Radio Rookies is a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

Since 1999, Radio Rookies has been conducting workshops across New York, in predominantly under-resourced neighborhoods, training young people to use words and sounds to tell true stories. Upon completion, the Rookies' documentaries air on WNYC on WNYC's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Radio Rookies typically runs one or two workshops a year, each lasting anywhere from four to eight months. During the workshops, Rookie Reporters learn everything about radio journalism: from how to conduct an interview and develop a story to how to craft a script and digitally edit their audio. There is no fee, and the program provides all the equipment and instruction needed.

The Radio Rookies workshops are held at partnering community organizations in the city. Past workshops have been held at:

West Brooklyn Community High School (Brooklyn)
McBurney YMCA (Manhattan)
9/11 Memorial and Museum (Manhattan)
Seamen’s Society for Children and Families (Staten Island)
Flushing YMCA (Queens)
The Next Generation Center (Bronx)
High School for Global Citizenship (Brooklyn)
The Door (Manhattan)
Project Hospitality (Staten Island)
SAYA! (South Asian Youth Action) (Queens)
The Cove (Community Organized with a Vision of Excellence) (Bronx)
Council of Pakistan Organization (COPO) (Brooklyn)
Grand Street Settlement (Manhattan)
The Point Community Development Center (Bronx)
Make the Road by Walking Inc. (Brooklyn)

Coverage of youth in the media rarely represents what young people are truly facing, thinking and saying. By helping young people reach WNYC's audience of more than one million weekly listeners, WNYC's Radio Rookies has become an integral part of the station.

Radio Rookies is supported by Axe-Houghton Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundations, Ford Foundation, Fred L. Emerson Foundation, Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust, Margaret Neubart Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Newman's Own Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, Smart Family Foundation, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Time Warner, and the Tow Foundation.

Radio Rookies has received several awards over the years. 

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Show Archive

Show Staff

  • Kaari Pitkin - Senior Producer, Radio Rookies

    Kaari Pitkin is the Senior Producer of Radio Rookies, WNYC's Peabody award-winning youth journalism program that teaches high school student to report and produce radio documentaries inspired by their own experiences.

  • Courtney Stein - Producer

    Courtney began working with young people in Minneapolis, where she started a youth-run restaurant in the park across the street from her apartment. She moved to New York to study social work, then went to Maine to learn to produce radio documentaries. In 2007 Courtney combined her radio and youth work backgrounds and joined Radio Rookies as a producer. Now she assists in teaching radio and multimedia workshops and works alongside Rookie Reporters to produce stories for WNYC and NPR.

  • Caitlin Pierce