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Nathan Hale High Nabs Big Radio Award

Who’s got the “best dance station” in the country? The answer is Seattle, thanks to the students at Nathan Hale High School.

The school's KNHC C 89.5 FM nabbed the Crystal Trophy for best dance station in the country during the Promo Only Summer Sessions national radio conference last month. The station beat out major commercial stations, as well as Sirius XM to claim the honor. 

"When I got that award I went up to the stage and said, 'I’m sorry, I don’t know what I’m doing up here. We never win this. Thank you.' And that’s all I could say before I felt like I was going to pass out," says Jon McDaniel, the station's program director.

McDaniel and 50 other students as well as some adults operate the station, which has been at the school since 1971. 

This is the biggest award the station has ever won. McDaniel says what makes the station work is keeping things fun, being commercial-free and oh, being smart in discovering megastars when they're still just nobodies.

McDaniel said the station was the first in the U.S. to play tunes by Lady Gaga. 

"That was a full eight months before 'Just Dance' was released in America," he said.  

Florangela Davila is KNKX’s news director. A journalist in Seattle since 1992, she’s earned numerous individual and team honors in print, online and broadcast, most recently three regional Murrows for KNKX.