OPB today announced that KMHD, a member-supported jazz radio station operated by OPB in partnership with Mt. Hood Community College, is one of five nonprofit jazz radio stations in the country to receive a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) to participate in a new collaborative Jazz Media Lab program.

The mission of the DDCF is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

The DDCF’s new Jazz Media Lab program aims to strengthen jazz radio and its engagement with artists and diverse audiences across the country. It was created to bolster the individual strength of each jazz radio station and their collective resilience as essential players in the jazz ecosystem.

KMHD will receive a grant of up to $275,000 over three years to participate in the program.

The grant supports KMHD’s involvement in the Jazz Media Lab collective and supplies it with core support and innovation capital. The Jazz Media Lab will provide KMHD with a peer network, support system and contracted resource team for exploring and advancing strategies to diversify its listening base, invest in new media opportunities, engage with venues and community organizations, and build upon its meaningful relationships with local jazz artists.

For the last 37 years, KMHD has been a staple of the Northwest music ecosystem, showcasing jazz without boundaries. A community-supported resource, KMHD discovers new voices and talent; searches for the lost treasures of jazz, and champions jazz performances and education to ensure that this uniquely American art form continues to thrive in our region. KMHD reaches jazz fans across the country and internationally, streaming online 24/7 at kmhd.org and on radio at 89.1 FM in the Portland area.

“This opportunity with the DDCF opens the door to exciting new possibilities for KMHD,” said Matt Fleeger, program director, KMHD. “The incredible resources and support we’ll receive from the Jazz Media Lab program can help us build upon KMHD’s strong public service. We look forward to exploring new opportunities to celebrate the rich history of recorded jazz and its related sub-genres with everyone in our region.”

“We’re thrilled to launch the Jazz Media Lab with this cohort of leaders in the field of jazz radio,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at DDCF. “Jazz radio plays an essential role in supporting the field of jazz, a vital art form with a rich history embedded in the fabric of this country and an exciting, evolving future. Each station selected for the program was exciting to us for different reasons. We were interested in KMHD for its skill at collaborating with and elevating local talent and venues, and at connecting Portland communities around the magic of jazz. These stations have always been critical partners to artists and venues, and never has that been truer than during the pandemic. As the largest national funder of jazz, this program is a pivotal piece of our greater commitment to helping ensure the sustained vibrancy of the field.”

In addition to KMHD, other participating stations in the Jazz Media Lab program include KNKX (Pacific Public Media) in Tacoma/Seattle, Wash., KUVO (Rocky Mountain Public Media) in Denver, Colo., WBGO (Newark Public Radio) in Newark, N.J. and WRTI (Temple University) in Philadelphia, Pa.

Along with funding support from the DDCF, KMHD will receive access to resources that will strengthen its organizational and financial capacity. Among these resources are monthly virtual professional development sessions; executive coaching; learning and evaluation tools; coordination with national service organizations that can provide additional technical and research support; individual station financial and audience assessments; connections with artists and industry leaders; and access to audience development resources and expertise.