Lowell students continue radio coverage amid pandemic

Kent County

LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — The challenges faced by schools during the pandemic are many.

One of the hardest safety protocols for high school football fans has been how social distancing has kept so many out of the stadium.

“I saw it as a great opportunity. It’s a way to reach out to the community even more,” said Lowell High School senior Peter Kooi.

When the MHSAA gave the go ahead for a football season, the students of WRWW 92.3 knew they had to live up to their slogan: “We Gotcha Covered.”

“This program’s changed my life. I’ve been in it for four years,” Kooi said.

Kooi and Toby Robinson, also a senior, have been bringing the action on the field to the people of Lowell for the last few years.

“Toby does play-by-play for the football games, I’m the color commentator,” Kooi said.

Before Kooi and Robinson were behind the microphone, there were aspiring Red Arrows students broadcasting the games since WRWW started streaming 15 years ago. With the onset of the pandemic, the team knew this year was going to be different.

“We found out right away that our broadcasts were extremely important because that was the only way we were going to get that out there to our listening public,” said Al Eckman, WRWW station manager.

Lowell High School’s radio station, WRWW 92.3.

Eckman volunteers his time in the roll of station manager. He retired as the head of security a decade and a half ago and that’s when WWRW was born.

“If I stay a little bit younger than my age, it’s because of the students,” said Eckman, who is 77 years old.

He’s in charge of about 30 students who meet after school, don’t earn any academic credits and simply do it because they love it.

“If someone took music away, I would be probably broken,” said Maya Kemp, a Lowell High School freshman who’s been with WRWW since middle school.

“Many of the times, I choose songs that I like to listen to. So, it’s almost like you’re getting a bit of me in each show,” Kemp said.

Eckman says the students can do and play, within reason, what they want to with their time slot on WRWW.

“If they want to do a talk show, that can be it. If they want to play music, they can do that. If they want a combination of those two, they can do that,” Eckman said.

Kemp’s show is on every other Wednesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

From music to play-by-play and color analysis, if you don’t have a ticket when Friday night lights shine at Red Arrow Stadium, you can check out these budding broadcasters.

“I’d love to do it professionally, in college, it’s something I dream about,” said Robinson.

Whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or live on the air, these Red Arrows want you to know they’ve ‘gotcha covered.’

“(It) gives me incentives, keep my grades up, keeps me just pushing to be the best I can be,” Kooi said.

WWRW has a music library of 46,000 songs from donated CDs and a subscription to a service that allows them to play more modern music. If you are interested in donating CDs to their collection, contact Lowell High School.

You can listen to WRWW at Lowell Radio.org on their low power radio signal 92.3.

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