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This Cape Cod radio station needs new voices. It wants kids to apply

Sandwich Community Radio has been streaming in earnest since the height of the COVID pandemic. Now, it's pushing to double its staff—and put more children on the air.

The newest disc jockey at Sandwich Community Radio is 13 years old with zero broadcasting experience. That's why he's perfect for the job.

The 24/7 streaming platform — whose slogan is "Radio Made By People, Not Algorithms" — is making a push this year to recruit and train children interested in hosting.

"Bringing on kids is diverse and exactly what we want the station to be," says Beth O'Rourke, who manages the operation remotely from her home in Truro.

Sandwich Community Radio technically isn't a station. There's no tower, no signal. Not anymore, anyway — its past radio life at Sandwich High School ended in 2021. Paula Johnson, executive director at Sandwich Community Television, launched the streaming offering at the height of the COVID pandemic.

Depending on when you listen, you'll hear an eclectic mix of folk, R&B, ambient and more, hosted by people living here on the Cape. There's even a program called Cape Cod Classic Countdown, featuring chart-toppers from random weeks of the past, hosted by AM radio veteran Mike Richard.

O'Rourke got her start in radio in 1998, when she moved to Cape Cod and hosted a show at community radio station WOMR.

"When I first started I thought, 'Oh gosh, this is like inviting strangers into my living room and sharing my record collection,'" she said. "It's intimate, yet anonymous."

But radio veterans are an anomaly at Sandwich Community Radio. O'Rourke manages 10 personalities and says she wants to double that number this year, with a focus on attracting children as young as 10.

"Kids are where it's at," O'Rourke said. "We want young people on the air with the goal of bringing them in, training them, and getting them comfortable with it."

Sandwich Community Radio is hosting an open house at noon on Saturday, February 10, at Sandwich Community Television, 11 Jan Sebastian Drive.

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.