About KBPS Sports
The KBPS sportscasting program provides students in Portland Public Schools the opportunity to broadcast PIL football and basketball games. No previous broadcast experience is neccessary. Any Portland Public High School student is eligible. More information is available by emailing KBPS Operations Manager Kevin Flink.
PROGRAM OVERVIEW -- Students in the sports program conduct live radio broadcasts of PIL football and basketball games throughout the fall and winter seasons each year, including both league and state playoff games. The students assume the roles of play-by-play broadcaster and color analyst, as well as keep statistics during the games to assist with the broadcast. The sports program is open to any student attending any of the Portland public high schools, no previous radio broadcasting experience of any kind is required for participation, and like all of the KBPS programs, the sports program is a rare opportunity for students to get valuable and practical hands-on on-air experience. In addition to the live game broadcasts, the students also participate in a weekly evening meeting at the KBPS studios, where the program supervisor and students listen to portions of previous broadcasts, constructively analyze each other’s work, and discuss and study how to improve and learn for subsequent broadcasts. The schedule gives the sports program a balance between classroom learning experience and on-air radio broadcasting, laying the foundation for students to use those skills to advance into college programs, as well as potentially explore internship and career employment opportunities.
PROGRAM HISTORY -- Ever since KBPS went on the air in 1923, sportscasting has been an important part of the student broadcasting program. And like today, students have always broadcasted football and basketball games, as well as participated in the traditional Monday instructional and critique meetings at the KBPS studios. From the early days of the station until 2000, football broadcasts were always from Jeld Wen Field (previously PGE Park, Multnomah Stadium and Civic Stadium). After 2000, football broadcasts moved to Lincoln High School, where multiple schools shared the field as their "home" field. With the addition of new wireless remote broadcast equipment, KBPS now broadcasts football games from various schools throughout the district. Basketball broadcasts have always come from various high school gymnasiums in the city, but prior to the arrival of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970, KBPS also broadcasted high school basketball doubleheaders every Friday night from Memorial Coliseum.
During its over 85 year history, there are three people who have perhaps had the most influence on the sportscasting program. One is Johnny Carpenter, long time KOIN sportscaster, who held the role of sports program supervisor for much of the early years and initial development of KBPS, from the 1940s until the early 1960s. The second is Kevin Flink, a student of the KBPS program, who then continued his student broadcasting at Washington State University, before returning to KBPS where he spent 32 years as a teacher before retiring from the school district in recent years. The third, and likely the most important, is Don Bird, an ex-Marine, Oregon State University graduate, and physical education teacher who held the role of supervisor and guided the scortscasting program during his tenure starting in 1968 and only ending after his second bout with cancer in the late 1990s. Bird was fair, tough, kind, had a quick sense of humor, always treated students as they would want to be treated, and was an influential role model to many who came through the program, including both Flink and Russill. During Bird's second and final fight against cancer, his son Steve temporarily stepped into the role to assist during Don's final season, and the KBPS community should always be grateful to the Bird family for the contribution they made to the history of the sportscating program.
Students have always come from all over the city to be KBPS sportscasters. Here is a list of just a few of those who have passed through the program over the years: Phil Knight (Nike); Hal Childs (went on to become General Manager of the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks of the NBA); Art Eckman (broadcaster of the Portland Beavers, Oregon State University, San Francisco Giants of MLB, and was one of the first sportscasters ever hired at ESPN); Ron Ross (broadcaster of the Portland Winterhawks for over 20 years, also worked for the Eugene Emeralds and commercial radio in Portland); Steve Brandon (Sports Editor of the Portland Tribune and long-time Portland sports writer); Doug Binder (sports writer for The Oregonian); Richard Washington (may have been a standout basketball player on the court at Benson High School, UCLA, and eventually the NBA, but also worked football games from behind the mic during high school); Kevin Flink (in addition to becoming a head teacher at KBPS for 32 years, is still actively involved in the Portland sports community as a public address announcer, working with the Portland Timbers, Portland Beavers, Portland State University, local high schools, the PIL, and the OSAA)