Time to celebrate at 'Saturday Light Brigade'

The radio show marks its 35th anniversary on Saturday's broadcast.

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Larry Berger was just 14 when he started volunteering at WYEP-FM. At 16, he launched the children's radio show "Saturday Light Brigade" in 1978.

The long-running public radio show is marking its 35th anniversary Saturday.

"Saturday Light Brigade" features music, performances, interviews, call-in segments and games, and is heard in about 60,000 households each week. It airs from 6 a.m. to noon Saturdays on Carnegie Mellon University's WRCT-FM (88.3) and on other college radio stations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, on Pittsburgh Community Television Channel 21, and online at slbradio.org.

"Saturday Light Brigade" uses radio and audio as a forum for kids' voices and through its work in schools encourages them to express themselves in words and music.

Earlier this week, Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Saturday as "Saturday Light Brigade Day." City Councilman Bill Peduto sponsored the proclamation, which recognizes the program for promoting self-expression and creative thinking.

The recognition was "humbling," said Mr. Berger, who's now executive director of SLB Radio as well as the program's host. "It's an honor to be recognized for this many years of work," he said, adding that he hears from some listeners who tuned in as kids and now listen to the show with their children.

The show is not just a kids' show; it is designed to appeal to listeners of all ages. "At the end of the day, it's just about doing good radio," Mr. Berger said.

Over three-plus decades, "Saturday Light Brigade" has grown and evolved into a hub of activity for local youth. It moved from WYEP to WRCT, and it now broadcasts live from the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The show has expanded from four to six hours.

SLB also launched the Neighborhood Voices website, which features digital media created by students throughout the region, and iQ Kids Radio, an online radio station produced in partnership with WQED Multimedia.

Saturday's show will feature several special segments marking the 35-year milestone. Mr. Berger will talk with Mr. Peduto live from the St. Patrick's Day parade at 9:30 a.m.

Tracy Drach and Eve Goodman will perform at 11:05 a.m. Ms. Drach has been a guest on past anniversary shows.

Several young musicians will perform, including cellist Hannah Synnott, 15, and violinist Haley Raphael, 14, from The Center for Young Musicians at 10:05 a.m. Ragtime and classical pianist Joseph Vresilovic, 13, performs at 10:35 a.m.


Adrian McCoy: amccoy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.


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