The KDUP renaissance
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The KDUP renaissance

University of Portland's college radio station is on air after a four-year hiatus

KDUP staff pose for a group photo at their launch party.

by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

An old building covered in moss sits behind St. Mary’s. A tree grows through the wall and a rusted sign reads “KDUP” on the front door. The building, known as “The Shack,'' was once home to UP’s college radio station, but has since seen water damage and toxic black mold, leading to the past few years of uncertainty for UP’s college radio station, KDUP.

“When we came back in the fall of 2021, they discovered the problem and immediately decommissioned the building and said no one can go in here,” Director of Student Activities and KDUP’s advisor Jeromy Koffler said. “We had to get special permission to get some of the equipment out, but we lost all of their record albums, their 8-tracks, their cassettes — all that stuff was just lost.”

But, four years after KDUP was displaced and the radio equipment in The Shack was found to be unsalvageable, KDUP is finally back on air. 

On April 1, KDUP hosted a launch party at the Pilot House officially announcing to students that they are live. According to KDUP staff, this is the event that they have been waiting for since the moment they joined.

KDUP serves Shirley Temples at their launch party on April 1 at Pilot House. KDUP is now on air after four years.

by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

“It's really big,” General Manager Molly Dinsmore said. “It's really huge because when I first joined, I kind of figured out that we were not a working radio station. I was like, ‘That's never gonna happen when I'm here,’ and now for me personally, to be the general manager and to be leading a really incredible team to a launch date of us being entirely on air and on air to a really high standard, it’s amazing.”

Twenty-four hours a day, the KDUP radio is available for all ears — students, faculty, Portland locals and beyond. When DJ’s aren’t on air, the playlist is curated by KDUP staff, playing tunes from pop idols like The 1975 and Adele to indie releases from local student bands, all on their newly renovated website

KDUP staff underwent a two-year training process to make the radio accessible for students. Dinsmore notes that, this year, her staff learned to operate industry standard equipment and programs entirely through self-training. 

“We've spent so much time balancing this technical side of it while also balancing our marketing and our advertising and our shows, and we've been able to successfully put on concerts every semester for the past like two years while we've also been doing this training and all of these tests,” Dinsmore said. 

KDUP serves Shirley Temples at their launch party on April 1 at Pilot House. KDUP is now on air after four years.
by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

Production Coordinator Tyler Hicks spearheads the training for the behind-the-scenes of the radio. The automation software, Gselector allows for songs to be scheduled and played when DJs aren’t physically in the space. Hicks has also learned to operate Zetta, the more front-facing end where DJ’s are able to interact with what is being communicated to the stream and send out songs. 

“I started the Zetta and Gselector training and that was a process to try and figure out what we want to be doing,” Hicks said. “There's just a lot of those little gaps here and there of just like, ‘What does KDUP look like right now and how can we best keep engagement with the community while also trying to work towards something?’”

According to Dinsmore, KDUP’s off-air events have sustained them over the past few years. Monthly open mic nights provide a platform for students to showcase their talent as well as keeping KDUP connected with the student body. Additionally, the annual “Smash the Bluff'' event, featuring local Portland artists, has become a huge hit at UP. 

“They could have easily thrown in the towel,” Koffler said. “They were frustrated, said ‘This is dumb, why are we doing this?’ and KDUP would have been over. But instead, they've invested their time, their energy, learning new software. They're plugging things in and figuring it out themselves. And, you know, configuring professional grade automation software is not easy.”

KDUP gives out CD's at their launch party on April 1 at Pilot House. KDUP is now on air after four years.
by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

Just like any other student organization, KDUP relies on student involvement to stay active. According to Koffler, students aren't coming to events like they used to — but he thinks KDUP can change this. 

“Not to say that students don't enjoy events, they still do,” Koffler said. “But they have a variety of other competing demands on their time. I think KDUP could be a really fun thing to do with your roommate or a friend where you go down and once a week you have an hour-long show. In the KDUP Kenna basement, you like to enjoy one person's relationship and company through music. What a way to create a fun memory.”

KDUP’s music coordinator Fiona Casbarro shares this sentiment with Koffler. Casbarro is currently training and recruiting DJs for the show and urges students to apply. Whether you're interested in hosting a talk show with your roommate or just playing some of your favorite songs for an hour, KDUP can make it possible. 

“We want to be able to do the best we can and put it out to the community as best we can,” Casbarro said. “I think that's something I'm really passionate about — is making the DJs feel like this is legit and something they can do.”

Now that KDUP is finally on air and available to students, Koffler notes that the opportunities are endless, and hopes that KDUP will continue to grow and inspire more students.

KDUP hosts a launch party on April 1 at Pilot House. KDUP is now on air after four years.
by Natalie Gordon / The Beacon

“If you are a music major and want to be involved in production or broadcasting, KDUP is super beneficial,” Koffler said. “This is going to be a training ground so that if you want to go work at KNRK or, you know, Z 100 or something like that in town, you're going to have skills that will be able to translate right into the workplace.”

For Hicks, who plans to work in tech after graduation, KDUP has given him an opportunity to expand his skills and knowledge to take him to the next level. 

“I have been able to have a bunch of really cool conversations with different industry professionals and just in general, and part of that is because of the stuff that we've been able to get to do and learn through KDUP,” Hicks said. 

KDUP also provides an opportunity for student bands and local artists to submit their tracks and albums to be played on the radio. 

“We're here to support student artists — you know, first and foremost, I mean, we are a student organization,” Dinsmore said. “We're here to support University of Portland students.” 

Visit KDUP’s website to learn more about their organization, sign up for their street team, submit your music, become a DJ, listen to them live and more. 

Netty Jurriaans is the Community Engagement Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at