Radio Rookies

Real stories by New York City teenagers take listeners inside their lives and their communities in this Peabody Award-winning youth journalism initiative. For teens, by teens and about the challenges of teen life, Radio Rookies gives students the tools and the training to share their own stories through the medium of audio. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, Freakonomics Radio and many others.


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December 12, 2015

Nearly 100,000 Americans suffer from a disorder called Sickle Cell Anemia. Radio Rookie Bree Person hates talking about Sickle cells – but she put together this report nevertheless.

December 12, 2015

Nearly 100,000 Americans suffer from a disorder called Sickle Cell Anemia. Radio Rookie Bree Person hates talking about Sickle cells – but she put together this report nevertheless.

December 9, 2015

At 17-years-old Tangeneka Taylor moved to the U.S from Guyana with her dad and sister. Along with having to adjust to a new country, she’s had to adjust to life without her mom.

December 9, 2015

At 17-years-old Tangeneka Taylor moved to the U.S from Guyana with her dad and sister. Along with having to adjust to a new country, she’s had to adjust to life without her mom.

November 14, 2015

In New York City the high school graduation rate for black males was 28 percent in 2010. Radio Rookie Mike Brown is a young black man living in Harlem and being raised by a single mom.

November 14, 2015

In New York City the high school graduation rate for black males was 28 percent in 2010. Radio Rookie Mike Brown is a young black man living in Harlem and being raised by a single mom.

October 3, 2015

Destiny Mabry had a lot in common with her older sister: a love of dance, a bright smile, and excellent jump rope skills. They also both had experience with abusive relationships.

October 3, 2015

Destiny Mabry had a lot in common with her older sister: a love of dance, a bright smile, and excellent jump rope skills. They also both had experience with abusive relationships.

September 19, 2015

Rainy wanted to understand why she stayed with an older boyfriend who humiliated and physically abused her. So she spent two years reporting from inside the relationship.   

September 19, 2015

Rainy wanted to understand why she stayed with an older boyfriend who humiliated and physically abused her. So she spent two years reporting from inside the relationship.   

September 5, 2015

Many teenagers live half their lives on social media sites, and they’re writing the rules as they go. One online trend Radio Rookie Temitayo Fagbenle finds disturbing is “slut-shaming” 

September 5, 2015

Many teenagers live half their lives on social media sites, and they’re writing the rules as they go. One online trend Radio Rookie Temitayo Fagbenle finds disturbing is “slut-shaming” 

August 8, 2015

Aired December, 2012. Danielle was 13 when she left her home and her mother in the Congo.  She came to New York to pursue the American dream, but she wound up living in a homeless shelter. 

August 8, 2015

Aired December, 2012. Danielle was 13 when she left her home and her mother in the Congo.  She came to New York to pursue the American dream, but she wound up living in a homeless shelter. 

January 5, 2011

Aired November, 2010. 17-year-old Radio Rookie Edwin Llanos has grown up in neighborhoods where police stop kids all the time — and a lot of those kids don’t trust cops to help when they’re in need. Last year, when Edwin got into a tough situation, he wasn’t sure who to turn to.

December 22, 2010

Aired October, 2010. Radio Rookie Helen Peng lives in Flushing, Queens and calls herself an ABC, or American-born Chinese. But a lot of FOBs, or Fresh-off-the-boat Chinese people, also live in her neighborhood. Helen identifies with both the ABC and the FOB cultures and struggles with how to identify herself.

December 22, 2010

Aired October, 2010. Radio Rookie Helen Peng lives in Flushing, Queens and calls herself an ABC, or American-born Chinese. But a lot of FOBs, or Fresh-off-the-boat Chinese people, also live in her neighborhood. Helen identifies with both the ABC and the FOB cultures and struggles with how to identify herself.

December 8, 2010

Aired October, 2010. Radio Rookie Andrea Lee’s parents came here from the Philippines in the 1990s. She is not sure she agrees with at least one decision her parents made – not teaching her their language.

December 8, 2010

Aired October, 2010. Radio Rookie Andrea Lee’s parents came here from the Philippines in the 1990s. She is not sure she agrees with at least one decision her parents made – not teaching her their language.

November 10, 2010

Aired September, 2010. Although 40% of all game players are female, players of hardcore games like Grand Theft Auto are mostly male. That means the games are designed with boys and men in mind. Rookie Reporter Jessica Cernadas finds that very frustrating.

November 10, 2010

Aired September, 2010. Although 40% of all game players are female, players of hardcore games like Grand Theft Auto are mostly male. That means the games are designed with boys and men in mind. Rookie Reporter Jessica Cernadas finds that very frustrating.

October 28, 2010

Aired September, 2010. Rookie Reporter Melissa Best has always dreamed of becoming a US diplomat — living abroad and helping people; but then she found out how much work it is to become one. Melissa wonders if she can really live up to her high–achiever persona.

October 28, 2010

Aired September, 2010. Rookie Reporter Melissa Best has always dreamed of becoming a US diplomat — living abroad and helping people; but then she found out how much work it is to become one. Melissa wonders if she can really live up to her high–achiever persona.

October 14, 2010

Aired June, 2010. Radio Rookie Hawa Lee reports on the sometimes spooky connection between vampires and teenagers.

October 14, 2010

Aired June, 2010. Radio Rookie Hawa Lee reports on the sometimes spooky connection between vampires and teenagers.

September 29, 2010

Aired June, 2010. 18-year-old Radio Rookie Alexis Gordon is struggling to understand her dad’s decision to stay in the Army and go back to the Middle East.

September 29, 2010

Aired June, 2010. 18-year-old Radio Rookie Alexis Gordon is struggling to understand her dad’s decision to stay in the Army and go back to the Middle East.

September 15, 2010

Aired September, 2010. The Staten Island Radio Rookies look into what motivates the bias attacks in their community. They wonder whether the beginning of school year will impact the tension in their neighborhood.

September 15, 2010

Aired September, 2010. The Staten Island Radio Rookies look into what motivates the bias attacks in their community. They wonder whether the beginning of school year will impact the tension in their neighborhood.

September 1, 2010

Web exclusive. Amana Kashakzi loves chicken, but with all the fried chicken restaurants in her neighborhood, she starts to wonder if there is a conspiracy to entice black people to eat chicken.

September 1, 2010

Web exclusive. Amana Kashakzi loves chicken, but with all the fried chicken restaurants in her neighborhood, she starts to wonder if there is a conspiracy to entice black people to eat chicken.

August 18, 2010

Aired March, 2000. Marc Delgado lives in Washington Heights, with his mother and his sister Candice, who is severely disabled. Candice was born with Trisomy 13 and doctors thought she would die before she was two, but somehow, she’s made it past her 13th birthday. Sadly, Candice passed away after the initial airing of Marc’s story.

August 18, 2010

Aired March, 2000. Marc Delgado lives in Washington Heights, with his mother and his sister Candice, who is severely disabled. Candice was born with Trisomy 13 and doctors thought she would die before she was two, but somehow, she’s made it past her 13th birthday. Sadly, Candice passed away after the initial airing of Marc’s story.

Marc Delgado is 14 and in the 10th grade at a small public school in Harlem. Marc didn’t have to go far to report his story — it takes place at his own home.

He lives in Washington Heights, with his mother and a sister who is severely disabled. Candice was born with Trisomy 13 – she can’t walk or talk. The doctors thought she would die before she was two, but somehow, she’s made it past her 13th birthday. Marc’s report walks listeners through a day of life with Candice. Sadly, Candice passed away after the initial airing of Marc’s story.

August 4, 2010

Aired March, 2000. 14-years-old Kady Bulnes reported on what it’s like to be a gay or lesbian teenager in a neighborhood like Harlem.

August 4, 2010

Aired March, 2000. 14-years-old Kady Bulnes reported on what it’s like to be a gay or lesbian teenager in a neighborhood like Harlem.

Aired March, 2000. 14-years-old Kady Bulnes reported on what it’s like to be a gay or lesbian teenager in a neighborhood like Harlem.

July 21, 2010

Aired March, 2000. 15-year-old Jimmy Belfon Jr. reports on the Graffiti Hall of Fame, which covers the walls of his school playground. Jimmy says traveling the streets of New York City is like visiting a museum.

July 21, 2010

Aired March, 2000. 15-year-old Jimmy Belfon Jr. reports on the Graffiti Hall of Fame, which covers the walls of his school playground. Jimmy says traveling the streets of New York City is like visiting a museum.

Aired March, 2000. 15-year-old Jimmy Belfon Jr. reports on the Graffiti Hall of Fame, which covers the walls of his school playground. Jimmy says traveling the streets of New York City is like visiting a museum.

July 7, 2010

Aired March, 2000. Danielle Beckom’s brother is a member of the world-renowned Harlem Boys Choir, and that inspired her to report on a lesser-known choir: The Harlem Girls Choir.

July 7, 2010

Aired March, 2000. Danielle Beckom’s brother is a member of the world-renowned Harlem Boys Choir, and that inspired her to report on a lesser-known choir: The Harlem Girls Choir.

Aired March, 2000. Danielle Beckom’s brother is a member of the world-renowned Harlem Boys Choir, and that inspired her to report on a lesser-known choir: The Harlem Girls Choir.

June 23, 2010

Aired November, 1999. 12-year-old Antoine Bazilio is a DJ at a local community radio station and did his report on the show he hosts: The Literature Show. “I think a show like mine is important because I am trying to bring our literacy rate up in the Projects.”

June 23, 2010

Aired November, 1999. 12-year-old Antoine Bazilio is a DJ at a local community radio station and did his report on the show he hosts: The Literature Show. “I think a show like mine is important because I am trying to bring our literacy rate up in the Projects.”

Aired November, 1999. 12-year-old Antoine Bazilio is a DJ at a local community radio station and did his report on the show he hosts: The Literature Show. “I think a show like mine is important because I am trying to bring our literacy rate up in the Projects.”

June 9, 2010

Aired June, 2004. On her first Mother’s Day, Harlem Radio Rookie Janelle Lewis shared her first experience with motherhood. For Father’s Day, 24-year-old Janelle contemplates how different these two holidays are in her household.

June 9, 2010

Aired June, 2004. On her first Mother’s Day, Harlem Radio Rookie Janelle Lewis shared her first experience with motherhood. For Father’s Day, 24-year-old Janelle contemplates how different these two holidays are in her household.

A couple years ago on her first Mother’s Day, Harlem Radio Rookie Janelle Lewis shared with WNYC listeners her first experience with motherhood. She even shared the sounds of herself giving birth to her daughter Jandora. For Father’s Day, 24-year-old Janelle contemplates how different these two holidays are in her household.

May 26, 2010

Aired August, 2002. Jesus Gonzalez, with reporting help from Hunts Point Rookie Janesse Nieves, advises Mayor Bloomberg on how to improve New York City schools.

May 26, 2010

Aired August, 2002. Jesus Gonzalez, with reporting help from Hunts Point Rookie Janesse Nieves, advises Mayor Bloomberg on how to improve New York City schools.

Aired August, 2002. Jesus Gonzalez, with reporting help from Hunts Point Rookie Janesse Nieves, advises Mayor Bloomberg on how to improve New York City schools.

May 12, 2010

Aired May, 2002. Janelle Lewis’ commentary about giving birth to her first daughter, Jandora, aired as part of a Mother’s Day Special on WNYC’s Radio Lab. Right after Janelle gave birth, she called out to her mom for the tape recorder.

May 12, 2010

Aired May, 2002. Janelle Lewis’ commentary about giving birth to her first daughter, Jandora, aired as part of a Mother’s Day Special on WNYC’s Radio Lab. Right after Janelle gave birth, she called out to her mom for the tape recorder.

On May 12, 2002, Janelle Lewis’ commentary about giving birth to her first daughter Jandora aired as part of a Mother’s Day Special on WNYC’s Radiolab. Right after Janelle gives birth, she calls out to her mom for the tape-recorder. 

April 14, 2010

Aired January, 2001. David Ford has been working on car since he was a little boy. Now he attends the Automotive High School and hopes to go into the automotive trade.

April 14, 2010

Aired January, 2001. David Ford has been working on car since he was a little boy. Now he attends the Automotive High School and hopes to go into the automotive trade.

March 31, 2010

Aired January, 2001. 16-year-old Karla Saavedra moved to Brooklyn from Mexico two years ago. She documents her adventures in learning English.

March 31, 2010

Aired January, 2001. 16-year-old Karla Saavedra moved to Brooklyn from Mexico two years ago. She documents her adventures in learning English.

March 17, 2010

Aired April, 2002. Christy Loo reports on what happened to her family after her dad got hit by a car and became permanently disabled.

March 17, 2010

Aired April, 2002. Christy Loo reports on what happened to her family after her dad got hit by a car and became permanently disabled.

March 3, 2010

Aired October, 2003. 17-year-old Rizwan Aslam always sees Bashir — a homeless man who walks with a cane and moves between nearby restaurants and shops. Rizwan’s interest in Bashir set him on a mission to learn more about him.

March 3, 2010

Aired October, 2003. 17-year-old Rizwan Aslam always sees Bashir — a homeless man who walks with a cane and moves between nearby restaurants and shops. Rizwan’s interest in Bashir set him on a mission to learn more about him.

February 17, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Derrick gets in trouble a lot, and this often leads him to fight with his brothers. A big part of why Derrick loves football is that he can hit people — without getting in trouble.

February 17, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Derrick gets in trouble a lot, and this often leads him to fight with his brothers. A big part of why Derrick loves football is that he can hit people — without getting in trouble.

February 3, 2010

Aired June, 2009. When seniors at a small public high school in the Bronx cast their votes for “Best Couple” earlier this year, they chose a pair they admire but who definitely defy the stereotype of best couple. Radio Rookie Vikky Cruz reports.

February 3, 2010

Aired June, 2009. When seniors at a small public high school in the Bronx cast their votes for “Best Couple” earlier this year, they chose a pair they admire but who definitely defy the stereotype of best couple. Radio Rookie Vikky Cruz reports.

January 20, 2010

Short Wave Rookies report on Main Street in Flushing, Queens.

January 20, 2010

Short Wave Rookies report on Main Street in Flushing, Queens.