I am one of the founders and a current volunteer with Freeform Portland 90.3 FM KFFP-LP, a low powered FM station in Portland, Oregon. Radio doesn't have to suck! We are an all volunteer run station playing whatever we want with no regard to any corporate overlords. You can hear what's on right now at www.freeformportland.org/listen

AMA about community radio, being a DJ, how it all works, whatever!

Proof: my show http://www.freeformportland.org/show/esoteria-w-odd-monster/

Me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OddMonsterPDX

Edit: I'm back from my burrito. Ask away! I'll try and answer everyone.

EDIT 2: I'm here all day today too (Friday), if anyone else has any questions! If you want to know what the music from the station sounds like, go to www.freeformportland.org, although I have absolutely no idea what the DJs will be playing at any given time (which is the fun part)

EDIT 3: I'll continue answering questions if you came to this late! No reason to stop now.

Comments: 99 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

Elfomelo6 karma

What is your main source to hear new musics?

OddMonsterPDX8 karma

Portland is very lucky to have a bunch of listener supported stations, so when I'm in the car and out of range of Freeform Portland, I listen to XRAY, KBOO and my absolute favorite KISN, which is a low power oldies station started by DJs from the original Portland oldies station that Clear Channel bought and turned into crap. Punk rock as fuck.

SixshooteR325 karma

Check out KEXP in Seattle. They have had some fantastic artist perform on their channel and full performances are on youtube. KGATLW, POND, Mac DeMarco, Thee oh Sees, and Night Beats got me hooked

OddMonsterPDX3 karma

I'll add it to my list! Someone already mentioned them in a comment in this AMA, and they also share our frequency!

SixshooteR321 karma

Nice! Im dropping an unofficial request for you to play King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard on your show. Or at least give them a listen on your own. They are electric.

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Those guys are great! They're coming to Portland in October, maybe I should get off my butt and buy some tickets to the show. No Clear Channel freebies for me!

PTFCGinger3 karma

Sooo... am I still your favorite? Or does that change with lack of burritos? 😿💕🌯

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

(and now I know your Reddit handle!)

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

I'm still waiting on the burritos!

iwas99x3 karma

How often do you watch "Portlandia"?

OddMonsterPDX4 karma

I liked the first couple of seasons, but the show really wore out its welcome in Portland after that.

iwas99x1 karma

How did it do that?

OddMonsterPDX5 karma

Portland has changed a lot (A LOT) since Portlandia began. The city in Season One barely exists now. Many of the weirdos and artists, etc can't afford to live here anymore, which a lot of people (fairly or unfairly) attribute to the national exposure the show gave Portland.

somekook3 karma

Blame the insane rent in SF.

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Oh, I do!

somekook1 karma

It's crazy how much Portland has changed since I first visited in 2010.

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

I've lived here since 2008 and it's bonkers. All of the great dive and punk rock bars are closing or getting knocked down and replaced with fancy "trendy" bars.

iwas99x2 karma

What does San Francisco have to do with Oregon?

somekook3 karma

Weirdos got priced out of SF and went up to Portland, increasing demand for real estate.

iwas99x2 karma

They just drove up to next biggest city on I-5?

Hot4_TeaCha3 karma

It's happening all over. In what’s called “tier 2” cities. People can’t afford to keep paying New York, Boston, or DC prices and move down to places like Raleigh, Nashville, Charlotte, Cleveland, etc. where rent is more reasonable but they still have an urban core with craft breweries, home-goods stores, kombucha, and pretentious coffee joints. (I kid. . . but only a little.)

They can take the skills and contacts they pick up in those, more dynamic, cities and get decent jobs in these new cities, but since they’re coming from crazy expensive places there is a bit of a reverse sticker-shock (i.e. I can get HOW MUCH house for that!?) and they wind up driving the real estate prices up a bit for everyone else.

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Yup, that seems right on!

OddMonsterPDX3 karma

Portland is the best city on (near) the coast between Seattle and San Francisco, and people who have made good tech money move here because it's cheaper, pricing out many of the existing residents. Portland used to be an inexpensive town, but now we have a homelessness crisis.

robbie06303 karma

When did the radio station start? Were you involved from the beginning?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

It started as a few people brainstorming in October of 2014. I joined up a couple of months later (I think in February?). I was brought in by one of the original people who was a friend who said "Hey, you want to help start a radio station?" So, I wasn't one of the very first people, but I think I was in the first dozen.

We fundraised for about a year and a half and finally went on the air in April of 2016, and have been going strong since then!

EDIT: Corrected the date.

robbie06301 karma

How does one start a radio station? I've always had this dream of starting one.

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Well, if you want to do it legally first you have to acquire an FCC license where you'll be assigned a frequency and broadcast range. They offer them occasionally (here are some FAQs: https://www.fcc.gov/media/radio/lpfm-frequently-asked-questions).

After that, it's a matter of raising enough money! You have to buy a tower and find a suitable location. If you plan on having live DJs, you need space for a studio as well, plus a mixing board, mics, all that stuff!

I think that's all of the major steps.

EDIT: ORRRRR if you want to risk prosecution from the federal government, you can start a pirate radio station like Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume. Be warned, they WILL look for you, so I don't recommend that! A great book on one woman's experience with pirate radio is 40 Watts From Nowhere by Sue Carpenter (https://www.amazon.com/40-Watts-Nowhere-Journey-Pirate/dp/141656960X). There may be at least one pirate station in Portland, but no comment (I'm not involved with one, if it exists or not).

Girafferra2 karma

How many times and in what context have you seen the unipiper?

Above question is just so I don't get booted for not asking a question. Just wanted to say I live here and will be checking out your station later today! Thanks!

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

I used to see him around my in-laws neighborhood all the time before he started wearing the Darth Vader mask and shooting fire everywhere. Now I mostly see him on YouTube or Facebook! I think he hangs out where tourists are, which is generally where I avoid!

I hope you like the station! Remember, if you don't like the music, check back in an hour and it will be completely different!

Girafferra2 karma

Also your disclaimer about the music matches the disclaimer about our weather here.

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Chicago?

Girafferra0 karma

So you're the unipiper hipster then? You belong in Portland.

OddMonsterPDX3 karma

I do! I like it here.

LetsGetNice1 karma

Any connection to KEXP? Or just a coincidence that you're both 90.3?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Nope, just a coincidence. You'll find that most of the really interesting radio stations are on the far left of the dial, which are reserved for community radio stations. KEXP is a great station, though!

LetsGetNice1 karma

Cool! I'll check you guys out next time I'm in PDX!

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Awesome! You can also check us out wherever you are at www.freeformportland.org/listen. Right now is an awesome show, the Radio Birdman Show with HRPunknStuf. It's so good. I'm listening right now!

zombiesnare1 karma

Hey Beavertonite here, would I be able to hear you from over here on the other side of the hill?

Also how did you get into radio? How would you recommend a young person get into it?

Thanks for keeping the music cool

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Thanks, zombiesnare!

You can stream us on the web at www.freeformportland.org. I use TuneIn with an Amazon Echo on my stereo, and the app also works on phones pretty well.

I was a freshman in college (a LOOOONG time ago) looking for something to do to fit in and I saw the college radio station was looking for volunteers, so I went to a meeting and got involved. College radio is a great resource for students, and for people who live in their broadcast ranges because they usually have pretty great music.

If you ever move into town, or want to make the commute, we're always looking for more volunteers!

zombiesnare1 karma

I'm looking for a productive summer hobby, I'll look into that, thank you!

Follow up to that; what positions need volunteers?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Ha, everything! From DJs to engineers to people to work in social media, programming, people on the music committee who acquire and vet new and donated music to people to help with marketing. And best of all, we will train you, no experience necessary for anything!

We have a volunteer form you can fill out on our website, and someone will get back to you. It's really the most amazing group of people-- everybody is super nice and just happy to be there.

http://www.freeformportland.org/about/volunteer/

readmyvoice1 karma

Hey man, I'm in Portland and don't think I've heard of this station. Where do I tune in? What channel?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

We're on the dial at 90.3 FM KFFP-LP, but our broadcast range is limited to mostly North and Northeast Portland. You can also stream it via TuneIn or at www.freeformportland.org.

lord_thomas_gaben1 karma

Have you played any Lucius or hippocampus?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Lucius yes. I don't know Hippocampus! Looking them up now.

lord_thomas_gaben1 karma

They're from Minnesota so they're pretty small.

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Not bad! (listening now)

iwas99x1 karma

How do you decide on what to play? Is it based on your mood and suggestions?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Most of the time it's mood, but occasionally I'll ask a question on Facebook like "What's your favorite song from childhood?" and play people's choices. Or I'll decide to play nothing but fake bands from TV shows and movies and spend two days researching them!

iwas99x1 karma

Did you forget to add a cool square icon/avatar to the left of your AMA posting? And did the mods forget to label your AMA as "LIVE"?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Huh...I've never done an AMA, so I don't know how to add post flair.

iwas99x1 karma

Is being a DJ a full time job or is it your second job?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

It's a volunteer position-- nobody at the station makes a dime. Every penny goes into keeping the lights on, buying new equipment (you'd be surprised how often you go through headphones) and paying rent.

I am in the middle of starting a non-radio business as my main line of work, but it's not really relevant for this AMA.

iwas99x1 karma

What are the goals of the station?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

That's a great question. Freeform Portland exists to provide community access to awesome music and programming. Nothing is automated at the station, there is a real person behind the board 24/7/365. We live in your neighborhoods and go to the same shows as you. This is our music and yours-- plus, anybody can be a DJ! Just sign up on our website and come volunteer!

iwas99x1 karma

How do you spread the word locally about the station?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Locally, it's a lot of DJ nights (many local bars are nice enough to let us spin and pay us for it -- the money all goes to the station) which raises our profile. We also put on shows at local venues and do a lot of social media (I'm one of the social media people, actually).

iwas99x1 karma

How often are you on reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

A LOT. I came over in the Great Digg Migration and never left. I'm a big nerd, so I love /r/whowouldwin and I spend more time than I should on /r/Pathfinder_RPG. Less nerdy stuff I like is soccer stuff (/r/Timbers, /r/Everton) /r/askscience and /r/wowthissubexists.

charonpdx1 karma

Oh, damn, on /r/Pathfinder_RPG AND /r/Timbers? A DJ after my own heart!

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

You can hear me every week on Tuesdays from 6-8pm!

iwas99x1 karma

Are you a fan of the Timbers and Trailblazers?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

I'm a rabid Timbers and Thorns fan, although I must confess I'm not really into basketball.

iwas99x1 karma

Basketball is fun to play and watch. Do you ever get any of the soccer player to listen to the station?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

I'm not sure if any do-- most of them live on the west side where reception is spotty. I also do a podcast about the Thorns, and I know that some of the players have heard me there! I need to get their ears to the radio! I want Diego Valeri or Tobin Heath on my show!

iwas99x1 karma

Are there people in the station 24 hours a day?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Absolutely. Nothing is prerecorded, everything you hear is being played live! We have a lot of volunteer DJs, and they keep the party going at all times!

iwas99x1 karma

So how does the station get funding for operations/expenses?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Every penny comes either from our pockets, the pockets of friends, family and listeners, or from fundraisers (DJ nights, shows, etc) that we put on. We don't have any money from any businesses at all.

iwas99x1 karma

Do you have a radio/stage name?

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

Yup, I go by Odd Monster when I DJ. Find me in your local pharmacies and grocery stores.

iwas99x1 karma

I'm on the other coast. But i have family in Tigard and Scappoose.

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Almost next door! Tigard has a great drive in theater. And Scappoose is my favorite Oregon town name to say out loud. It's so satisfying. Scappooooooose.

iwas99x1 karma

How far outside of the Portland city limits can you hear the radio station?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Not too far. You can hear is right across the river in Vancouver, WA, but that's about it. We're what's called a Low Power FM station (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-power_broadcasting?wprov=sfla1) and every cent we have we raised from friends and family, so everyone we raise more we get the opportunity to make our tower a little bit taller and extend our range a little more.

I don't get the FM signal at my house, I play the internet stream instead through my stereo.

theflamingskull1 karma

Your playlist is all over the place. Did you model your program after the radio shows Steve Jones used to do?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Thanks! (I think). While I don't necessarily model my show after his, we both kinda do the same thing, which is Freeform radio, which means you play whatever you damn well please (though nothing obscene before 10 pm).

I was actually influenced by a radio show David Johansen used to do on Sirius (don't know if he still does it or not) where he played EVERYTHING. I loved it.

EDIT: spelling

AnswerMeNow11 karma

How do you choose songs?

OddMonsterPDX5 karma

Sorta depends on my mood. Sometimes I'll hear a song somewhere during the week and Shazam it (I save all my Shazams in a Spotify playlist) then go back and try and base a show around it. Or I'll decide on a theme (I did an all Brian Eno show on his birthday, for instance). Or I'll just say fuck it and play jazz or whatever.

I do try and make sure each segment between when I talk has a good mix of things. I don't put two soul songs together, or just play four electronic songs, I try and break it up to keep the audience unsure of what they'll hear next.

That's the great thing about listener supported radio-- a corporate station would throw a fit that I'm not playing music that will attract listeners that will attract advertising dollars. We don't care about that in the slightest. When the DJs curate the music themselves, you know it's going to be good (or at least interesting).

charonpdx1 karma

Awww. saw your title and nick, and thought you were at KBOO.

So... Need proof that this Reddit account is the same OddMonster as on Twitter or the FreeFrom Blog.

A quick Tweet "I'm live on Reddit now!" with a link to this thread would suffice. Or a similar post on the station Blog.

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

Will do!

WorkReddit84201 karma

Are there any other independant stations that you listen to or collaborate with? For example the only one I know of is: http://kxlu.com which is 88.9fm from Los Angelels.

Do indepedant stations collaborate with each other?

OddMonsterPDX2 karma

This is a great question. The independent radio community is surprisingly robust and close knit, which I didn't know until I joined it. I wanted to give you a better answer than what I could provide, so I asked our station founder her opinion. Here's what she said:

We routinely share ideas/volunteers with xray and kboo. When xray moved out of their previous station, we bought most of our equipment (at a very discounted price) from them. Not to mention we share the same amazing engineers...And [we have a volunteer] who works at kboo, has been instrumental in helping Freeform and has taken on various leadership roles at the station). It's a small community radio world and we're all buds.

Ken Freeman of WFMU in New Jersey, which is the grandaddy of the freeform format, made us a video to help us initially fund raise about the importance of independent, freeform radio. You can watch it here if you're so inclined: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qEUkYWnck

Outside of Portland stations, I listen to WFMU (of course) and KXLU in LA.

charonpdx1 karma

OddMonsterPDX1 karma

That's me!

_Calvert_-2 karma

what's the point? I can pull up a playlist on spotify or whatever to replace you...

Unless you're a talk radio station, what purpose does a radio station serve?

OddMonsterPDX9 karma

That's fair enough. I mean, I listen to Spotify too, and their suggestion engine is really good.

However, Spotify won't tell you about local bands that aren't on it, won't have local programming specific to your neighborhoods. If that's not something you're interested in, that's cool, but I know I want that.