U-Rock radio trains young DJs, then gets them on-air

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A weekend DJ on U-Rock Radio admitted he didn’t know much about ’80s rock music when he started.

Age might have something to do with it. Mitchel Denke is a senior at Kamiakin High School, born around the turn of the century. But joining the station has turned him into a fan of the music.

“I never thought I’d ever be mowing the lawn with Motley Crue playing in my head,” he said.

The teenager has Jeff Jacobs and Gary Shelton to thank for that.

Jacobs is the owner of Jacobs Radio, home to the 95.3 FM rock station. Shelton is the station’s general manager.

They created a program called Training the Kids, which allows students from Tri-Tech Skills Center to serve as the station’s disc jockeys from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The students receive school credits as part of the program, all the while helping them get real-world experience.

Training the Kids could be considered an internship program.

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Jacobs, who said he came up with idea about a year ago.

“I originally knew (radio instructor) Ed Dailey at Tri-Tech, and I brought the idea up to him: let the kids learn on an actual commercial station,” he said. “We went in and spoke with two classes. Ed went through the list of his top kids. Then we interviewed the kids on a 1-on-1 basis here.”

Dailey jumped at the chance.

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Jeffrey Morrow

Jeffrey Morrow

Jeff Morrow retired from the Tri-City Herald in 2015. Jeff spent 30 years on the Herald’s sports staff, including the last 19 as the sports editor. Although he likes to write, Jeff still finds time to travel, golf and take care of his family’s three dogs. He and his wife of 31 years, Connie, have two adult daughters.

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