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NAB Marconi Award Finalist Profiles: KINK(FM)

Embracing Portland’s “weirdness”

The National Association of Broadcasters has announced the finalists for the 2015 Marconi Awards, which will be handed out Oct. 1 during the NAB Marconi Awards Dinner & Show taking place during the 2015 Radio Show in Atlanta.

As the start of the 2015 Radio Show approaches, we look to offer a profile for some of the stations that were named finalists for the Marconi Awards. This week, we talked with Cort Johnson, assistant program director at KINK(FM) in Portland, Ore., one of the finalists for Large Market Station of the Year.

A Portland, Ore., Waterfront Concert Co-Sponsored by KINK

Radio World: Briefly describe your station’s history, current ownership and format?
Cort Johnson: KINK is an award winning Triple A format radio station in Portland, Ore. KINK’s first broadcast was Christmas day, 1968. In August 2009, Alpha Media purchased KINK from CBS Radio.

RW: What’s the station’s slogan?
Johnson: From new music discovery to rediscovering classics, KINK’s mission is to help listeners “Discover Music,” showcasing a mix of genres: rock, folk, pop, blues, reggae and new age.

RW: Why do you think KINK was among the finalists in the Legendary Station of the Year? What makes KINK stand out from the other finalists?
Johnson: KINK truly is legendary in Portland; a unique station that has embraced Portland’s “weirdness” for nearly 47 years. KINK embraces Portland’s pioneer spirit, unique innovation and focus on helping others in the community. Pioneer spirit — a mission to discover music, old and new. Unique innovation — early adoption of website integration and mobile apps. Community outreach — KINK has spearheaded strong partnerships with the Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Humane Society, the Union Gospel Mission, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Mercy Corp and many other Portland-based nonprofits, raising millions of dollars annually.

RW: What is the radio culture like at the station? What words would radio people who work there use about it?
Johnson: KINK’s culture is all about the music and its connection with the KINK community. Performances in Alpha Media’s Skype Live Studio, local concerts and community events keep the KINK staff on the go.

RW: What’s the most unusual thing the station has done lately that typifies its personality or mission?
Johnson: KINK recently ran a promotion called “Free Mustache Rides.” With Portland’s hipster mustaches and eco-friendly community, KINK gave away fuzzy green mustaches and free rides on Tri-Met (Portland’s public transit system).

RW: Who makes up the leadership roles at the station — GM, PD, SM, chief engineer, digital platform manager and others?
Johnson: KINK is home to legends in Portland radio and the national radio industry. Milt McConnell is KINK’s general manager while Scott Mahalick is the EVP of programming for the company and KINK’s program director. Other staff includes Jared Aman, music director; Sheila Hamilton, news director; Cort Johnson, assistant program director; Derek House, promotions director; Cressy Walton, sales manager; and Thor Waage chief engineer.

RW: Anything else people need to know about the station?
Johnson: KINK is more than a music station, it’s a piece of the Portland soul …. interwoven into the fabric of the community. Most Portlanders will tell you they grew up listening to KINK and still connect with the music, lifestyle and vitality today.

See more 2015 Marconi Award finalist station profiles of here.