PORTLAND RADIO is blowing up—or, at least, the fuse has been lit. The well-publicized launch of XRAY.FM has garnered its share of attention, but a vital stalwart of Portland radio is fighting for its place back on the airwaves.
KPSU first aired on the AM band in 1994, and since then they've broadcasted from the basement of Portland State University's on-campus student center. The station was a vital supporter of local and all-ages music; its short-lived music venue, the Modern Age, was one of the city's best places for all-ages shows. (Its current incarnation, Food for Thought Café, closed earlier this week.) It also functioned as one of only a few truly freeform community stations in the nation; DJs played whatever they wanted, without any pre-selected tracks determined by the program manager. KPSU was kicked off the air in 2010 following a complaint about objectionable content (the word "sodomy" was involved), but now it's looking to get back on the dial—in a sparkling stereo FM broadcast, no less.
This is vital. KPSU's current online stream is great, as is its wide and diverse range of programming, but Portland currently has no college presence on the radio dial. The AMP KPSU fundraising and awareness campaign began this week, raising money for KPSU outreach and FM broadcasting equipment. As such, they've got a series of great-sounding events planned, including the KPSU All-Nighter, a 24-hour livestream broadcast starting at noon on Friday, April 4, with in-studio performances by nearly a dozen great local bands. And And And, Night Mechanic, St. Even, Your Rival, and many more are slated to play.
Several other fundraisers are planned for April (visit kpsu.org/ampkpsu for a complete list), including a screening of Hard Ticket to Hawaii at the Hollywood Theatre on Saturday, April 12, and a live show with Phone Call, Magic Fades, and Rap Class at Holocene on Wednesday, April 16. The campaign culminates with KPSU's annual cruise aboard the Portland Spirit on Friday, April 18; this year's KPSU Kruise features Magic Mouth and Orquestra Pacifico Tropical. Meanwhile, funds can be donated to their Indiegogo campaign at kpsu.org/pledge.