who will be reporting on some of the most pressing issues facing their generation, chose the topics themselves.

No Britney Spears custody battles here. Maybe the future of the media industry isn't looking so bleak, after all.

Rene Gutel, who worked on the Teen Radio Project, is a New Times contributor.

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