The radio was always playing in the school-age classroom at the Vacaville, Ca., KinderCare center. When teacher Liam McEvilly’s students got tired of hearing songs they didn’t like and constant commercials, he thought of a simple solution: start a radio station all their own.
“The kids came up with the name, Kool Kidz Radio, and we held a logo design contest,” said Liam, a former radio show host. “And we came up with the tagline ‘We’re Kickin’ It,’ because that’s what we do when we’re listening to the radio—kick it.”
Since their first broadcast, Kool Kidz Radio has snowballed into a local phenomenon, even gaining national and global listeners. Every two weeks, Liam pulls the listener data and the class plots their listeners on maps in the classroom. So far, they’ve attracted listeners from California, Oregon, New York, London, Russia, Japan, and many more.
Parents at the center and Regional Vice President Brian Cuda boast KKR bumper stickers on their cars. Center Director Annie Stevens always has the station playing in her office. Liam even got the Vacaville Mayor to voice a Kool Kidz ad for their station.
“I never expected it to go this far,” said Liam. “The kids listen to it when they’re at home cleaning their rooms, or when they’re in the car.” Once the station earns 90 hours of listening a day, they’ll add commercials which will buy musical instruments for their classroom.
The school-agers choose all the music featured on the radio station, which is a compilation of top 40, Disney music, dance music, and more.
“Whenever we have a parent touring the center, the kids in my classroom can’t wait to talk about the radio station,” said Liam. “They’re always asking for it, and if a song like ‘Cha Cha Slide’ or ‘Watch me Nae Nae’ come on, we all start dancing.”
When Liam lived in the United Kingdom he hosted a radio show, and continued to host his own internet radio program when he moved to the United States. But his true passion is teaching.
“I love teaching,” he said. “I have a degree in elementary education but I like KinderCare because we teach children and develop them socially and emotionally. This is the best job I’ve ever had.”
Liam records his students introducing the radio station on his phone and uploads them to the station. The results have been phenomenal—Kool Kidz Radio pulls in at least 64 hours of listening each week, and keeps the kids engaged and moving. The kids have even recorded advertisements for the center for their station, telling interested listeners how to schedule a tour.
Tune in now to support Kool Kidz Radio—every listen helps the classroom toward their 90 hour goal, and adds a new gold star to the listener map.