Tag Archives: Mike Zito

Zeeto On The Radio

Fifty years ago, University of Bridgeport student Mike Zito wandered into the WPKN studio. Soon, he had his own radio show.

In the half century since, Zito has done plenty. He managed a coffee house, hosting Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, Bela Fleck and many others.

He created a science show for kids: “Zeeto the Bubbleman.” He opened for Shari Lewis, and performed at the Baltimore Museum of Arts Dr. Seuss exhibit.

Performing the show at schools sparked a 27-year teaching career. The bulk of that was spent creating and growing the Media Department at Staples High School, with his longtime friend Jim Honeycutt.

Mike Zito, at WWPT-FM

As advisor to student radio station WWPT-FM, Zito won national awards like Best High School Radio Station in the Country). He was twice named the nation’s outstanding faculty advisor (the second time sharing it with Honeycutt).

Zito and Honeycutt retired together, in 2016. Zito moved to Austin, then to Lewes, Delaware.

During those 5 decades, radio — that most basic of all mass media — evolved significantly. Zito is still on the WPKN air, two Thursdays each month (though, as an example of where radio is today, he does his show remotely, from his new home).

But now he’s got a new project.

Earlier this month, he launched “Zeeto on the Radio.” It’s an internet station, and he hopes it will take community radio to a new level.

Zito does all the programming himself. Genres include blues, British Isles, Canada, Texas, folk, classic rock and women artists.

The music is eclectic — and sometimes rare. A jam with Clarence Clemmons and Jerry Garcia drew raves from music aficionados who never knew they played together.

Starting with just a Facebook post, and word of mouth, listeners have found Zeeto on the Radio. They come from all over the US, and 37 countries (including, for reasons he can’t yet fathom, Norway and Lithuania).

Someone in Ireland emailed: “Brilliant! I listen every day.”

The website (click here) is no-frills. There’s a schedule, a list of the song being played plus the previous 4, a bit about Zito, “listen with Alexa” instructions, and a “Donate” button.

Zito pays for music rights, equipment, and acquisition. Still, he says, he’ll do this even if he doesn’t make a dime.

His internet radio show has provided tremendous enjoyment. He’s meeting people from all over the world.

And it’s given him a sense of purpose, since the death of his wife Joni from cancer 7 months ago.

“This is far from viral,” Zito says. “But I’m having a blast.”

Zito would love to hear from new listeners — and former students. Email zeetoradio@hotmail.com.

(“06880” relies on support from readers. Please click here to help. Thank you!)

Now Streaming: 70 North

WWPT-FM was one of the first high school radio stations in the country.

Decades later, Staples again innovated — this time with an in-school TV show.

Now, our high school once again leads the pack.

Welcome to “70 North.”

With a soft launch last week, the site — named for the school’s physical address — became a clever, irreverent, YouTube-like destination for 1,900 students, scores of staff and faculty members, and anyone else in the world who wants to know what’s going on at that active, creative and very fertile campus.

It’s a work in progress. But what a work it is.

70 North marks the next step in the evolution of television. And whether that TV is based in a high school or broadcasts nationally doesn’t really matter, says media teacher Geno Heiter.

What counts is content. “70 North” has plenty of it. Sports, features, upcoming events, guidance and college news, humor, poetry, reviews, music department concerts, artwork — you name, it will find its way onto the site.

For over a decade, the school was served by “Good Morning Staples.” Devised by former instructors Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito, and filmed, edited and hosted by students, the show aired 3 times a week, at 8:25 a.m. Every class watched — supposedly — an intriguing mélange of interviews, announcements, sports highlights and more.

It was fun, entertaining — and static.

The television landscape has changed a lot since “Good Morning Staples” marked a fresh way of providing information. Americans — particularly teenagers — no longer sit on a couch and watch a show at a predetermined time.

TV today is all about streaming. People watch on their terms, their schedule — and their devices.

70 North is television for the smartphone age.

A poster for one of the many episodes available from “70 North.”

Just as viewers no longer have to gather around a big screen, creators no longer lug around big (or even moderate-sized) cameras. Great video can be shot on phones everyone carries.

Thanks to TikTok, Snapchat and many other apps, students are used to telling visual stories. They have a different way of telling those stories too, than even people just a few years older.

“70 North” allows them to do just that. Yet it’s hard to describe, and still evolving.

Heiter says, “It’s a platform. It’s whatever they want it to be.”

Sam Gold — a crazily creative senior, and one of the driving forces behind 70 North — calls it “School updates that don’t suck.”

Max Dorsey, shooting a “70 North” show.

Heiter likens “70 North” to Netflix. “You choose what you want, from a lot of options. It’s not one video that’s forced on you.”

But it’s not the Wild West of the web. It’s still a schoolwide communication tool. It uses server space provided by the district. And it’s as educational as it is entertaining.

Geno Heiter (left) and Sam Gold, with “70 North” on the laptop.

Heiter says he’s still “teaching skills, teaching technical ability, teaching how to use sophisticated equipment, how to cover stories, how to engage and build an audience.”

But he’s doing it in a way that meets students — those who create 70 North, and those who watch it — exactly where they are.

Which, these days, is in front of a device. Not a TV screen. Accessible any time, anywhere, by anyone.

Once again, Staples High School is at the forefront.

Just as it will be in 2029, when a new, not-yet-invented form of communication supplants “70 North.”

(Click here for “70 North.” Then bookmark it!)

Emma Cataldo: Thriller Tackles Anti-Semitism

Emma Cataldo’s parents and grandparents encouraged her to get involved with photography, and other arts.

She got a camcorder, and began making short films in her backyard. With her camera, she took photos at favorite spots: Longshore, Burying Hill beach, the Saugatuck River.

Emma was just 8 years old.

As a freshman at Staples High School, she was assigned to TV Production class. She was one of only 3 girls — and hated it.

But her parents encouraged her to stick with it. She ended up loving the class so much — and Narrative Film too — that the Media Lab became her second home.

Teachers Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt Emma encouraged her strongly. She spent several semesters doing independent studies in cinematography and screenwriting.

Zito inspired Emma to enter film competitions, beginning as a sophomore. She placed well at the state level.

Honeycutt gave her the chance to film school and community events, as well as commercials and short films for local businesses. She built a strong portfolio. Here’s a director’s reel from high school:

She also discovered a passion for post-production work. Emma hopes to pursue that as a career.

Emma’s mentors encouraged her to apply to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts — a film school with a 5% acceptance rate.

She got in. Now — entering 2nd semester of her junior year — she is double majoring in cinema and media studies, and film and TV production.

Emma has worked on student films, and interned in post-production at NBC Universal’s Syfy and E! Networks, during school years and summers.

At USC she has established herself primarily as an editor and colorist. Recently, her friend Evan Siegel — director and co-writer of “Ivver” — pitched that film to her.

Emma Cataldo, doing what she loves.

A psychological thriller about the horrors of anti-Semitism, “Ivver” is close to Siegel’s heart: He faced prejudice and hatred growing up Jewish in Texas.

Emma grew up in a Christian family. But, she says, she learned a great deal of Jewish history in middle and high school.

At Staples she took classes like “Mythology and Bible Studies,” which included the Old and New Testaments. She was exposed to Jewish culture through talks by Holocaust survivors, and books like Elie Wiesel’s “Night.”

Many friends were Jewish too.

After the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings this fall, Emma knew this was a project she wanted to take on.

The story follows a high school history teacher who suddenly faces the aggressive prejudice of his students and colleagues, once they find out he is Jewish.

Like Emma, many of the team working on the film are not Jewish. Still, she says, it resonates with all of them.

“When it comes to social issues, we believe the most important thing we can do is start productive conversations,” Emma says.

“Anti-Semitism is still around. Yet for some reason it is often left out of the conversation about social reform.”

With a diverse crew from many backgrounds, they hope to raise awareness of the continuing threat of anti-Semitism around the globe.

She calls the film “heartbreaking. But the message needs to be heard at a time like this.”

Emma and her fellow students have assembled a strong cast and crew. They’ve scouted locations. Now all they need is funding.

This is the time of year when we’re all asked to contribute to many worthy causes. This sure is one of them. Emma hopes you’ll check out the video below — and if you can, click this link to contribute.

Staples Staff Graduates Friday, Too

This Friday, over 400 seniors graduate from Staples High School.

But they’re not the only ones leaving.

An all-star cast of educators follows them out the North Avenue doors. That happens every year, of course — but this spring’s retirements seem more in number, and deeper in longevity, breadth, impact and legend than most.

I asked this very important group of men and women to reflect on their careers in education. Not all wanted such a public send-off. But here are the insights of those who agreed to share. 

Alice Addicks, grade level assistant, jack-of-all-trades

I got into education because of an awesome PE teacher in high school who I admired and wanted to emulate.

Alice Addicks

Alice Addicks

I stayed in education because I love it. I actually realized that I did have an impact on students.

Substitute teaching and coaching got me to Staples. I just plain loved being here, so I did my best to stay.

The best advice I’ve ever been given was to love what you choose to do in life, because you’re probably going to be doing it for a long time. I’ve coached, taught and worked with young people since 1961, so I guess I made a good choice.

I will most definitely miss the people with whom I work, and the students. But I will not miss getting up with the birds every morning.

I plan on volunteering to teach some exercise classes at the Senior Center, will continue to help with scoring, timing, etc. for Staples sports, would love to volunteer at the Humane Scoiety, and do a little traveling to visit friends and my daughter in Oregon.

Denise Honeycutt, guidance

Bewteen a really cool younger uncle who was a teacher, and the passion I developed for Spanish, I decided to get into education.

My first job, at Long Lots Junior High School, was a great experience. I worked for Joe Koeller, Dan Sullivan and Elspeth Doenges — all top-notch administrators. And it was there that I met Jim Honeycutt — ’nuff said!

I came to Staples in 1983, the year 9th grade was added. I taught all levels, from beginning to AP.

When I was transferred to middle school due to declining enrollment, I went back to school. While at Staples, several of my students had said I would make a good guidance counselor. So that’s what I did.

After several years of graduate work, a baby and a sabbatical, I was hired as a counselor at Coleytown Middle School. I worked there for 4 years, before returning to Staples in 1999. It was wonderful to return.

I will never forget 2 years later, 9/11. I stayed in school with my colleagues in guidance, and principal Gloria Rakovic, late into the evening until we heard that all of our students’ parents were safe. Then we hugged and went home.. It was the saddest day ever.

Westport has been very good to me. It’s been a fantastic career, and lots of fun. I learn something new every day.

I will miss the kids the most. They energize me, and keep me young. And I will miss seeing my friends. Hopefully that part will continue.

Next, I hope to take care of myself, spend time with family, and be a good nonna to my grandchildren.

Jim and Denise Honeycutt

Jim and Denise Honeycutt

Jim Honeycutt, Media Lab

After graduating from Fairfield University in 1970, I became a rock star — for 3 years, anyway. While on the road with my band Repairs, I had an epiphany: I was not going to be the next Elvis.

So I contacted my friend Richard Heggie, who worked at Bedford Junior High. He suggested I try teaching, because I was comfortable performing and seemed to like kids.

I subbed in Westport. After graduate school and lots of jobs in local restaurants, I landed a part-time teaching job at Coleytown Junior High.

I love teaching, because I have been able to grow and do different things over 30 years. I began as a social studies teacher. I got into teaching computers, which I did from about 1984 to the late ’90s. Then I realized media was going digital, and moved into library media. For the last 15 years, Mike Zito and I have run the Media Lab, and developed the program at Staples.

I love the kids and staff here. It was and is a great place to work.

I’ll miss working with Staples Players. I shot 50 of David Roth’s shows, and created DVDs of every one. I’ll also miss the music department, one of Staples’ unrecognized gems.

I do love this place. Although I believe in my heart and soul that it is time for me to go, it will be hard to say goodbye to the best job in the world, the best kids in the world, and the best staff in the world. I love the staff so much, I married one of them.

I may be 67, but I’m a young 67. I still run on the Fairfield University track. I go to the Edge every day. I hike every summer in the High Sierra. As Gloria Rakovic said, I still have some snap left in my garter.

So I’m going to get another job this fall. The Trumbull Apple store would like me to work as a “creative,” teaching people how to use all their cool products. I’m looking into a couple of library jobs too. I’ll be back to work in September!

Ed Huydic, guidance

I knew I wanted to be an educator from the time I was a high school sophomore. I enjoyed studying history, had 2 great teachers, and my older brother — my role model — was a teacher.

I stayed in education because of the environment, my colleagues and the students.

Ed Huydic

Ed Huydic

My master’s degree from Columbia, along with a good interview, got me into Staples and Westport. Staying for 40 years was a combination of good fortune, my passion for the learning environment, and strong relationships that I built over many years.

Cutting down the nets as coach of the girls basketball state championship team in 1995 is an individual moment that will forever live strong with me. Also, in the early years of my career, legendary teachers showed the way. As teacher union president (200-2010), I helped shepherd an era of growth.

I’m also proud of former students. Twice in the last 35 years, for example, I heard from a woman. First she told me she was a professor of anthropology at Penn, and that my class spurred her love for the subject. The other day, she told me she is now in Washington DC, starting her own school.

People may not know that I’m a coordinator in New York City for the annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.

I will miss everything about my work at Staples. It has been the center of my professional experience for 40 years. The memories made as a coach, the friendships forged with so many colleagues, and the day to day work as a teacher and counselor have helped me stay “forever young.”


Karyn Morgan, assistant principal

I attended a small elementary school in New York state. We had a regional program for special needs students. Every day a boy was bullied. I couldn’t take it, so i became his protector. I walked him to his classroom (in the basement!), and got to know the special ed teacher and kids. At 8 years old I decided to become a special ed teacher.

Karyn Morgan

Karyn Morgan

In the late 1990s, when I was teaching in Bridgeport, Staples had an opening for special ed coordinator. I believed I could impact more kids if I had the opportunity to work with teachers.

The kids, teachers and administrators kept me here. Westport’s commitment to education sealed the deal for me.

I will never forget being told there was a scholarship being given in my name to help a student in need.

Best advice I’ve gotten: “Make friends with the custodian!” Little-known fact: Denise Honeycutt and I graduated high school together.

I’ll miss the day to day contact with the kids and my Staples family. But I look forward to sleeping past 5 a.m.

Christina Richardson, English

I had a phenomenal English and drama teacher in high school. I though I could maybe inspire others the way he inspired me.

Christina Richardson

Christina Richardson

I taught initially out of college, but wanted to see the world. So I worked for an airline, a cruise line and a travel agency. I always knew I would return to teaching, so when my children were in middle school, I went back.

There had been virtually no hiring at Staples for years, but all of a sudden a number of English teachers retired. One dropped out at the last minute, so there was an opening.

The students, the courses I got to teach, and the colleagues kept me here.

I’ll never forget one year, on the first day of AP Literature, virtually all the students had been in other classes of mine. They all rose and applauded my entrance.

I won’t miss all the new prescriptives coming down from the government, most prescribed by people who know nothing about education.

I already have 2 major trips lined up, to Eastern Europe and South America. I look forward to enjoying my grandchildren, performing and directing in community theater, and rescuing dogs.

Mike Zito, Media Lab

I was performing a science show for kids, called Bubblerific. I was making a connection with them, but after an hour I was gone. I wanted to make more long-term connections.

Education is the most rewarding thing I’ve done. When I taught elementary school, I felt good about the community feel in my classroom. In the upper grades, it’s wonderful to see kids get passionate about something. I enjoy being able to help guide and facilitate that passion.

Mike Zito

Mike Zito

Honeycutt got me to Staples. We first met in the ’70s. We talked about working together for a while. He pulled the strings to get me to Coleytown Middle School, then pulled them again to get me to Staples.

I’m very proud of what Jim and I have created in the Media Lab. When I came here I was thrilled to see that even kids I had worried might fall through the cracks had found a place somewhere at Staples. Whether sports, art, theater, curriculum areas, after-school clubs, there are excellent programs throughout, and a place for everyone to call home. I’m humbled and proud that Jim and I were able to create one of those.

I’ve been blessed in many ways. But in the 43 years I’ve been doing radio, the most rewarding time I’ve spent on the air was with Wyatt Davis, “The Wymaster.” I’ll always cherish having a small part in making that happen.

Here at Staples, I did a show called “Coaches’ Corner,” with an adult host. My administrator asked if a kid couldn’t do it instead. I said I didn’t see how. Then Eric Gallanty joined WWPT and Staples Television Network. I realized the imposed limits I was unconsciously putting on students needed to be shattered.

My wife and I bought a house in Austin. We’ll start a new adventure there right after graduation. I’m getting the band back together, performing my bubble show again — I’ll be coming full circle.

“Good Morning” Goodbye

Staples High School teachers Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito invented the school’s Media Lab.

From their funky studios near the cafeteria, the duo taught thousands of students — and oversaw WWPT-FM, the Staples Television Network, a recording studio and much more.

“Good Morning Staples” is one small part of what they’ve done. But since its first broadcast in 2001, the thrice-weekly TV show has had an outsized influence on the school.

Yesterday’s “Good Morning Staples” broadcast was the last of the school year — and their last ever. Both Honeycutt and Zito retire this month.

The 24-minute video offers just a tiny sampling of the work their kids did. It’s a tribute to Staples students’ spectacular energy, dedication, talent and energy.

Which, of course, was unlocked, nurtured and nourished by 2 very special teachers.

Zito And Honeycutt Grab Radio Gold

It’s a good thing the Staples Media Lab is big. There’s room for TV production classes, a radio station and recording studio, plus plenty of high-tech equipment and offices.

Teachers and students need all that space to make magic. And, to store all the trophies they win for their work.

The latest hardware was handed out last weekend at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. As usual, Staples won several John Drury Awards — the country’s top honors for excellence in high school radio broadcasting.

But this year was extra special. Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito were named Co-Faculty Advisors of the Year. It’s the 1st time a school has had 2 honorees — and it came just a few months before both legends retire.

The pair were cited for their long service to WWPT-FM; their cutting-edge work, and their contributions to the school and community. Nominating letters of support poured in from Staples athletic director Marty Lisevick, citing the duo’s work in creating robust sports coverage; assistant principal James Farnen, attesting to their dynamic classroom environment, and past and present students, describing the instructors’ sometimes life-changing impact.

Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt (rear) stand with WWPT-FM's Jack Caldwell and Cooper Boardman -- and some Drury Award trophies. Behind them is a mural -- painted by Staples art students -- on the wall outside the Media Lab.

Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt (rear) stand with WWPT-FM’s Jack Caldwell and Cooper Boardman (and some Drury Award trophies). Behind them is a mural — painted by Staples art students — on the wall outside the Media Lab.

Sunday’s awards ceremony was emotional, Zito admits. He and Honeycutt have known one each other since the 1970s — when neither was yet teaching.

Honeycutt was a musician, who built the sound system for Barnaby’s in Bridgeport. Zito was the DJ there.

“We were in and out of each other’s lives for years,” Zito says. “Then we had the good fortune of establishing the media department at Staples.”

He arrived at the high school 14 years ago, from Coleytown Middle School. Honeycutt — formerly a Long Lots Middle School social studies and Staples computer teacher — had already moved into TV, radio and recording instruction.

WWPT- FM has won many Drury Awards. In 2011, it was named best high school station in the US.

WWPT- FM has won many Drury Awards. In 2011, it was named best high school station in the US.

The Media Lab now encompasses WWPT-FM and the Staples Television Network — both after-school activities — and classes in TV, radio, film, audio production and graphics.

Broadcast coverage includes live sports events, Staples Players’ shows, Candlelight and other concerts, graduation, even elections.

“On Back to School Night and when we talk to 8th grade parents, we like to say that there are many ways kids can find their place at Staples,” Zito says. “Some do it in arts, athletics or science. Others find a home here.”

For he and Honeycutt, being honored for helping students feel comfortable — and discover a new passion, perhaps even their life’s work — is “a real nice cap to our own careers.”

But the teachers are just as proud of the other Drury Awards won last weekend.

Cooper Boardman, Adam Kaplan and Zach Edelman were honored for Best Sports Play-by-Play radio broadcast. It was not even a Staples game — the trio earned kudos for their work on the girls basketball state finals (Wilton vs. South Windsor) at Mohegan Sun.

Boardman arranged that coverage on one day’s notice.

Boardman, Edelman and Jacob Bonn came in 2nd, in the same category, for their broadcast of the Trumbull-Stamford FCIAC basketball championship.

In addition, Boardman placed 2nd (Best Sportstalk Program) for his interview of ESPN personality Jonathan Coachman; Boardman, Edelman and Bonn took 3rd for Best Sportscast (“WWPT Sports Update”). Jack Caldwell was a national finalist for his Sportstalk interview with hockey goaltender Mike Liut.


But wait! There’s more!

Honeycutt’s Audio class and David Roth’s Theater 3 class took both 1st and 2nd place for “Best Radio Drama – Adaptation.” They were cited for parts I and II of “A Christmas Carol.”

Finally, WWPT was runnerup for Best Radio Station in the country. It’s the 6th consecutive year the FM outlet was either 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

It was quite a weekend for WWPT, and their advisors. So what’s ahead for the duo, once they retire in June?

Honeycutt will enjoy his grandchildren, who live nearby.

Zito and his wife head to Austin, Texas. “It’s a great music town,” he notes. “I hope to get into radio there.”

He will not win any more Drury Awards. But SXSW — watch out!

To watch the award-winning live radio adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” click below.



Breaking News — WWPT Voted Best Station In The Nation

This just in from Naperville, Illinois:

WWPT — “Wrecker Radio” — has been voted the best high school radio station in the United States.  The announcement was named at the 2011 John Drury Awards, which honor high school radio across the country.

In addition, ‘PT — 90.3 FM — won 7 out of 9 Drury Awards for sports broadcasting.  That includes Ben Myers’ and Ben Greenberg’s work on the boys soccer FCIAC finals.

And WWPT took both 1st and 2nd place for broadcast of a radio drama — the “Dracula” show the Staples audio production class did in conjunction with one of David Roth’s acting classes.

But wait — there’s more!  Remember Monday’s “06880” post on Wyatt Davis’s radio show?  A news piece by Hannah Foley won 2nd place, highlighting “The Wy-Master’s” amazing triumph over muscular dystrophy.

Congratulations to WWPT advisor Mike Zito; to all who participate in Wrecker Radio — and to 2011 graduates DJ Sixsmith and Eric Gallanty, who helped make it all possible.

Click here to hear the best high school radio station in the nation!

The Amazing Wy-Master

Staples sophomore Wyatt Davis gets around.

He’s at every Wrecker football game.  He’s been to dozens of concerts, from Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett to Sugarland and Kenny Chesney.

He takes a full course load, but really enjoys TV production.  He’s an active member of the Photography Club and Best Buddies.

He loves the Yankees and — to his Giant-fan father Brett’s dismay — the Patriots.

He hosts a popular Tuesday afternoon show on WWPT-FM.  Calling himself “The Wy-Master,” Wyatt develops a theme each show; finds an eclectic assortment of music fitting that theme, then writes out a script tying it all together.

Not bad for someone who — because of cerebral palsy — cannot use his extremities.  And is unable to speak.

Wyatt Davis, at the WWPT-FM controls.

Wyatt has been a well-known and popular Westporter for years.  He and his twin sister Kate were born 14 weeks prematurely.  Nearly a decade ago — as a 1st grader at Coleytown Elementary School — Wyatt’s spirit impressed Pete Caliguire, a member of the Staples football staff.

Pete invited Wyatt to be on the sidelines of the big Thanksgiving Day game against Greenwich.  Since then, he’s a regular presence at games, practices, even film sessions.

Wyatt was active in the Coleytown variety show, and in middle school became adept at using an adaptive camera.

All the while, he was in a “power chair.”  A technological marvel, it’s got a laptop and speaking device.  With very limited motor skills, Wyatt controls his world by moving his head.

At the end of 8th grade, Wyatt went with his class to a Staples orientation session.  Media production teacher Mike Zito found him, and got him involved.  The rest — as WWPT listeners know — is history.

In addition to concerts, Wyatt attends as many big sports events as he can.

Each of Wyatt’s shows has a theme — colors, the seasons, whatever.  Using iTunes he, his father and sister choose 14 to 16 songs.  Then, Wyatt and his aide Sharon Magera — an amazing woman who has been with him since 1st grade — make the final selection, and burn a CD.

He imports what he wants to say into his computer.  When the show begins, the device speaks Wyatt’s words.

“The Wy-Master” is one of WWPT’s most eclectic shows.  Wyatt’s tastes range from U2 to Duke Ellington.  “The genre doesn’t matter,” his father explains.  “In our house, if the music’s good we listen to it.”

Wyatt has always loved music, his father says.  He sits in on his sister’s guitar lessons.  And every day, he listens to his fellow broadcasters’ shows on ‘PT.

Brett says that Wyatt’s opportunities and experiences at Staples are “beyond incredible.”

His mother, Vicky, adds:  “Hopefully after graduation, a job at a radio or TV station can be part of his life.  Meanwhile, almost every day, something different or wonderful happens.”

The next wonderful thing might come this Saturday.  Members of the WWPT  staff travel to Naperville, Illinois, for the Drury Awards — an annual recognition of excellence in high school broadcasting.  The Staples radio station is national finalists in 12 categories — more than any other high school station in the country.

One of the nominations is for “Best News Feature Story.”  The subject is “The Wy-Master” show.

It aired as a newscast on WWPT earlier this year.  It was produced by Hannah Foley, Eric Gallanty — and Wyatt Davis, “The Wy-Master,” himself.

A little snow doesn't stop Wyatt Davis from enjoying the slopes.

(Wyatt Davis’s show airs every other Tuesday, 12:30-1:30 p.m., on WWPT-FM, 90.3)

Live, From Westport — It’s STN!

In the 1960s, Staples’ WSRB was cutting-edge — one of the first student radio stations in the country.  Its range was 1 mile.

In 1972 WWPT — all 330 watts — became the 1st student-run FM station in the state.  Over the years it increased its power.  Today 90.3 can be heard throughout Fairfield County.

In 2009 the Staples Media Lab added TV.  STN — the Staples Television Network — quickly became an integral part of the school.

Think “network” is a bit grandiose?  Think again.  STN is streamed live (as is WWPT).  So while Westporters can watch Channel 78, shows are also available any place on the planet, in real time.  All you need is an internet connection.

STN’s bread-and-butter is sports.  They televise home football games, and boys and girls basketball.  (The events are simulcast on WWPT.)

STN has also done indoor track meets — perhaps the 1st time that sport has been covered on TV anywhere, at any level.

But as good as DJ Sixsmith, Eric Gallanty and the rest of the sports crew is — and they’re very, very good — STN is not exactly ESPN.

They’re much more diverse.

Eric Gallanty and DJ Sixsmith on air during a Staples football game. (Photo courtesy of Westport Patch)

The Staples TV station has broadcast Candlelight Concerts, graduations and elections.  As with sports, coverage of those events features multiple cameras, sophisticated graphics, and plenty of inside knowledge.

STN also televises live bands — who come to the studio as part of Staples’ audio production courses.  (The Media Lab’s talented instructors, Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito, also teach TV production and radio production.)

This spring, STN hopes to televise baseball and girls lacrosse.  Next fall they’d like to add boys and girls soccer, and field hockey.

To do that — and more — they need money and equipment.

They can’t sell advertising — something about pesky FCC regulations — so they’re asking sports teams (and anyone else) for checks.

Their equipment wish list includes:

  • LCD or plasma television/display
  • SD-SDI recorder or tape deck (instant replay solution)
  • VHF and UHF radios  or walkie-talkies (RF Communications)
  • Broadcasting headsets
  • Graphic or text generators
  • MacPro or MacBook (or another omputer running some form of Apple OSX)
  • Cameras with S-Video connection

This being Westport, plenty of folks have that stuff lying around in attics or garages.  Others have access to it through work (legally, of course).

If you can help Staples Television Network with a check, a computer or anything else, email staplestelevisionnetwork@gmail; call 203-341-1379, or write the Media Lab, c/o Staples High School, 70 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880.

Then sit back, and enjoy the show.


It’s not often a high school organization advisor gets a national award.

Then again, it’s not often the advisor is Mike Zito.

Mike Zito, in action.

The popular, soft-spoken veteran media teacher was honored recently by Ithaca College.  Zito — whose last name is also his nickname — received a S’Park Media Mentor Award from the Roy H. Park School of Communications.  He and 3 other high school instructors from across the country were lauded for their “commitment to inspiring passion for media in students.”

Zito advises both WWPT-FM, and the Staples Television Network.  He brings decades of experience — nearly 40 years in radio, and 21 as a teacher — to his work.

Zito teaches a full schedule of radio production, TV production and narrative film.

He’s not the only Staples media person to win national honors.  His students have won MSG Awards, and the prestigious John Drury High School Radio Awards.  Zito’s classes have been launching pads for many successful careers.

Zito’s own career is not too shabby.  He’s too modest to mention it, but this is not his 1st national prize.  Like his students, last year he was cited by the John Drury folks.  Zito was named Best Radio Station Advisor in the Nation.

Stay tuned for more.