KAOS Radio Receives Grant for Digital Programming

December 2, 2008

"In The Know" Radio

November 20, 2008

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Host: Let’s face it. The world could use a little more KAOS. Now, thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), it’s going to get exactly that.

This week the CPB awarded Evergreen’s community radio station $78,872 to add HD transmissions alongside its current signal at 89.3 on your FM dial. To find out what all this means, we talked to John Ford, KAOS’s director of development, long-term volunteer, and tireless promoter and champion.

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Host: So John, what’s all this really mean? What’s HD and why is it good for KAOS?

John Ford: First of all, let’s be clear. HD doesn’t stand for anything. That’s just a marketing thing. HD is the name of a digital format for radio broadcasting. Adding HD transmission capability will let KAOS broadcast additional ‘channels’ alongside our regular signal.

Host: Do analog listeners need to worry about upgrading their equipment to keep their beloved KAOS coming in strong?

JF: Any FM radio will still get 89.3 FM, but HD radios will get that plus the new digital channels, let’s call them “KAOS 2,” “KAOS 3,” and so on. You’ll have to have HD equipment to get the new channels, but plain old FM will always be there—a far more equitable arrangement, especially for folks with limited resources. Unlike the digital TV push which eliminates analog TV and forces everyone to get new sets or subscribe to cable, this does not force folks to “switch.”

Host: So, I assume that with more airwaves, KAOS will be growing. Can we also assume that the station will keep its community-centered philosophy and its core reliance on volunteers for programming?

JF: Definitely. Those additional channels will be dedicated to additional programming. Personally I’m very excited about the prospect of more [broadcast] space for more service to the community—and more volunteers

Host: I understand the $78,872 will pay to purchase and install new transmission equipment over the next couple of years during the CAB remodel. Does this funding come with strings attached?

JF: Well, the total costs for the project are budgeted closer to $100,000—we’re still hammering out the final figures—so it will require additional funding from the station. And we may ask our listeners to help us meet that goal. We’ll be letting folks know our needs as we get further into the project.

Host: Thanks so much and good luck with going digital.

JF: Thank you. It’s a big win for non-commercial, community radio in the South Sound area.

Host: That was John Ford and I talking earlier today. In addition to Mr. Ford, who spearheaded the grant effort, we want to congratulate Andy Corn, Jerry Drummond, Tom Mercado, and Rob Rensel for their contributions to the project. If all goes according to plan, KAOS will broadcast its first official digital program within a year of returning to its new and improved station, which will be constructed during the CAB remodel in 2009-10.

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***** The above is a somewhat fictionalized retelling of a true story.*****
Radio Copy by John McLain, Academic Grants Manager at The Evergreen State College

More on KAOS

Evergreen’s KAOS radio station recently received top honors from the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best college or university radio stations. Development director John Ford said he believes it’s the station’s strong community-oriented service ethic, combined with a focus on local and independent music that makes KAOS distinctive among others surveyed. The station emphasizes local speakers and issues, allowing content to be shaped by the needs of its public. KAOS gets the opportunity to grow creatively in ways larger stations cannot, due to its unique non-commercial and educational status. According to Ford, KAOS programming showcases a wide variety of voices never heard on commercial radio.