Centerville High’s student radio station to celebrate 50 years; invites alumni

Centerville and Washington Twp.’s only radio station is seeking alumni from across the decades to join in its 50th anniversary celebration.

WCWT 107.3-FM, the Voice of the Elks, is programmed and run by Centerville High School students via the school’s communication arts program, which has always been full, according to teacher Tricia Rapoch.

“On average every year we probably have about 50 to 60 kids that apply to the program and we accept roughly 18 into it,” said Rapoch, who has run it for the past 16 years. “The kids do everything for the station. Everything that you hear ... every donor acknowledgement, every PSA, every station ID, every music loop that’s put together, is done by our students.”

Owned and operated by Centerville City Schools, the station got its start when Ken Carper, a drama teacher, and the late Roy Grimes, a math teacher, launched operations in late 1971 for the class of 1972.

The low-powered, class D, non-commercial educational radio station, which is licensed by the FCC, upgraded its technology over the past five decades with the help and support of former alumni, moving it from analog to state-of-the-art facilities for both on-air and production work.

The two-year Career Tech Education program focuses on educating its members and engaging with the community through remote broadcasts, school events, social media, podcasts and active streaming.

The Class of 2023 is inviting alumni to a 50th reunion celebration on Nov. 4. More information is available via or by emailing

The event will feature a meet and greet, followed by dinner. Former students can reminisce with fellow alumni and visit the current studios.

Radio alum and WCWT board member Will Bevis will present a tribute to Grimes, who died in 2010. Carper, along with Grimes’ widow, Catherine, will be in attendance.

Keeping the station broadcasting on a 24/7-basis gives students “a really good experience” in terms of understanding how the media works, said Rapoch, who worked as a journalist in Montreal and Toronto for roughly 20 years before moving to Ohio.

“I’ve had students that have come through the program and gone on to become professional journalists,” she said. “A lot of the kids that are just in the program ... no matter what they end up doing with their lives, they’re going to be able to use these skills as they move forward. They’re going to be better writers, better speakers, just better rounded.”

Rapoch said she hopes that alumni from across the decades will come to the event and share how WCWT has affected their lives.

“I’m amazed at the response I’ve had from the students that I’ve had in my program over the last 16 years,” she said. “For 98% of my students, being in the program is one of the highlights of their high school career.”

Brandon Beam, who graduated CHS in 2011, is co-host of the morning show ‘Morning Juice’ on The Fan 97.1 in Columbus. He said his experience with WCWT “greatly affected” him.

“I loved it and I literally wouldn’t be where I’m at today without that class,” Beam said. “That really gave me a base understanding of what the radio business is, both on air and off the air. We were doing sales, we were doing promoting, we were doing on air stuff, as well as broadcasting games and all the stuff that everybody wants to do when they get into radio.”

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