Consider a Pledge to C89.5, The Student-Run Radio Station That Brought You Lady Gaga

Last year's senior Madeline Presland in the studio.
In 2011, Erika Hobart reported that Nathan Hale High School's student run radio station, C89.5, was turning 40. It was big news: The popular dance music station has been a early indicator of major music trends for decades--it once hosted Lady Gaga before her pop stardom--and is "one of only eight stations nationally that determine the Billboard Magazine Top 40 Dance Music chart."

The station is currently at the tail end of a 10-day long pledge drive with a goal of $140,000. Danielle Hayes, student program director, says: "it looks like we're going to make it. We might have to extend the drive through Sunday, but it's looking good."

"We're about 75 percent there," says general director Gregg Neilson, who has been coaching students at the station for nearly 35 years. "We are funded through several sources including grants, corporate sponsorships, and twice-yearly membership drives, and need to raise about $400,000 a year. The funding from this drive will go towards the operating costs of staff members, equipment, supplies, service and contracted services, licensing, streaming, and a full time teacher and teacher's assistant."

When asked how many of his students go on to careers in broadcasting, Neilson replied: "Pages and pages of people. Out of a regular class of 25 students, about 5 or 6 are seniors. Virtually all them further their education in mass media, broadcasting, television production, or media of some kind. My seniors, almost to the man or to the woman, each take this passion with them."

Hayes is a high school senior who plans to study broadcasting at Evergreen college and cites Mike West, C89.5 alum and radio veteran for the likes of KMTT and CBS, as a role model. She says the radio program is: "A fantastic training program and community."

More information on the station and their pledge drive can be found at their website,

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