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Youth Radio


Youth Radio

Contact details

Ellin O'Leary, President/Executive Producer
Beverly Mire, Deputy Director
1809 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703, USA
Tel: +1 510 841-5123
Email: youthradio@youthradio.org
Website: www.youthradio.org


United States of America


Youth Radio was created to provide young people with access to the media, especially young people of colour on low incomes.

Aims and objectives

Youth Radio promotes young people's intellectual, creative and professional growth through training and access to media.


Young people aged 11 and above from the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including off-site training in middle and high schools, and in incarcerated settings. Training and technical assistance is also conducted for community groups throughout the state of California, and we have a national network of stringers throughout the country.

Target audience

Young people and adults.

Wider beneficiaries

All young people, especially low-income youth of colour.

Involvement of children

Young people are involved in all stages including recruitment, training and production. A Youth Advisory Committee is active in all decisions.

Summary of project

• Radio training, which results in programming on local, national and international outlets including San Francisco, stations KQED, KCBS; National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Pacifica National Network; British Broadcasting Corporation; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

• Web training, which results in the design and maintenance of www.youthradio.org. Journalistic training, which results in a monthly column for the San Francisco Chronicle, and on request from newspapers throughout the United States of America.

• Outreach activities which result in training and technical assistance in an incarcerated setting, at local high schools and middle schools, and at community groups throughout the state of California.

• College-based activities, including meetings with college counsellors; writing applications and essays; seeking scholarships which result in acceptance to junior colleges and universities


We consider the organizations listed in the summary (above) as partners.

Internship partners include:

• National Public Radio

• KYLD-San Francisco

• KMEL-San Francisco

• Skywalker Ranch

• American Zoetrope Studios

• Lost and Found Sound


We are a non-profit organization, so our funding comes from an assortment of foundations and corporate sponsors.

Strengths of project

Bringing the youth perspective to all forms of media and our model of youth teaching youth.


Looking forward, funding in an uncertain economic climate will be a big challenge.


Evaluation and strategic planning are in progress.

Lessons learned

• We learned what we instinctively knew: that no matter what their background, when working together to get their voices heard, the barriers of race and income come tumbling down.

• Start with a core team of youth. Trust their instinct. Have concrete plans. Have a curriculum ready. If you intend to do media training have contacts in the industry. Have a clean, respectful place for them to work. Always have food for them!


• Any local environment is enriched when its young people take leadership roles. Being able to communicate effectively through the media not only brings positive attention to the individual young people, it brings attention to their community's needs and triumphs.

• When young people are able to transmit their thoughts through any form of media, they become empowered and encouraged to work harder to better themselves, their community and the world.

• Additionally, they open themselves to the attitudes and ideas of their peers, and learn how to translate them effectively.


Youth Radio devoted its entire website to the youth perspective of the 11 September 2001 disaster and its aftermath. Young people from all over the world submitted essays on how it would affect their world and their future.

In 2000, Youth Radio won the prestigious duPont/Columbia Silver Baton for its series 'Emails to Kosovo', which chronicled the life of a teenage girl living in that war-torn country. The young woman has since come to the United States of America and attends a top university. She also remains politically active in Kosovo. Youth Radio won the 2001 Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio and Television News Directors' Association for its educational series 'Making the Grade'. Youth Radio won the 2001 George Foster Peabody Award, the highest honor given to journalistic organizations.

Good Ideas

The importance of peer training.

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