KBPS is Benson High School's student-operated station, owned by Portland Public Schools. It owns the license and broadcasting equipment for KPSU's signal, which aired on the station during nighttime hours since 1994.
Last night, KPSU aired its Debate Hour, which featured a discussion on sodomy. A listener turned on the radio to hear the words "sodomy is great," and posted a complaint to this online discussion thread. Cooper, who is attending a conference in Kansas City, learned of the broadcast this morning, and moved to shut down the station. At 1:09 pm today he posted a notice to the thread saying the station would be shut down:
A programming note. Because of last night's on-air incident you will no longer hear KPSU programming on AM 1450 KBPS. For now, most of the airtime that had been devoted to KPSU will be programmed with music. Very soon we will begin airing a number of Portland School District programs that are currently under development.
Cooper says that even before the sodomy incident, he was planning not to renew KPSU's contract for station use after it expired at the end of this month. "We're taking back the airtime to program other things from the school district," including music and community announcements, he says.
Doug Friend, the KPSU music director, says that the station was on thin ice with Cooper: "Our contract said we should use a conservative interpretation of FCC guidelines."
However, FCC profanity restrictions do not apply between 10 pm and 6 am, when KPSU volunteers say the show aired. (Clarification, 4:09 pm: The mention of the word "sodomy" does not violate FCC restrictions.)
The station will continue to broadcast online, and with a low-power signal on campus at 98.1 FM. "We're going to push forward as much as possible," says Friend.
Update 4:09 pm: A statement from Friend on behalf of KPSU is after the jump.
To sum everything up: We are sad to see our relationship with KBPS end so suddenly & without warning. Aside from the clause in our KBPS contract which states that KPSU should adopt a "conservative" understanding of FCC guildlines & that Bill Cooper has any final say on content for our station; we have had a positive relationship with KBPS throughout this stations history. This being said, we are taking the recent events as an oppertunity to move forward with our station, pursuing possible broadcasting options in HDFM & generally pushing the station to greater reaches. We've recently completed an impressive remodel at the station, along with an upgrade of Dj gear & equipment and look forward to the upcoming year.
We are committed to continue providing truely free community radio, where a diverse collection of DJs can participate in a broadcasting environment of open programming creativity. KPSU - Portland's College Radio currently broadcasts online at www.kpsu.org & on the PSU campus at 98.1FM