In honor of Radio Rookies 10 year anniversary, another "where are they now?" update from a former Radio Rookie. Jordan Teklay was the first teenager to ever come to the program with a passion for radio already instilled. In fact, Jordan loved radio so much, at 15 he became legally emancipated from his parents and moved on his own from California to New York to try to make it as the next shock jock. He finished his Radio Rookies story three years ago and since then he’s been doing everything possible to get back on the air, like spending hours refining and sending out audition tapes.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Radio Rookies, we're bringing you updates from Rookies whose stories aired years ago. Jesus Gonzalez and Jose Lopez were in one of the earliest Rookies workshops, in 2001. At the time, they were working as youth organizers at the community group Make the Road New York in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Almost a decade has passed and they're still there. But their group has grown to more than 70 young members.
Today we hear from Samr “Rocky” Tayeh, who first went on the radio in 2003 to report on his life as an obese teenager. Since then, Rocky had weight loss surgery and dropped 300 pounds. Now he’s trying out some of the things that were impossible for someone so overweight, like learning how to ride a bike.
Ten years ago WNYC’s Radio Rookies program began putting microphones in the hands of New York City teenagers to help them tell their own stories on the air. Linda Lee reported on her dream of being a TV news anchor. Listen to what happened next. Often the Radio Rookies program sparks an interest in broadcast journalism. For former Rookie Linda Lee, it confirmed her dream of becoming a TV news anchor—just like her hero at the time, WPIX’s Kaity Tong. Linda has since graduated from college and is working in TV news, just not in front of the camera.
The New York City subway system is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Midwood Graduate Rookie Samr "Rocky" Tayeh reports on what subways mean to teenagers in the city.
This summer makes ten years since WNYC started inviting teenagers to tell their own stories on the radio. Radio Rookies grew into an award-winning and audience-inspiring series on WNYC. Usually you hear the teenager's stories during Morning Edition, or maybe in the afternoon on All Things Considered. But today and tomorrow, we're broadcasting an hour-long Radio Rookies special.
As a little kid, Samr "Rocky" Tayeh was the adorable, chubby boy at home; but at school classmates called him "Barney", the big purple dinosaur. Rocky didn't hide in a corner and wait for the bullying to stop, he learned how to use his sharp tongue to shut other kids down, but sometimes he takes it too far. Rocky heads out to a park in Brooklyn to talk with kids about how they survive teasing.
For Jesus, it’s one of those nights when you’re young that almost sends your life in an entirely different direction. This is a story about the most basic kind of survival.
When seniors at a small public high school in the Bronx cast their votes for "Best Couple" earlier this year, they chose a pair they admire but who definitely defy the stereotype of best couple.
In many ways Valentine's Day is just as significant for people who are pining for love, as for those who have it. So, in honor of unrequited love, Radio Rookie Keith Harris shares a story about an all-consuming, exhilarating, and over-the-top high school crush.
Radio Rookie Rocky Tayeh reports on the City Council's latest effort to improve education in NYC – a hearing held especially for students to testify about the state of their schools.
During the Berlin Philharmoniker’s 17 day stint in New York this month, the orchestra is working with several of the city’s “high brow” cultural institutions – Carnegie Hall, MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Department of Education. Reporter Veralyn Williams spent the last 3 weeks following a group of high school students as they prepare to perform this weekend with members of the Berlin Philharmoniker. They’re created an original work inspired by Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring."
Midwood Graduate Rookie Michael Lewis comments on the war in Iraq. He had opposed it all along -- until he saw something on TV that made him stop and think.
By the time Samr “Rocky” Tayeh was a senior in high school, he weighed more than 500 pounds. He needed special desks in all his classrooms and an elevator pass to get up a few flights of stairs. His family continually pressured him to lose weight – something he felt utterly incapable of doing -- and he felt like a “monster.” So, two months before his high school graduation, Rocky made a decision to have weight loss surgery and to – as he saw it -- “save his life.”
The racist tirade by comedian and "Seinfeld" actor Michael Richards has once again sparked a debate over the N-word, especially among black people. Reverend Jesse Jackson is calling for a complete ban of the word. Comedian Damon Wayans was fined several hundred dollars after using the word more than 15 times in a recent performance. He told the audience "I'll be damned if the white man uses that word last."
Ten years ago my high school was rated one of the twelve most dangerous in New York City. Back when I was in junior high I heard it was still like that, that people got stabbed, jumped, even killed. It sounded more like I was going to jail instead of a school. Now that I graduated I see the school as a safer place. But I wasn’t sure if the school actually was safer or because I’m older now I know how to defend myself.
Midwood is a neighborhood that has a growing Muslim immigrant community. Three Muslim boys from the Midwood workshop, two Pakistani and one Palestinian, reflect on what it's like for them living in America.
Eighteen year-old Radio Rookie Shakima Swain - a first time voter - finds out what it means to be a Republican at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
A couple years ago on her first Mother's Day, Harlem Radio Rookie Janelle Lewis shared with WNYC listeners her first experience with motherhood. She even shared the sounds of herself giving birth to her daughter Jandora. For Father's Day, 24-year-old Janelle contemplates how different these two holidays are in her household.
Bushwick Rookie Jesus Gonzalez (with reporting help from Hunts Point Rookie Janesse Nieves) advises Mayor Bloomberg on how to improve New York City schools. His report draws a response from former public advocate Mark Green.
On May 12, 2002, Janelle Lewis' commentary about giving birth to her first daughter Jandora aired as part of a Mother's Day Special on WNYC’s Radiolab. Right after Janelle gives birth, she calls out to her mom for the tape-recorder.
13-year-old Desmond was born with AIDS in Botswana. He lost both his parents to the disease and is being raised by his Aunt and Uncle. One of WNYC's Radio Rookies, 15-year-old Antoine Bazilio recorded this interview with Desmond during the UN AIDS conference in New York.
The Rookies share their thoughts about the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11th.