A local radio station is giving a voice to young patients facing serious and life-threatening illnesses at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Radio station 91.3 (WAPS-FM) The Summit on Friday opened the Kidjam Radio broadcast recording studio within the Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center at the hospital.

Patients can visit the studio to record messages or songs that will be played between music selections on the radio station’s Kidjam broadcast, which airs on Saturday mornings and around the clock through www.kidjamradio.com or the smartphone app.

“People in the community and the world are going to be able to hear patients’ and families’ stories,” said Molly Kohut, the hospital’s art therapy coordinator.

Families will be given a digital copy of the recordings, as well as a photo taken in the broadcast booth.

“Some of these kids aren’t going to make it out,” said Andrew James, director of operations for The Summit. “Not only will you have a picture of your child, you will have their voice forever.”

The radio station is training the Children’s expressive therapy center staff to make the recordings, which The Summit will edit remotely.

“I think it’s very powerful for kids to hear their voice and share their story,” said Tommy Bruno, general manager for The Summit.

For Allysa Hostetter, 11, of East Palestine,the opportunity to visit the broadcast booth was a welcome break during her nearly weeklong hospital stay for an illness.

Allysa made the Kidjam booth’s inaugural recording during a celebration Friday to mark the program’s launch.

After several practice rounds, Allysa sat in front of the microphone and enthusiastically read a promotional message for Kidjam without stumbling over any words.

“It was really fun,” she said with a smile afterward.

“This is the best thing since we’ve been in the hospital,” added her mom, Debbie Hostetter.

The nonprofit, public radio station raised nearly $100,000 from donors to support the Kidjam project at Children’s. The center is believed to be one of only a handful of pediatric hospital-based media studios in the nation.

“I can’t wait to hear these young kids’ voices on the radio and probably see the light in their eyes and the light in their parents’ eyes,” said William Considine, president and chief executive of Akron Children’s Hospital. “... This kind of space helps us be a special place for kids — a place that is not a hospital, not institutional.”

The recordings from patients at Children’s will begin airing this summer from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday, said Garrett Hart, the station’s creative content director. The goal is to expand the hours for the segments.

“What we intend to do is grow that out as we get more messages,” he said.

Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/CherylPowellABJ.