Former DJs, volunteers and staff to discuss ‘KAOS Radio: An Independent Legacy’

November 1, 2017
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Current and former KAOS 89.3 FM DJ’s, volunteers and staff members will gather for a Return to Evergreen session dedication to the history and legacy of the station on Saturday, November 4 at 3:00 p.m.

KAOS, The Evergreen State College’s radio station, seeks to “empower and educate students, alumni and other community members through opportunities with free-form broadcasting, live performances, in-studio productions and local outreach.”

Titled “KAOS Radio: An Independent Legacy,” the session will be hosted by Diana Arens ‘93, MPA ‘15 who served as program director, producer and on-air host at KAOS from 1991-2008.

During her 17 years at the station Arens produced and hosted a program called “Free Things Are Cool,” trained and managed student audio engineers, led fundraisers, coordinated live performances and much more.


How would you describe the community of DJs, producers and other volunteers who make up the KAOS community?

The diverse group of KAOS DJs, producers, and volunteers I have known over the years have tended to be driven, enigmatic, focused, creative, and generous with their knowledge, enthusiasm, and love for independent music and public affairs. An exceptional number of Evergreen KAOS alumni have gone on to other creative endeavors in music, art, education, and business.


In a nutshell, how did the station grow into the local treasure and nationally known college radio institution it is today?

Formed in 1973 by Dean Katz, under an Evergreen student contract, KAOS evolved into a listener-supported, non-commercial, college-community station welcoming and training Evergreen students, staff and community members as volunteer DJs playing a wide variety of music with no required playlists.


Following former Music Director John Foster’s revolutionary Independent Music Policy, KAOS became a beacon of independent music worldwide. Under the leadership of Michael Huntsberger, the station built new and larger studios, added satellite interconnection facilities, expanded its FM coverage, began streaming on the Internet, trained more than 2,000 volunteers to make radio, and supported more than 300 internships for undergraduate and graduate students from Evergreen and other high schools, colleges, and universities.

Is there anything that makes KAOS different from most other college radio stations?

KAOS is a campus-community hybrid station. Those are rare. In addition to Evergreen students and staff, the community is welcome to get trained to do radio, and have radio shows on KAOS. KAOS is unique in that it maintains its beloved Independent Music Policy, dreamed up by former KAOS Librarian John Foster—KAOS plays music from independent labels at least 80% of the time. KAOS has no assigned playlists or music rotation. It is programmed by the inspiration and passion of volunteer DJs sharing their love of music with listeners.

What can attendees expect from the KAOS session at Return to Evergreen?

We’ll talk about the history of KAOS, the Independent Music Policy, and the ways the station has empowered students, alumni, and community members to create participatory media for listeners in Olympia and beyond. I’ll be asking the panelists questions about favorite and funny KAOS memories, favorite songs or bands or records to play on KAOS, what they’d like to see KAOS do in the future, and much more.



KAOS Radio: An Independent Legacy

3-5 pm Saturday November 4, 2017

The Evergreen State College Recital Hall

Panelists will include:

-STEVE FISK ‘82: Former KAOS DJ, musician (Halo Benders, Pell Mell, Pigeonhed), producer (Beat Happening, Nirvana, Soundgarden), founder of two indie labels

-JOHN FOSTER ‘79: Former KAOS Librarian and author of the KAOS Independent Music Policy, Publisher of OP Magazine, John Foster’s Pop Philosophers’ Lead Singer, Mixx 96.1 KXXO Program Director

DEAN KATZ ‘75: KAOS founder, former KAOS General Manager

-BRUCE PAVITT ‘81: Former host of Subterranean Pop on KAOS, Subterranean Pop zine, founder of Sub Pop Records, writer/photographer (Sub Pop USA: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology 1980-1988; Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989), Creative Director of 8Stem

For more information and to register visit