Monday, December 28, 2015

KOPO Youth Radio

I read an article that made a passing reference to 88.9 KOPO, a low power radio station I was unfamiliar with. I lost the link, but it claimed the station was basically run by Hawaiian teenagers. The idea seems impossible, because it totally is from a legal standpoint. However, after the legal niceties are attended to... you can staff your radio station with a surprising number of youngsters. More here.  The Hawaiian word "opio," means "youth"  So you can guess what RadiOpio means. On their own website KOPO states the following:
"KOPO Youth Radio - has been on air broadcasting from the Pa'ia Youth & Cultural Center since June 17, 2006. It is an ongoing adventure! Although all the music is chosen by youths for their own shows, it is by no means "kids" music... radiOpio is here for you. If you are between the ages of 9 and 21 and would like to join us, just come on down to PYCC."
 KOPO began broadcasting from the Pa'ia Youth & Cultural Center (PYCC) on June 17, 2006. But it all began in 1999 when PYCC employee Travis Rice and other staff began the LPFM application process. They finally got their CP in 2005.  Some staff are as young as 9 years old, but not the administrative staff. All music programming is selected by young volunteers on their own shows. The administrative staff is at least old enough to drive, and engineer Jim hall for example is a tad older than them. More here.

The station does suffer from some brand confusion. In Spanish the word "pio" means "pious." So Radio Pio XII broadcasts christian talk in Potosí, Bolivia on shortwave, and Radio Pio Deportes operates on 1080 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with much the same programming. There is even another Radio Pio on 88.9 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Kenya "Kopo Kopo" is a well-respected micro-lender. But despite the occasional mix up, KOPO gets it's accolades. In 2010 radiOpio was named one of the 40 Best Little Radio Stations in the US by Paste Magazine.