On the air: Local students host newly launched radio show

Isaiah Ferguson (aka “Zelktronic,” far left) chats on air with Navannah Dorch (aka “Vannah”), Nahjae Noble (aka “Rnb”), Richard Brown (aka “DJ biggieRich”) and Isis Ferguson (aka “Izzy Finesse”) during the launch of the C-Ball Clubhouse Radio Show last week.Photo: Anna Brooks

C-Ball Clubhouse Radio Show gives teens a voice

It’s not every day you get to interview a celebrity like Nick Cannon, but a few lucky high school students got the chance do just that last week.

The rapper and TV star was the first-ever guest on the C-Ball Clubhouse Radio Show, a new, student-run afterschool radio program that launched last week at Damatrix Studios in Port Morris. 

“When they told me it was Nick, at first I didn’t believe them,” said Isis Ferguson, aka “Izzy Finesse,” a senior at KIPP NYC College Prep. “Then I heard his voice, and it was definitely him! To actually have a conversation with him, I couldn’t believe it.”

Ferguson is one of a handful of Bronx high school students who auditioned and landed a spot on the radio show, which is broadcast live online and covers music, sports, fashion, comedy, relationships and everything in between.

“We talk about hot topics, but also things relatable that teens are going through,” Ferguson said.

Navannah Dorch — known as “Vannah” in the radio world — covers community and politics on the show. Besides seeming like a lot of fun, Dorch said, she sees the show as a means to do something different and exciting with her afterschool time, and thought it would be a great opportunity to develop new skills in radio and broadcast.

“I wanted to get into C-Ball to do something productive,” she said. “Afterschool you’re usually hanging out with friends or whatever, and we just thought this would be a good opportunity to do something worth our time.”

Kicking the show off with the C-Ball promo song, which was written and rapped by Izzy Finesse, and fellow student Nahjae Noble (DJ biggieRich), the hosts summarized their interview with Nick Cannon, had a frank yet comedic discussion about school lunches, and then welcomed another special guest: Carlos Capellan, principal of KIPP NYC College Prep.

Capellan opened up about his secret aspiration — being the general manager of a football team — and his favorite superhero, The Incredible Hulk. The students also learned about Capellan’s life growing up, how his dreams of being a football player were crushed after a serious injury, and his career path toward becoming a school principal.

“It was great being able to have the kids see me in a different light, to see I’m not just a guy who comes out of an office every now and then,” Capellan said.

“Having opportunities like this that gives kids outlets afterschool is really important because going to school is not easy,” he added. “I spend more time with these kids than I do with my own family, and it was inspiring to see them bringing their A-game to this.”

Partnering with Damatrix Studios to bring this year’s show to fruition, Victor Seltzer — executive director of Horizon Hearts, a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth and the homeless — said the program offers a rare opportunity for kids interested in music and broadcasting to learn about technical production, and produce their own, unique radio show.

“The great thing about it is there isn’t a lot of funding for programs like this for inner city youth, especially in underserved communities like this,” he said. “You talk to any kid in an underserved community about music, and it opens up the world for them.”

C-Ball Clubhouse Radio runs live Monday through Friday from 4 – 6 p.m. Watch or listen online at c-ball.org, or download the free DSNBX mobile app to watch the show from your phone, or log on to www.damatrixstudios.com to watch online.