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|Slogan||Olympia Community Radio OHHH! Olympia|
|Frequency||89.3 MHz FM (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||1973|
|Owner||The Evergreen State College|
KAOS (89.3 FM) is a hybrid college-community radio station licensed to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. It broadcasts in HD Radio at a power of 1,250 watts and also streams live via the Internet. The station continues to offer free radio broadcasting training to students of The Evergreen State College.
KAOS was founded by Dean Katz of The Evergreen State College. When he traveled to Seattle to apply for the station license, his official papers had the radio station call letters as KESC (for "Evergreen State College.") However, unbeknownst to his adviser and almost everyone else, Katz had other ideas, being a fan of the TV show Get Smart. The license was granted under his surprise application and broadcasts began January 1, 1973.
The station has been a mainstay in Olympia's local music scene, including a famous early appearance by Nirvana on April 17, 1987 (their second public appearance and first ever radio broadcast) and a Kurt Cobain solo acoustic performance in 1990 (both included on the Nirvana box set With the Lights Out).
KAOS's mission is to present voices that are underrepresented in mainstream media. This includes Native American, Women's, Hispanic, alternative news programs, and independent music. KAOS currently broadcasts many syndicated public affairs programs, such as Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!, as well as original, locally produced public affairs shows like Free & Fair and Parallel University. A wide variety of music is played, including world music, jazz, blues, metal music, folk, experimental music, garage, psychedelic, electronic, surf, alt country, comedy, indie pop, prog, free jazz, indie rock, bluegrass, dance, dub, reggae, hip hop music, traditional and contemporary Latino music, roots rock, R&B, and more.
KAOS is famous for its independent music policy, devised in KAOS's earlier years. The policy states that at least 80% of the music broadcast must be from sources other than the four major record labels and their subsidiaries.
There are a number of programs that have been around for well over ten years and are currently still on the air. These are some:
- El Mensaje Del Aire: Spanish-language
- Retroactive: Roots rock, R&B, Soul
- View From the Shore: Native
- Excuse All The Blood: Metal
- American Anecdotes: Bluegrass
Over the years, the station has had many former DJs go onto larger fame, such as Victoria Hart Glavin (Victoria Barreca) hip hop journalist and founder of PileDriving Records, Bruce Pavitt (founder of Sub Pop Records), Chris Scofield (founder of Strange Attractors Audio House Records), Tobi Vail, Lois Maffeo, Mark Hosler (of Negativland) Arrington de Dionyso (of Old Time Relijun), Steve Fisk (producer and musician), Jeff Jacoby (sound artist & producer of The Traveling Radio Show), Tom Hood (founder of Hood's Woods Music) and Calvin Johnson (of Beat Happening and founder of K Records).
KAOS was also the call sign of an unlicensed AM radio station operating in Huntington Beach, CA during the late 1960(s) on 880 kHz.