Riverhead High School radio is off the air

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO Riverhead High School's student radio crew last year: (from right) general manager Dave Talmage, chief engineer Sean Roche, general manager Kyle Kratoville and maintenance guy Steven BackelThe student-run Riverhead High School radio station has been off the air for the entire school year so far due to lack of a faculty advisor.The station, which began running in the spring of 2009, was called WRHS and was located at 94.9 FM on the dial. It also broadcast over the internet, running live around noon most days and then streaming archived programs at other times.

As of now the station is broadcasting dead air.

“The station has since been shut down by the school officials due to a lack of personnel,” said Kyle Kratoville, who was the general manager of the station. “The studio is locked up and off limits. I’ve exhausted all of my options in trying to get the school to reopen it,”

He said the station operated throughout most of the 2009-10 school year, but was shut down last May “until further notice.”

When the station first went on the air, teacher Bob Mills was  the advisor, but he’s no longer available and a replacement has not been found.

Principal David Zimbler said the students cannot operate the station without an adult advisor.

He said he met with Kyle this week to discuss the issue with him and said that if an advisor can be found, the station can get back on the air. The difficulty is that most teachers teach during the day, when the advisor would be needed.

Mr. Zimbler said it is possible to have more than one teacher act as advisors and split the duties.

Kyle says there is great interest among students in reviving the station.

“We had 27 students on the station’s roster at the end of last year,” he said. “Students ask me everyday, when is the radio station going to get back on the air? If they gave me the go-ahead, it could be back on the air tomorrow afternoon. It bothers me that all these students are interested and I feel like I’m letting them down.”

Kyle said he has donated sophisticated equipment to the station which would enable it to do remote broadcasts and has spent $600 of his own money on the station.

Kyle has been working as a disc jockey on WRIV 1390 in Riverhead for four years and his father, Jack, also was a disc jockey.

In fact, his father started a radio station in Riverhead High School when he was a student in 1978, although it only broadcast inside the cafeteria. Kyle said WRHS’s signal made it as far as points in Aquebogue, Flanders and Calverton.

“I’m hoping, but at this point, I don’t see much to be hopeful for,” Kyle said.

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