Catching up with KDUP: How they plan to bring back the music

Staff aims to be back on the air in 2023

By Sydney Gannon | November 9, 2022 6:00pm
KDUP is UP's college radio station. The station hopes to be back on air by spring 2023.
Media Credit: Shruthi Vijukumar / The Beacon

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many difficulties for student groups on campus. KDUP, UP’s internet-based student radio station, has faced more challenges than most, and hasn’t been on the air for months.

After a string of setbacks resulting in radio silence, things are beginning to look up for the organization.

In the summer of 2020, KDUP’s headquarters, the “Shack,” was permanently shut down due to the discovery of mold and general deterioration. KDUP was forced to vacate its home of over 30 years and eventually move to the Kenna Hall basement. 

“We were kind of in chaos for a couple of years,” Nikita Tewari, the general manager of KDUP, said. 

Despite losing the Shack, KDUP carried on with streaming radio shows, albeit not in their traditional form of 24/7 streaming. Without their usual equipment, they began streaming via Twitch and Spotify in the fall of 2020. They stopped using Twitch in early 2022 after becoming aware of some potential legal issues with this streaming method, according to Director of Student Activities Jeromy Koffler, who is their interim advisor. 

Now, KDUP has a plan to get back on the air, using a new, more official system for radio streaming. They hope to be on the air by spring of 2023. With the help of their former advisor, Brian Blair of 94.7 FM, KDUP is currently searching for a professional radio engineer to help finish setting up their new system.

“The goal is to go back to that traditional form of having a stream online 24/7 and have music playing so that we have a cohesive sound always being broadcasted from KDUP,” Tewari said. 

In the meantime, an enthusiastic KDUP staff is trying to make the best of their time off the air by hosting a variety of live events and decorating their new headquarters, which they have named the Pit.

The Pit is much smaller than the tiny house that was the Shack. Its two tiny rooms house as much of the equipment, decorations and music that they could salvage from the Shack, as well as the upgraded equipment they had to purchase. 

The Shack had been a part of KDUP’s culture for so long, the news of its decommission was heartbreaking to past and present KDUP staff. 

“We had alumni sending us emails and a lot of support,” KDUP’s music director Jacob Ortiz said. “I think it was just such a unique environment.” 

Jacob Ortiz is the music director for KDUP.
by Shruthi Vijukumar / The Beacon

From covering the ceiling with records to drawing on the walls, KDUP is doing their best to remake the creative environment of the Shack. 

“I personally just hope that people can come into this space and feel comfortable in being themselves,” program director Bri Tade said, “like KDUP is more than a radio station. It's more so a space where you can just be authentically you.” 

One piece of decoration that sits propped up against a wall in the Pit is a writing-covered door that was salvaged from the Shack. For Tewari, this door is a reminder of where they came from. 

“It's a reminder of KDUP's past and it's a physical piece of a space that we're never probably going to be able to see again,” Tewari said. 

As they set up their new streaming system and decorate the Pit, KDUP has multiple events in the works to keep up with community engagement. These include open-mic nights and concerts, giving a space for students and local Portland musicians to perform. 

KDUP plans to host their big spring semester event, Smash the Bluff, again this year. They are also in the process of creating a “street team,” which will help sort through music and introduce students to the Portland music scene. 

“There's a little bit of frustration of what we're working with,” Tade said on the hardships the KDUP staff has faced, “but alas, we're still gonna do the best we can to bring this back up to something that we experience for people.” 

After facing the problems caused by the pandemic and the decommissioning of the Shack, the student staff of KDUP is working tirelessly to rebuild the college radio community that they once knew. Koffler believes that it is important to recognize all of the hard work the student staff is doing. 

“They've done a lot with nothing,” Koffler said “The students who work at KDUP are doing the best to keep the spirit of KDUP alive, even in this challenging time of rebuilding the studio from scratch.” 

Sydney Gannon is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at