By Serena Imani Korn, Production Director and Anna Gordon, Music Director
The first floor of the CAB is not just a center for college dorm food and despondence. It’s also home to a legendary radio station, which has introduced the likes of Bikini Kill, Nirvana, Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and K Records as well as Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop Records. KAOS Community Radio hit the airwaves in 1973 and has been a mainstay of The Evergreen State College and the Pacific Northwest independent music scene ever since. The station has a dual role as both community and college radio, which means that it serves the Evergreen community and the greater Olympia community as a whole. As an Evergreen student, you have the opportunity to continue this celebrated history.
Students work behind the scenes to keep KAOS running, with the help of two managing staff and more than 80 volunteers. With this help from community volunteers, it is also important for more students to get involved. Maybe you’re ready to jump right in, or maybe you’re a little intimidated by radioland. Wherever you’re at, KAOS can meet you there.
How to get involved
As a start, you can stop by the KAOS office anytime 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. The door handle may not turn, but don’t be deterred, it is unlocked and you are welcome. You can tour the station, including the studios and music library, meet staff and volunteers, and take a crash course in KAOS 101.
There are numerous volunteer opportunities at the station. Help is always needed around the station, whether it’s organizing the music library, lending your voice talent, or hosting live bands. The on-air DJ training is free for students and includes six two-hour training sessions, held once per quarter. Fall training starts on Oct. 6. This training will teach you everything you will need to be a unique radio disc jockey.
“If you are thinking about being a DJ, you should stop thinking,” said Remy, host of Type II Era. “There’s thinking and then there’s action. Not only are you going to be trained to be on the radio, you’re going to pick up tangible skills, which, I think, is part of college.”
On occasion students create internships to gain skills and credit. From electronic music and mix tapes to news and sports broadcasting, whatever your interests are, you can apply them at KAOS.
KAOS is committed to promoting diverse voices and perspectives and creating an outlet for music and content not usually heard on mainstream radio. As a non-commercial station, KAOS doesn’t take money from big businesses or cater content based on business interests. It’s also dedicated to supporting independent artists and labels, with a music policy that reflects its core values.
The KAOS Independent Music Policy, created in 1978 and the first of its kind, specifies that DJs play at least 80 percent independent artists – not signed to Sony, Warner, Universal, or their countless subsidiaries. KAOS often plays local artists and accepts all submissions. Evergreen musicians can drop their CD off at the station. There are even opportunities to have artists live in the studio.
There’s always a way to be part of KAOS, even if you can’t volunteer. Because it is “listener-supported” radio, you show your support just by tuning in. When you tune in to KAOS 89.3FM, you won’t hear commercials, you’ll hear music you won’t hear anywhere else, and you may even hear your own voice.
“I think you should tune into KAOS to support this medium that is slowly fading away,” said Miss Emma, host of the Ladies First Hip Hop Block Party. “And to get away from the same Top 40 songs played every hour on every other radio station. Not to get sassy about it, but, for real.”
The technology of radio has expanded since 1920 and there are many ways to listen to KAOS even if you don’t have an FM radio. You can stream online at www.kaosradio.org and using your smartphone with the TuneIn and SoundTap apps.
Upcoming Volunteer Orientations:
Oct. 2 at 2pm
Oct. 7 at 11am
Oct. 19 at 10am