Children invited to participate in WLOY program, “What Happens Next?”
| By Kate McLane
Loyola’s student-run radio station, WLOY, is launching a remote access program and radio show for children, What Happens Next?
In 2009, What Happens Next? was founded on the idea that children love to tell stories. The radio show originally operated on Loyola’s Evergreen campus and as an afterschool program at Govans Elementary School. The closing of schools during the pandemic caused the temporary shutdown of the program. As part of the virtual relaunch, WLOY will provide the beginning of a story for participants and listeners will create their own ending.
WLOY will record the children’s story endings for broadcast. The primary audience are school-aged children between 6 and 12 years old who are interested in developing their reading, writing, and communication skills. What Happens Next is available for free to any child.
“Our goal is to post new story prompts every week and have kids send in their endings before the next story posts,” said John Devecka, operations manager for WLOY. “We will produce the stories into a radio show that will debut every Saturday.”
WLOY was inspired to relaunch the children’s show as a way to give back to the Baltimore community. Jovial Njinyi, '22, host of What Happens Next, has been writing and recording prompts so that children can participate from any geographic location.
“It is critical to have a show for children because the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a challenge and resulted in everyone having to alter their lives and adapt to learning from home,” Njinyi said. “The now nationwide broadcast for kids can be a fun avenue for kids to express creativity and space to explore their imagination and enhance communication skills.”
The story prompts will be about going outdoors, hanging out with friends, and traveling with family.
“These are all things kids have missed out on for a while. It would bring back a sense of joy to think about these memories as they come up with endings to the stories,” Njinyi said.
Njinyi believes that in addition to having fun, children will also gain self-confidence, public speaking skills, higher literacy skills, and proficiency.
“In the time of COVID-19, it's also valuable for teachers to engage kids in imagination and learning a bit differently. This is also beneficial for parents to have their children participate in an activity that doesn’t require Zoom,” said Devecka.
What Happens Next? airs every Saturday and Sunday at noon. For Information on how to participate in What Happens Next? go to WLOY’s website.