Portland’s jazz radio station, KMHD, might revert to its original home at Mt. Hood Community College as soon as this year.
KMHD has been housed at Oregon Public Broadcasting for 10 years, through a contract between both institutions. KMHD’s programming encompasses an omnivorous range of jazz, from local greats like Mel Brown, emerging artists like Blue Cranes and Fitzwa and the best of the national and international jazz scenes.
The station operates with a handful of full- and part-time staff and about 30 community volunteers.
On Wednesday night, the college’s board voted not to exercise a five-year automatic renewal option. Instead, board members want to negotiate a two year-extension with an eye toward returning KMHD to campus at the end of that time.
Neither organization made administrators available for comment, instead addressing the vote in written statements. It’s unclear if and when negotiations over the future of KMHD will begin, with KMHD’s contract set to expire in August.
Here’s the statement from college officials:
The Mt. Hood Community College District Board of Education voted to direct the college administration to not exercise the five-year automatic renewal option of the current agreement with OPB and instead to negotiate a new two-year contract. Board members will continue to review interest in bringing KMHD back to the MHCC campus. The college administration will soon begin the planning process. The college commits to working with OPB.
And here’s the statement from OPB:
The board of Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) voted to terminate the agreement with OPB for the operation of KMHD and seeks to move the operation of the station back to the college.
For 10 years, OPB and MHCC have had a strong partnership to provide a jazz radio format to the community. KMHD now is one of the most vibrant member-supported jazz stations in the country at a time when jazz stations are disappearing in many cities.
OPB invested in infrastructure, staff, and programming to enhance and expand KMHD’s service. The audience and support base have expanded significantly. Our current partnership agreement relieved MHCC of operating costs for KMHD.
We have not received written notice of this decision. We have no definitive information on the timetable or specifics of how or when this transition might occur or what impact it may have on KMHD’s programming, format and service in the future.