OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Rock uP Radio - Tune in on your commute!

Rock uP is an idea for a youth produced radio program at your local college. (The big idea would be to scale this to include affiliates on university campuses and within teen produced radio stations nationally.) The idea behind Rock uP Radio is that youth can be ambassadors of a network which explores, supports, and promotes offline and online projects that have potential to connect themselves and seniors in meaningful ways. Rock uP Radio will be the vehicle to bring these ideas directly to the homes of seniors who listen to it's broadcasts, making the projects discussed available for their use.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
54 15

Written by

How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Rock Up Radio is a radio program produced by youth which explores, online and offline, programming that connects youth with adults 50+, via service, learning and bi- directional mentoring.


July 31, 2014 

Tech Tip Call In
A 15 year old answers questions about using an IPad.
Interesting learning - Doing the prototype helped convince this teen that he has something to teach and offer seniors.  Perhaps folk that plan to enlist teens as mentors should consider roll playing as part of the training component. It seems that doing facilitates understanding of what skills one really has that are valuable to share with others.
Being a teen he also tweaked the name of the segment.  Ownership of something is a strong motivator.  Good to remember when engaging teens to mentor older adults.  Include them in the process of program design. 

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words 
See the images above that accompany this piece.  This is an example of the possibilites for an expanded media platform for this radio program.  Podcasts can be posted with images to go along with them.  This piece could also be placed in a partner magazine/newsletter.
It could be also be part of a larger program highlighting a dance mentoring prorgram in the community which encourages fitness, flexibility, and positively effects memory - as an example.

July 28, 2014 
What's Going On?
This is an example of a mentoring project developed on OpenIDEO.

July 27, 2014 
Breakfast and Blogs, Segment 1 
Let's Talk Social Media - "A Clip About Facebook"
Playing around with what the possibilities are for youth to mentor seniors on air regarding social media and blogs.

(Audio is linked via a Facebook page.)

Recording a compelling piece is challenging. (not too successful here) Much work is necessary in terms of content prep, outlining the show and review.  It is important to consider background noise and sounds. Sounds other than voice can enhance the listener's experience making it more dramatic and compelling. (Something to aim for.)  
It takes work to come off as natural.  

Youth can learn much about what skills they have to offer older adults by roll playing.  Listening to playback might also be a teaching tool.
Radio is team work so in this aspect it is itself a good set up for mentoring relationships.

                   Rock uP Radio

The seniors that this challenges hopes to serve is a mixed group when it comes to ease of use and familiarity with technology.  They access information through a variety of media, one being radio.  Radio 
is used by  both youth and seniors for entertainment and news.

Many college campuses have student run radio stations.
Rock uP Radio is an idea which explores using the power of radio to get the word out on all the great ideas that are being developed in this challenge, in addition to programs that already exist locally and nationally.   It will highlight projects that service the ongoing needs of adults 50+ as they change careers, adapt to changes in family support and structure and to the effects of aging on their bodies and their minds.
It will itself be a mentoring project that builds community between youth and seniors.

In essence Rock uP Radio will be a place to have a conversation between youth and the +50 adult community.  It will be a hub where connections can be made referring folk to projects in their local communities.  It will enable youth and older adults to give and receive knowledge, skills, companionship, and ideas.

The radio show will be a vehicle to report on local and national mentoring projects.  It will also itself function as a mentoring opportunity.  Students and seniors can collaborate on reporting of stories in the community as they each use different skills, teaching and learning from each other.   

Begin with those that are already there.
Youth who are already engaged in radio as a medium of expression and youth that are already working with seniors in the community.  Bring them together to brainstorm on this project.  When the radio program airs it will engage other youth as they listen to stories of positive experiences, shared by their peers who are connecting with seniors in the community. 

Motivations to Participate
Motivated to do community service - give back
Motivated to gain school credits
Building a CV for a future job
Motivated to learn broadcasting, interest in media as a career

Motivated to use their skillset, either in a job postition working on the program or as a volunteer.
Motivated to increase their skillset, working and learning side by side with youtth mentors in various programs, including the radio show.
Motivated to engage and connect with youth and other seniors.

Tech Tips Call in Hour
Perhaps pair this with a you tube channel? 

Let's Talk Social Media - Why, What, How
"A Clip About Facebook"
What is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? 
Why we (youth) use it.
What are the possibilitiies with each? How do they work?  Does this have the potential to bring me joy? (seniors)

Social Media Updates
What's Going On?  and The Best of the Best...
Youth interview seniors who describe their experiences utilizing different Youth/Senior services.
Youth highlight youth/senior service projects that they find on the web.
Youth interview youth on their experiences working on these projects and on their experiences building projects.

Time for Stories
Youth interview seniors on a variety of topics which include - Stories of immigration, Stories of work, Women reflecting on issues that have effected them in their life time, Stories of family, frienship.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words - Seniors are invited to come to the studio with a photograph which they will describe on the air and share the story behind it.

Youth/Senior Roundtables
Topics to include: current affairs, arts on campus,  senior needs within the community, how seniors can assist youth as they contemplate career choices and begin to job search.
What's Healthy?
Students in the fields of medicine, nutrition and public health provide information on topics relevant to seniors.  Local health and wellness resources will be discussed and shared.

Club of the Month 
The show host interviews youth representatives of campus clubs that sponsor special activities for seniors on a periodic basis.

Musical Roundtable 
Intergenerational conversation on music.  What music speaks to different generations and why?  How is the music of today influenced by music of past eras?  Music as examples will be played during the show.

Breakfast and Blogs
What is a blog?
How to find blogs that interest you while drinking your morning coffee.

Career Services - Helping Each Other Navigate Career Paths 
Roundtable on using the web to job search, using your contacts to network - including alumni from your University.

On Air Answering Service 
What do you need?  What are your interests?  Ask us to help find you resources to fulfill your needs, big and small.  We have a repository of programs to get you started.

Co Hosting shows - Youth/Senior Hosts
Comedy Hour - Youth/ Senior comedians


Build a media platform. 
The local radio shows and their content can be the backbone for a wider publishing platform which can include a website featuring videos, podcasts and photographs, and print media such as magazines and newsletters.  "My thinking was that curated and voted content submitted to a parent site/repository is a way of achieving scale and showcasing the impact of local mentorship schemes to a wider audience."   Charles

Suggestion to use the app  Flipboard as a means to self curate content from the parent publishing platform.   Charles
(A tutorial on how to use Flipboard can be a featured segment on the radio program.   Meena)

As pointed out and suggested by a professional radio newscaster: 
Many youth are curating their own listening experiences.  Podcasts are therefore important. Consider an online show. Build up an audience.  This can then become a marketing tool to move to traditional radio going forward.


"Youth and seniors that are working on the local programs, developing content, reporting stories - the mentor membership community - can vote on the best pieces, "likes", curating them.  These segments can be placed on the parent website as podcasts, videos, photographs, and in it's print media.  Voting can take place using social media, or perhaps call in for seniors who are not online."  Charles

Listeners of the radio shows, and users of the media platform, can post online reviews which can encourage others to check out the programming.  Charles

Competitions can encourage participation which will increase impact.
Students can compete for best show locally or regionally.  They can vote using social media and post what is great about their program - how they have been motivated by the programming and what mentor work they are participating in.  This can be displayed as a map on the parent website.  A leader board can be displayed.  University alumni can also participate giving the opportunity to hear about what new or continued mentoring opportunities they are participating in.

Surveys can be done at the mentoring program sites.  Enlist the sites to survey new youth mentors on how they learned about and were motivated to particpate in their program.  Measure the number of self referred after hearing the radio show, or from friends who were exposed to the idea on the radio show vs. all others who sign up.

LEARNINGS from a professional radio newscaster.
I reached out and had a brief conversation with the News and Public Affairs Director at an FM radio station in NYC.  He also teaches radio broadcasting skills to university students.

Important things he pointed out:
It is essential to know who the audience demographic is for any station you target.  Is it seniors?  If so youth probably won't be listening to it.
Not all college stations have audiences beyond the campus itself.
Many youth are now creating their own listening experiences. They curate and listen at their leisure. Podcasts would be important. It might be a good idea to put a show online and grow an audience in that way. It is a good way to market the idea going forward once you have an audience base.
NPR seems to be attracting a younger audience these days and a program such as this might be a good fit on public radio. (Anecdotal. I also read about this trend.) -  Public Radio Exchange, mentioned as a place to investigate as a way to market content to stations. 
He was not aware of a program that bridges the gap between generations. (might exist but he was not aware off hand.)
"It is interesting because it can be a youth broadcasting training program that includes content from both perspectives."

Thank you to the entire team!
Thanks to  Aaryaman for participating in prototyping, on the phone, from Texas.   
Thank you to Charles whose insights and ideas for scaling up and measuring quality/impact built this idea considerably. 



What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

What ideas do you have for programming? Are there any Radio Hosts in this community who can provide insight, know how etc. to this idea? How can we use social media to spread this idea?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Congratulations Bettina! Really neat idea and great to see your prototyping. I hope you can move to the next steps with the prototype.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi A-L. Thank you!
and thanks for the feedback on the prototyping. I enjoyed working and collaborating on it. It was fun and it gave me insight on how it is not so easy to make a compelling audio piece.
Will think about next steps.

Keep me in the loop for any meet ups in the Fall!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard


I'm sure it was fun and insightful. Keep *us* posted on how the next steps go (it'd be great to read an impact story :-) ).
We would definitely keep you updated of the meet ups in the Fall. There are plans for a few openSTORMS.
If you have time during the day, you are welcome to join us on September 8th:

View all comments