We live in a time of “firsts” and for the first time on SiriusXM, high school students will be a part of the production and overall presentation of a national radio program with the launch of SLAM Radio by the students at the Sports Leadership & Management (SLAM) Academy in Miami.
"We have a special generation before us. It is the first generation that understands that it can be vocal and actually be heard,” said Larry “The Amigoâ” Milian, director and faculty advisor of the SLAM Radio program in a candid interview.
Milian spoke with host Ryan Kairalla, on the Charter School Superstars podcast by Academica Media. SLAM Radio is the first SiriusXM satellite radio station run by high school students. "They are learning as the station is on,” said Milian. Milian prides this program as project-based learning relating it to on the job training. “It’s poetry in motion,” he says.
Since its launch in December 2018, SLAM Radio runs 24/7, 365 days a year on SiriusXM channel 145. SLAM Academy first applied to the radio station through a competitive application process sponsored by SiriusXM and was awarded the station. The station has a focus on sports, entertainment, and journalism.
Milian has worked in the radio industry as a sports radio personality and longtime host and was introduced into the education field after marrying into a family of educators. In the interview with Kairalla, he describes how this venture compares to none of the other work he’s done.
“This is so much different than anything I’ve ever done in radio before, but it’s very fulfilling. You see in their eyes, you see the students really eager to learn. They want to be a part of something,” said Milian. Milian describes how the students get to discuss things they think are important and expand their creativity which is his bottom line.
The 100 students currently involved in the program work behind the scenes to produce the live show and work in voiceover booths to produce podcast content as well as in the live radio show portion, editing and producing live updates. They also have opportunities to run the all the equipment the radio station uses and practice public speaking.
“In empowering them, it goes deeper than radio,” said Milian.
The biggest supporter of the satellite station thus far? It’s none other than Armando Christian Perez—the charter school network’s co-founder more commonly known as Pitbull.
“It’s been a marvel just to watch their eyes light up and get excited about something there a part of,” said Milian. “The ambitions that this is a life training.”
Kelsey Nelson is the manager for campaigns and publications at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.