Want to be a Freeform Portland DJ? Here are the FAQs

Last Updated July 2023

Is this a paid position?

No. Freeform Portland is an all-volunteer run non-profit radio station. All positions, from engineering to training to taking the garbage out are performed by volunteers.

Do I have to have prior radio experience?

Not at all! Many of our longtime DJs had their first on air experience with us.  Depending on if you choose to broadcast your show live from the studio or submit a pre-recorded show, you may need to have a computer, an internet connection and some equipment (ie. microphone) to play and record music digitally. We can train you how to use some open source software, how to put a show together and even teach you what words you can and cannot say on air. All we ask is that you have a creative passion for music and community!

Are DJs broadcasting in the Freeform Portland Studio?

Yes! If you are a current DJ, you have two options for your show;

1) Broadcast your show live from our physical studio in SE Portland.

2) Pre-record your show at home and submit as an mp3 file which will play during your scheduled show time. If you have a computer, you can probably do this!  We will help teach you if you are unsure how.

Do I have to live in the Portland Metro Area?

Yes. We are committed to supporting and being a resource for our local community as a non-profit volunteer run radio station. When our studio reopens, you will be expected to broadcast your show live in our Southeast Portland studio with accommodations made for those with disabilities or safety concerns.

If you were previously a Freeform Portland DJ and now live elsewhere, you may continue to apply for a show while we are limited to remote broadcasting, but residents of the Portland metro area will be given priority.

Do I have to play a specific style of music?

Absolutely not! We are a freeform radio station, so as long as your show is FCC compliant and falls within the Respectful Station Guidelines, we will never tell you what to play. At the core of our mission, Freeform Portland is committed to diversity. Applications for DJs who want to play music which is underrepresented on the radio or an unexpected & creative presentation of music are prioritized.

Do I have to broadcast in English?

Nope! While many of our volunteers and listeners are English speakers, that is certainly not the case for everyone. We highly encourage bilingual announcing on air to make our station as inclusive as possible to all of Portland’s communities.

Can I do a talk radio show?

No. Freeform Portland is an all music station, While some talking between sets of music is encouraged (and required), talk shows are not. Please note that this doesn’t exclude things like artist interviews! 

Do I need audio recording equipment at home?

Yes. This is probably less complicated than you think, though. As long as you have access to a computer, a microphone (possibly even the mic that is in your computer already!) and an internet connection, we can train you how to make a radio show.

How long are shows?

Scheduled shows are 2 hours long and air every week or every other week– the preference is yours. You can also be a Sub DJ and submit evergreen mixes which will air randomly on Freeform Portland.

Can I have a Co-Host?

Yes. Just make sure to submit one DJ application and include the both of you.

Do I have to commit to a scheduled show in order to be a DJ?

No, you are welcome to apply to be a sub DJ, which allows you access to all the same opportunities, training, and community engagement as our scheduled DJs by filling in for open spots in the schedule and submitting pre-recorded mixes for events.

How long does it take to find out if I am selected to be a Freeform Portland DJ?

It takes about two weeks after the application window closes or us to go through all the applications, finalize the schedule and notify all applicants as to whether they have received a show or not. All applicants will receive a response! If you haven’t heard from us after two weeks, please drop us a line at programming@freeformportland.org

Will everyone who applies get a show?

Unfortunately not. With a thriving community of almost 150 DJs and only 24 hours in a day, show slots are limited. Applications from first time volunteers are prioritized on diversity of content, originality of presentation, and uniqueness of concept. Returning volunteer applications are additionally weighed on their amount of engagement during the previous cycle. 

We have a few ways that applicants may be invited to volunteer when you are accepted:

  • As a scheduled DJ with a weekly or bi-weekly show
  • As a Sub DJ, with the option to apply for a show during the cycle as opportunities become available
  • As a general volunteer, with access to all the same resources as our DJs so you can gain some hands on experience with the station, engage with the community, and be ready to reapply for the next cycle

What type of volunteering do I have to do to keep my show?

All DJs are required to volunteer for a minimum of 5 hours a month to continue having a show. That’s just the minimum, though!  We have many committees you can join that are meeting remotely to work on tasks that keep this all-volunteer station running – from making custom mixes for our donors to dusting the record shelves and everything in between. You can even get volunteer hours for showing up to support your fellow DJs at Freeform Portland live events. You should also plan on attending our monthly all-station meeting which will give you 1 hour of volunteer time. The more volunteer hours you have, the more likely it is that you will receive your preferred time slot on the next schedule.

All DJs are also required to take part in our on air fundraiser that takes place for 2 weeks during every cycle (it’s really fun though, we swear!).