KPSU aims for FM

KPSU, Portland State’s student-run radio station, wants to become the first college FM station in the Portland metro area—if they can raise enough funds to do so.

Photo by Riza Liu.
Photo by Riza Liu.

KPSU, Portland State’s student-run radio station, wants to become the first college FM station in the Portland metro area—if they can raise enough funds to do so.

A commercial-free and nonprofit radio station, KPSU has been broadcasting since 1994, providing a variety of opinions and musical selections. To help raise funds to obtain the proper radio signal and purchase the equipment needed for the move to FM, the station is hosting a Radio Revival series that will include concerts, trivia nights, “friend-raisers,” community art shows and a car smash.

I suggest that everyone attend at least one event to help the cause, so check out the station’s page at

If enough funds can be raised to get KPSU on FM, it would be a tremendous benefit to both the university and the community. With such a diverse campus, which KPSU strives to represent, the station would continue to provide multiple perspectives that members of the Portland community outside of PSU don’t normally get.

We have students here that hail from all over the world and have a closer connection to world events than the average American citizen. They stay current on international topics that most Americans simply don’t follow. By using their access to our campus’ diversity and variety of interests to bring PSU to a larger audience, KPSU can provide Portland residents with a perspective previously unavailable to them.

As KPSU Director James Turk said in an interview with PSU’s Office of University Communications, “We can make an important contribution to the public dialogue.”

In addition to contributing to the public dialogue by sharing the unique and varied outlooks and experiences of PSU students with the Portland metro area, KPSU can also cover issues overlooked by the mainstream media.

For the average person, “news” consists of the same five or six stories covered again and again. Unless you’re actively searching for a variety of news, the world’s events are filtered through a pretty narrow funnel and often distilled to mainly U.S.-related news.

Unfortunately, AM/FM radio and television are two huge news mediums that fail to offer diverse stories (with the notable exception of NPR). This is where KPSU can fill a void. Using our student body’s pool of unique and diverse voices, KPSU can cover stories that are ignored by the Fox Newses and CNNs of the world. KPSU can provide international news that will be of interest to Portland’s international residents.

A foreigner living in the U.S. has little access to news of their home country or region of the world outside of the Internet. KPSU could offer news stories that relate to a larger variety of people and that will enhance the worldview of those who otherwise hear so little about the world outside of the U.S.

Plus, it would be nice to get a Portland-specific perspective on national and world news events.

A great backstory of the effort to get KPSU on FM airwaves is the creation of the Local Community Radio Act. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in January 2011, was put in place in order to highlight the importance of and need for local, educational and nonprofit radio stations that disseminate a variety of opinions and perspectives to create better and more knowledgeable citizens.

The signal that KPSU wishes to obtain—Low Power FM—became available when the act was signed into law. I cannot commend the creation of this act enough. As previously mentioned, mainstream media outlets are shamefully biased and don’t even have the decency to hide it.

Our government’s recognition of the need for diverse news outlets is something that we should all applaud and support. Turk recognizes this need and the benefits. “This is the first time in 10 years that these signals have been available to organizations [like ours] and we don’t want to miss this chance,” he said.

We can prevent this by supporting KPSU efforts, so go see one of the shows and celebrate the opportunity to provide a diverse news outlet to the Portland metro area.