A philanthropic arm of Oregon Country Fair, KOCF community radio had a benefit concert April 20, at Whirled Pies in Eugene. The live 8-piece band filled the atmosphere with jazzy riffs. People of all ages danced and laughed and spun around on the floor. KOCF was raising funds and celebrating their move to their new frequency 92.7 FM.
KOCF is a low-power community radio station that has been broadcasting to the Fern Ridge Communities of Elmira and Veneta for the last four years. They are housed in the Lane Fire Authority station in Veneta. With the frequency change they can now reach Noti, Crow, Alvadore, and surrounding communities of Coburg, Junction City, and parts of West Eugene on 92.7 FM. This will increase their audience from about 6,000 to approximately 100,000. KOCF also streams all of their programming at kocf.org.
Partnering with the city of Elmira, and hiring the help of a consultant to guide them, KOCF has plans to enhance their broadcast in the coming years. Such plants include switching their transmitter at the fire station at a mere 300 feet elevation to the peak of a nearby mountain at 900 feet elevation, and increasing their current 100 watt signal incrementally.
The station is a project of the Oregon Country Fair, started by a group of Fair elders in 2015. Dean Middleton is the station manager and has 40 years experience in television broadcast, the last 18 were spent in Media Services at Lane Community College. Besides broadcasting funky tunes, the fire station can disseminate emergency messages. KOCF provides educational programming, informs the public on the philanthropic endeavors of the Fair and strives to enhance the relationship the Fair has with the community.
The Fair has been a supporter of the community since it started fifty years ago. It began as a fundraiser for a nonprofit school. Over the years they have expanded their support to many neighboring schools and nonprofit organizations that support the arts and humanitarian aid such as Bags of Love, The HIV Alliance, Shelter Care and many more. They currently raise an average of $2.2 million each year that goes to programs helping those of the community who need it most.
In line with those same principles, KOCF raises funds to aid students with an interest in media broadcasting and audio production. Lane Community College at one point donated 25 computers to KOCF, which were then donated to Elmira High School. This technology saw the founding of a student-run station, Falcon Radio, named for the school’s mascot. Besides putting on radio shows, the students are learning how to build promos, they designed promos for this fundraising event for the frequency switch.