By Emily Cain
El Cerrito High’s worldOne public radio station, 88.1 keCg 97.7, transmits the idea of worldwide musicality to the surrounding Bay Area community. Mr. Mason, an admired teacher and member of the El Cerrito High community, dedicates his time and energy to worldOne radio. With the collaboration of both students and sponsors, Mr. Mason ensures that worldOne radio “promotes the rumors and conditions of peace, ecology, community, education and ethnicity.”
As a kid, Mr. Mason was surrounded by music. “My ears lit up when I was about eight. I was crazy, I’m mean really crazy about music . . . I grew up in a school where students were molded into musicians from an early age . . . I started with a big saxophone, moved to a little saxophone, and by the time I was in 7th grade they had parked me with a baritone horn which I pursued to love the daylights out of. I was in marching band and the concert program. I was enriched by having been exposed to all kinds of great music by the time I was a teenager,” enthusiastically explained Mr. Mason.
Mr. Mason’s present attitude towards music reflects his childhood feelings.
“I think music is magic, and I really believe that. I think music has magical properties. Music carries culture, art, and inspiration. Music comes form a place of magic and I think it goes to a place of natural magic.”
Mr. Mason’s musical passion is expressed through the unique and culturally innovative radio station based at El Cerrito High. The station is dedicated to, “sharing richly ethnic, earthic music from all over the world. where ever it comes from.” WorldOne radio is “like a musical museum of human kind and it’s on the air everyday as a cultural center and as a community center to inform and uplift our community.”
Because a main intention of worldOne radio is to uplift the community, the station avoids broadcasting messages of negativity while still providing listeners with a balanced and diverse musical experience.
“Pandora’s Box, it’s all in there, and as we unpack it we want to taste the darkness, but as only a sensible community. I do draw the line personally and professionally at death hop and death rock. There’s enough death around,” explained Mr. Mason.
The radio station is not solely the product of Mr. Mason, but is shaped by El Cerrito High students and contributors from the outside community. “With adult supervision, not with adult oppression, but with mature, musically informed global adult supervision,” students in the radio class work to find music that appeals to all generations. “Students learn about musical literacy, arrangement, genre, and lyric poetry.”
Additionally, students inform members of the community about local interests by reading public service announcements and interviewing members of the community.
“Virtually everyone who comes in is usually someone interested in culture, music and art and is very interested in sharing with young people. The educators and the culturists, they come in,” said Mr. Mason.
Although both students and Mr. Mason exude hours of effort into perfecting the music and information, listenership to the worldOne radio is relatively small. The station, however, does not go without recognition.
“In the last two months I got a letter out of the blue from a founding editor or Spin Magazine who said he fell head over heals in love with the way were doing what were doing. Now this guy has interviewed everybody everywhere and he thinks this is one of his top five radio stations in the world . . . That’s saying something!” exclaimed Mr. Mason.
WorldOne radio is truly a station for people of “peaceecopowerunity.” The collaboration of students and community members, along with the guidance and motivation of Mr. Mason, makes worldOne a diverse and culturally balanced radio station. The best part: it’s broadcasted all day everyday straight from El Cerrito High.