Thanks so much for writing – this sounds like a really exciting project, and you’re asking great questions. Noah’s advice to talk to Sasha is great, since she may have a very recent portrait of the field, and – unfortunately – the answer to most of your questions is… it depends! I’m going to add your email to the list we have specifically for youth radio leaders, and encourage you to repost there, in case leaders aren’t trolling GPRX. I’m also happy to talk more on the phone or via email, if it’d be of use. Just give a shout to jones[at]prx[dot]org.
For now, here’s a small sampling:
1. Flash recorders are the thing, these days, and many groups on a budget opt for the H2 or the Tascam DR-07. Luckily, Transom.org has a fantastic side by side comparison of recorders that’s really worth investigating: http://www.transom.org/tools/recording_interviewing/200703_recorder_reviews/
2. Most groups have a ratio of roughly 1 adult to 4-6 kids… with many examples of more and fewer. Radio tends to be mentor-heavy, but once you have an initial group, you can always recruit students as peer teachers, a great way to build the work.
3/4. These are big “it depends” questions! What are your final goals with the project? What skills do you need to build? What kind of longevity are you going for? See the latest edition of Signal to download the The Thinking About Programs handout – it might be helpful in honing in on where you’d like to go (and then help with the training/recruitment strategies): http://generation.prx.org/signal/an-all-new-signal-what-makes
Hope this helps! Please keep me posted with any questions/updates etc.,