Monday, October 25, 2010


KPSU 98.1 ( is the local, non-profit radio station of Portland State University.

I do not typically listen to the radio outside of NPR, but recently a friend invited me to have a show, so I took the opportunity to find out more about the station. Last Wednesday, I met with John Rau, one of 13 students who regularly work at KPSU, in the basement of The Smith Memorial Student Union.

The first question I asked John was whether or not he and his co-workers listen to similar music. He answered "yes and no" that their tastes were diverse, and everyone tried to be open to most genres. On the air, he told me they try to promote local bands and independent record labels as often as possible. John has trouble naming a specific band whom they all shared a mutual interest in. His sister, Elzbeth who I also met offered Modest Mouse, but John seemed like he had wanted to think up a better example.

John seemed to really enjoy his job and was very informative for me. In his own words, his work at the station is to "serve the DJs." He works as a resource for making music available for radio shows and told me I could play The Little Mermaid soundtrack for an hour if I wanted to. I do not know if I want to do that, but he mentioned it more than once.

edit/tangent: When I was 14 or 15, I began writing regularly to a friend, Jamie from the United Kingdom. Jamie and I would exchange music, books, and brief letters back and forth and we continue to do so. Many of my close friends (including John) know Jamie as a collection of well-loved mix tapes I had copied and shared as a teenager.

I've had conversations with John and other friends about how Jamie managed to expose us all to a handful of the albums we like best.
After high-school, my friends and I quickly estranged ourselves from one another as we went about our new lives of work/school/etc. Now having moved back to Portland, I find myself interacting with familiar faces I haven't thought about in a few years. Talking with John at KPSU reminded me of the funny web of people who have stuck around, and the fundamental music that has kept me in this loop.

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