KOCF-FM 92.7 is a Service of the Oregon Country Fair
KOCF is a part of the Oregon Country Fair philanthropic activities. The Fair was established in 1969 with three basic goals; it’s a fundraiser, to create community, and to help others. Over the fifty years the Fair has given more than 1.5 million dollars towards these goals. The radio station continues to enhance how the Fair achieves these goals.
- KOCF works with the Fern Ridge schools to teach about the careers available through broadcasting and provides kids a new path to learning through audio and sound production.
- KOCF covers events and activities in the greater Fern Ridge area enhancing and strengthens community ties and builds civic engagement.
- KOCF works with the City of Veneta and Lane Fire Authority to provide emergency communications in the event of naturals disasters or other events that require immediate communications with the community.
- KOCF provides a Community Bulletin Board daily and public service announcements that can be accessed by local non-profit groups to spread the word about various community activities.
- KOCF does interviews and special reports about the community and its people to let listeners know about important activities, events and enhance civic understanding.
- KOCF is community radio which is a medium that gives voice to the voiceless, that serves as the mouthpiece of the marginalized and is at the heart of communication and the democratic processes within societies.
- KOCF provides the business community an avenue to support these community strengthening activities by providing low cost underwriting that shares the business owners values with the community though brief announcements about the company and the work they do.
Although the station has only been on the air for about four years it germination began almost eight years ago. I have written up a brief look at the history of the radio station. I hope you enjoy knowing how we came about;
KOCF became a part of the Fair history as of 2012 when Jim Goettler informed the Elders that a Low Power FM license was available to the Veneta area and Task Force was created and headed up by Michael James-Long. In May of 2013 the Board gave the task force permission to work on the process of filing with the FCC for a low power (LP) construction permit. However, in October of that year when the task force was ready to file the project was nearly killed but was tabled in the last minute by Paxton. It pushed the vote to the next meeting but was beyond the filing deadline of FCC. A magical moment happened! The US government shutdown, the third longest in US history, it extend the filing deadline past the November meeting which had a newly seated OCF Board and narrowly passes the approval of filing for the FCC construction permit. January of 2014 the FCC granted the Oregon Country Fair the LP license that was competed for by several other groups during the filling window. That winter the task force began the process of trying to find a location at the Fair site to place a small tower and transmitter. After a year of resistance and very little progress Mouseman and Heather have a dinner conversation with Terry Ney, Fire Chief of Lane Fire Authority, and he grants the radio station a home at the Fire Station in down town Veneta. This is another magical moment! In February of 2015 a request was made to the FCC to make a minor move of the station from the Fair site to the Fire Station which was granted two weeks later. In March of 2015 Michael James-Long hands the reigns of the task force over to Dean Middleton who begins to coordinate construction process of the station. Less than a month later $6,353.52 worth of transmission equipment was purchased. At the on-site July meeting of the Board of Directors a close vote allowed the station to begin operating and appointed Dean as the Station Manager. The next day July 1st, 2015 the final adjustments were made and the transmitter was turned on, KOCF was born! On July 20th, the FCC covers the construction permit and KOCF is legal just eight days short of the end of the allowable 18 month FCC construction period. August of 2015 City Mayor Sandy Larson writes an article in the city newspaper lauding the work of KOCF. The Station struggles, successfully, for the next three years to pay its bills with a series of fundraisers including kettle corn sales, t-shirt sales, silent auctions, and underwriting sales, but does good work to develop excellent community relations and good will for the Fair. Fall of 2016 Stu Burgess begins Falcon Radio, an Elmira High School club, with afternoon broadcasts on KOCF radio. Live coverage of the Veneta Light Parade begins winter 2016 as did coverage of Elmira High School football games. Spring of 2017 KOCF sets up a booth at the first Veneta Business Expo and interviews Ric Ingham, the Veneta City Administrator, that summer a booth at the farmers market in Veneta, in the fall the Station had a booth at the Fall Harvest Celebration in downtown Veneta. Operations Manager, Crystalyn Autuchovich and Site Manager Shane Harvey recognize the good will Station is doing for the Fair and share that with board members. January of 2018 the Board recognizes the good work KOCF is doing for the Fair and authorizes financial support for the first time. In March of 2019 the Fair staff added KOCF to the Philanthropy page on the dot ORG web site. On April 20, 2019 the Station changes frequency to 92.7 FM and increases its listening audience from a potential from 9,000 to over 100,000. On May 4th, KOCF received a $2,588.83 from the Spring Fling fundraiser held at the McDonalds Theater.
Words are important and so is the way we represent the things that are important to us. As Gabrielle Colette said “the hand that holds the pen writes the history.” More to come…
KOCF, Station Manager
Territorial Elementary School Play
This is a story of glam and glitz and of community service. A cloudy day in June Andy and Dean head out into the country to a small school in between Franklin and Cheshire. It’s 7:45am and we check into the front desk of Territorial Elementary School. The ladies at the front desk point us to the multipurpose room which is set up for morning snack that happens at 8:15. We go back to the car and start to unload the equipment; laptop, mixer, microphones, table, mic stand, banner that identifies us as KOCF 92.7 FM, speaker stands, powered speaker that weighs 40-50 lbs., two boxes with interconnect cables, extension cords, various stands for mixer and computer, three cases of KOCF t-shirts, and a wagon to tote it in.
When we arrive in the room we are greeted by Linda Burden- Williams, who is a member of Lane Arts Council which is a co-sponsor of the event today. Linda is an acting coach assigned to help the 5th grade class prepare to do the “Live” radio play we are setting up for. Linda tells us that all twenty students would be participating in the play, not just a couple as we anticipated. The script is a dozen pages long with an introduction to the program, several commercials, interviews, a number of poems and a play. All written by the students, and we heard after the show was over one student who couldn’t be in front of the cameras and mics wrote most of the it. As planned we set up in the center of the room so we could be seen by the students and the parents and when almost finished we find out the parents aren’t attending but rather listening from home and the students are staying in a green room near the gym. We decide to move all the equipment to a better location in the room. Time’s now getting tight. We’re almost set up and checking our equipment, about 5 minutes to nine (show time), and discover the mixer isn’t working. I suggest switch out inputs and the wiggling causes the sound to come and go. A couple of taps and it’s working again. We need one more Mic, Andy runs to the car and discovers and huge truck is making access to his car interesting. 9:02am, the show is introduced by Andy to our listeners. About this time the first group of performers arrives. At the end of a song they begin their show. One student is very nervous and stands back from the mic and is almost too quiet to be heard. The others do fine. At the end of the first act Sherrene Kulm, the teacher of the 5th grade class, rushes into the room and tells us the kids weren’t being heard and only music was. I log into our stream and discover a buffer of music and a few seconds of the introduction is stuck in a loop on air. The schools firewall is blocking the outgoing stream! We have to switch to cell signal and create a hotspot from an iPhone. The signal in the metal building is too weak. I run the phone out the doors and get one more bar, just enough to stream the show. We’re back in business. This is “Live” radio and the show must go on. After the first few segments Josie Osborn, 5th grade student, interviews Mathew Thelander, an Iraq war veteran about his likes, dislikes and life experiences. It’s very well done. Stella Bounds stays in the room when her fellow students exit. She has several parts. She introduces both interviews and is one of the voices for a commercial. After the next segment the students get interested in the technology on the table and Andy explains to them how it all works. During one of the musical interludes two of the audience members that have filtered into the gym during the play introduce themselves; Liora Sponko, Executive Director of Lane Arts Council and Eric Branman, Lane Arts Council Arts Education Program Director. They are very excited and proud to see this event happening. They sponsored Linda throughout the project. I spoke the Sharrene about how Lane Arts Council got involved and she said she was close friends of Loria and talked to her about the idea. She said she in addition to her teaching degree she had a degree in Radio Communications and putting on a radio play was a dream of hers. Seeing the kids carry it out was just fantastic. Andy just checked our steaming service and discovers the stream has the largest audience the station has ever had. Sharrene requested we rerecord the opening that didn’t make it to air. We did and will edit it onto the recording.
It’s 10 am and tear down begins. The actors and sponsors go to the green room and celebrate the show and Andy and I load all the equipment back into the little wagon, several trips later we are headed back to Andy’s place. We celebrate on the way. Live radio, ain’t nothing like it.