Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), made up of more than 20 radio signals and five full-power TV stations across the state, is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its original radio station KFDJ – now KOAC Corvallis, OR (550) – which began broadcasting on Jan. 23, 1923.

“It began as the work of Oregon Agricultural College physics instructor Jacob Jordan and his homemade fifty-watt transmitter,” the public media network wrote on OPB.org. “Today we know OAC as Oregon State University. Like the university, KFDJ would grow and change in countless ways over the years.”

The article describes how Jordan built the station from the ground up in the physics laboratory “cobbling together a low-watt transmitter.” After a test broadcast of an OAC football game, the school applied for a license, which it received in December 1922.

“Just a month later, in January 1923, early radio listeners tuned in to KFDJ’s debut broadcast featuring the Corvallis High School band,” the piece continues. “That broadcast marked the birth of what we know today as OPB.”

The station changed call letters to KOAC in 1925. In 1932, it was transferred from Oregon State Agricultural College to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education's General Extension Division. In the 1950s, additional radio stations were added to carry KOAC programming, along with a sister TV network, with its flagship KOAC-TV signing on in 1957. It was known as Oregon Educational Broadcasting and Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service before it assumed its current brand of Oregon Public Broadcasting in 1981.

OPB Radio now originates at news/talk KOPB-FM Portland, OR (91.5).