Summit launches radio program to help stay connected

Summit Charter School hit the airwaves earlier this month with the launch of “The Bear,” a radio station broadcasting online to students and families during the school closure. Click HERE to tune into The Bear.

Summit Music Teacher Bart Gilleland began the program as a way to stay in touch with students.

“I started The Bear, originally, as a way to maintain a sense of normality in the daily lives of our learning community,” said Gilleland. “The Friday Round-Up is a Summit tradition, and one evening last week, I had the wild idea to broadcast a ‘virtual’ Round-Up, I normally DJ Round-Up every Friday. I got permission from Mr. Pusch, so here we are. I, like our entire faculty and staff, love and miss our kids: maybe this brings us closer in community with one another? I can’t thank Mr. Pusch enough for his leadership and vision in letting this little station come to life.”

Gilleland’s morning program is called “The Bear Den,” airs Monday-Thursday from 8-8:30 a.m. The format has evolved into music, talk, funny news, weather, and traffic. The traffic portion is comedic as Gilleland gets his information on Google live traffic.

The afternoon segment is called “Afternoon Snack” and runs from 2:30-3:15 p.m. It is essentially the same as the morning show, with the exception of the Pledge routine. During the afternoon show, Gilleland takes requests, gives shout-outs, and can broadcast pre-recorded material.

Using two laptops, headphones, and broadcasting software, Gilleland aired his first show on March 13 when he broadcast Summit’s Friday’s Round-Up. He said the inaugural broadcast went well.

“My initial Round-Up show overloaded my free capacity on the broadcasting service I was using, so I paid up and we had nearly 50 separate streams listening simultaneously,” said Gilleland. “Parents, kids, and faculty have been generally very positive about The Bear.”

Summit Head of School Kurt Pusch said it’s amazing to see the creativity and innovation of Summit’s teachers and students come through during these challenging times.

“Summit is such a special school in large part because of the sense of community we have on campus,” said Pusch. “When Mr. Gilleland proposed the idea of live streaming our Round-Up on Friday, I think a lot of us were excited by the opportunity to keep our community connected. Traditions like Round-Up are also important parts of our school culture. Keeping traditions alive can help bring a sense of normalcy amidst so much uncertainty around us. I’m continually inspired by the many ways our teachers, students, and families have kept the Summit spirit kindled these past few weeks, and this is just another example.”

The Bear is in full swing and Gilleland said he’s not sure what it could turn into moving forward.

“As for continuing the program? That’s a great question, I don’t know,” said Gilleland. “I love providing this to our community, and I have some theater students who are interested in getting on the air, so maybe there’s a class lurking in the background, waiting to be taught, in broadcast radio.”

Pictured at the top of the article is Summit K-5 Music Teacher Bart Gilleland broadcasting Summit’s new radio Program, The Bear Den.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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