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KAOS (89.3 FM) is a hybrid college-community radio station licensed to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. It broadcasts at a power of 1,250 watts and also streams via the Internet. The station offers radio broadcasting training to students of The Evergreen State College as well as members of the local community.[1][2]

Kaos logo.png
CityOlympia, Washington
SloganOlympia Community Radio OHHH! Olympia
Frequency89.3 MHz FM (also on HD Radio)
First air dateJanuary 1, 1973
ERP1,250 watts
HAAT74 meters
Facility ID65611
Transmitter coordinates47°0′58.00″N 122°54′57.00″W / 47.0161111°N 122.9158333°W / 47.0161111; -122.9158333
OwnerThe Evergreen State College
WebcastListen Live


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 substituted the initials of the fictional spy agency in the TV show Get Smart.[3] The license was granted under his surprise application, and broadcasts began January 1, 1973.[4]

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).[4]


KAOS's mission is to present voices that are underrepresented in mainstream media.[2][5] This includes Native American, Women's, Hispanic, alternative news programs, and independent music. KAOS currently broadcasts several syndicated public affairs programs from Pacifica Radio, including Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! and David Barsamian's Alternative Radio, as well as original, locally produced public affairs shows. KAOS also features a wide variety of music, including world music, jazz, blues, metal, folk, experimental, garage, psychedelic, electronic, surf, alt country, prog, free jazz, indie rock, bluegrass, dance, dub, reggae, hip hop, Latino, roots rock, R&B, and more.[6]

Music policyEdit

KAOS instituted an independent music policy in its early years. The policy requires that at least 80% of the music broadcast on the station must be from sources other than the major record labels and their subsidiaries.[5]

Long-running programsEdit

There are a number of programs that have been around for well over ten years and are still on the air, including:[6]

Former DJsEdit

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), Calvin Johnson (of Beat Happening and founder of K Records), and John Foster (founder of OP Magazine).[2]

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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Become a KAOS DJ!". KAOS. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Powers, Zach (November 1, 2017). "Former DJs, volunteers and staff to discuss 'KAOS Radio: An Independent Legacy'". Evergreen News. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  3. ^ McCoy, Nikki (April 10, 2013). "40 Years of KAOS". Weekly Volcano. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "40 Years of KAOS". Pacifica Network. September 16, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Independent Music Policy". KAOS. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "KAOS New Program Schedule". KAOS. August 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2019.

External linksEdit