Campus radio station relocates for Templeton construction, revives student media, changes name

Photograph by Aidan D'Anna

In the basement level of the facilities building resides Palatine Hill radio (KPH), which has been steadily working to produce and promote student media this semester. As one of very few student organizations that have received a secondary location due to the Templeton reconstruction, KPH is looking forward to continuing their efforts to bring exposure to student radio shows and music.

Last semester, the organization changed their name to KPH to reflect the growing movement among clubs and unions to disentangle themselves from the harmful legacy of the Lewis & Clark expedition. It is their hope that this will incentivize other clubs to also remove LC from their name. 

Co-Chair Max Simon ’23 and Radio Manager Lauren Arriola ’24 are two of KPH’s board of directors for the semester, which also includes General Manager John Wallent ’22, Studio Manager Eli Bolan ’24 and Events Manager Jackson Pond ’22. Simon and Arriola have both enjoyed managing this semester despite the relocation, though Simon says he is looking forward to getting back to the usual KPH environment.   

“I think if everything goes well with the Templeton construction, it can breathe a lot of life into the general KPH space,” Simon said.

After radio silence  during the first five weeks due to relocation difficulties, KPH has returned to a pretty typical semester of providing a platform of student content. They have kept up with their usual litany of productions and events, most notably the nearly 50 radio shows they are known for, but also with a myriad of annual events. One such event is the Sunburn Music Festival, which Arriola said will take place on April 9 and will feature both a daytime and nighttime portion.

“During the day, we are going to have an art market, which is something we really wanted to do last year at Sunburn,” Arriola said. “So we will open out to student artists and vendors who will be selling stuff, in addition to student bands because we want more student involvement.”

Weather permitting, this year’s Sunburn festival will take place outside in the Cobblestone Circle, which is the circle situated between the Howard Bridge and the Estate Gardens. The nighttime portion will include performances by student bands and a main stage music performance from either a headliner or dual headliner, who Simon hints may be “a more international act” that is on tour.

“It’s been a really nice way for us to kind of bridge the gap between the students and the scene, especially because so many students here don’t come from Portland or the Pacific Northwest,” Simon said.    

Additionally, KPH is collaborating with Feminist Student Union (FSU) to ensure that Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPAs) will be available at every event and show they host  moving forward, including the Sunburn Festival. They believe that this will allow students to feel safe and have more trust in the overall environment.

In terms of radio programming, the shows cover everything from politics to conspiracy theories to music, all while running at various time slots every day of the week. The variety comes as a delight to both Arriola and Simon, who have seen radio take on an added value since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have tried to cultivate a space where students can feel comfortable discussing whatever is on their minds, or simply jam out to their favorite tunes.     

“I am just amazed at peoples’ brains,” Arriola said. “Some of the stuff people have is so weird and out there, and is so just true to themselves. I just love making it accessible to be yourself and put that out in the world.”

The radio show “Picture It,” hosted by Alaura Diaczun ’24 on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m., is an example of these unique programs. Diaczun says the intro to her show was inspired by the “Golden Girls” character Rose Nylund, who would start all of her long rambling stories with “picture it.” Diaczun similarly sets the scene for her audience, describing a specific emotion, setting or time period, before playing music that fits the “vibe” of the experience. 

“One of my favorites was playing 1950s R&B slow doo-wop songs, like the kind you would have heard on the radio station at night,” Diaczun said. “I actually looked up a bunch of different famous radio DJs during the time and took snippets of their voice and wove them in between the songs.”

In the past, Diaczun has had shows entirely in Spanish or French.  

“It feels very natural for me to categorize things into certain feelings or genres,” Diaczun said.

Diaczun describes her time with KPH as highly enjoyable and productive, given the level of independence and autonomy she has to produce the show. Despite their hands-off approach, the radio managers have always been around to help when she has needed it. 

Aside from radio shows, KPH’s studio is regularly used by LC bands and musicians. Historically, their space has been used by students that went on to pursue music after graduating, including members of the Canary Room, who have appeared on NPR Music.        

KPH has also placed an emphasis on providing access to instruments, audio interfaces and a place to record — key resources for students considering getting into music. On occasion, they even hold tutorials on occasion that teach people how to run sound and do live mixing, such as a “how to make your own synth workshop” which will take place in the coming months. 

As a final note, KPH wants to remind people to stay tuned in for updates and to always consider contributing to their blog, where they post an array of music related opinions, album reviews and playlists. In the coming weeks, they plan on announcing an event that will take place before Sunburn. For more details of the event and other updates, sign up for their mailing list or follow them at @kphradio. Additionally, their shows are streamed on Mixlr, a link to which is available on their LC webpage.

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