Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WJEW: Jewish Teen Radio from the North Coast

Detroit Jewish News cover showing WJEW teen DJOne of the great things about the Internet is that, in many cases, ambition and endurance trump expertise and infrastructure. (that was a mouthful, don't forget that I'm a scientist and get paid to say things like that) What I'm getting on about is Jewish teens putting together media outlets that a decade ago would have required huge investments in capital. I posted yesterday about Oypod, a Jewish teen podcast from California. Today's post is about WJEW, Jewish Teen Radio.

WJEW is an Internet radio station launched recently by Temple Israel, a Reform Jewish congregation in Bloomfield, Michigan (The North Coast). According to an article in the Detroit Jewish News, the station was launched by the TI cantor and a high school student in the TI religious school. The student, Corey Berkowitz, put together the equipment and Internet package to get the radio station launched. Specifically, WJEW is broadcasting on

The result is mix of music, interviews, DJ banter, and Jewish programs. I listened in for an hour or two at work yesterday and was quite impressed. The music was, for me, hit or miss. As I've mentioned before, the 'contemporary Jewish' sound of folks like Rick "The Ultimate in Jewish Rock" Recht doesn't do much for me but I was quite taken by a Alisa Fineman track. The interviews, though, were very professional and very engaging. I half-heard a couple while I was working, but stopped work to listen to an interview with Rabbi Shmuley of the Discovery Channel's "Shalom in the Home" series. Some high school kids put that together? Whew. Nice work. Best of all though, and this will sound odd, were the station Id's and filler. A lot of the Internet radio stations I listen to are just playlists (The Sameach Music and SomethingJewish Show podcasts being happy exceptions). I miss the DJ voice and feeling that someone is having as much fun spinning records/cd's and as I am listening to them. The WJEW fills aren't as real-deal as the podcasts I mentioned, but it's still an improvement over a lot of the other feeds out there.

The folks at TI hope that this will just be the beginning and that other synagogues will be inspired to start stations. I do too. I felt pretty isolated as a kid in a small town with just my local synagogue. The current crop of Jewish blogs and podcasts would have helped me out a lot. 75 synagogue radio stations hosted, in part, by kids my age would have meant the world to me.

On a side note, while TI's claim that no other synagogue hosts a radio station might be true, Live365 does have a number of other excellent Jewish stations including Radio Free Klezmer, Nusach, Nusach2, and the B'nai Brith station.

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