KXRY Portland (XRAY FM) saw the absence of a daily news podcast as a gap in Portland’s media landscape and a missing service for the community. OPB, our local NPR affiliate, probably came the closest with some of its radio-to-podcast content, but nothing quite like The Local came before it. Some people listen to podcasts like The Daily or Up First for their dose of national goings-on; our goal was to give Portlanders the local equivalent. You can tune in to The Local to hear what happened at the state legislature yesterday, what went on at the nightly protests for Black lives in downtown Portland, the latest in COVID-19 data for the city, county and state and everything in between.
XRAY’s mission is to hold a microphone up to the best of Portland, to amplify the distinctive and the underserved and to build a culturally relevant center for ideas in service of a more open media and a more just community. For years, XRAY’s news program consisted of a daily morning broadcast, XRAY in the Morning. The live radio show is 2 hours of news, commentary, and interviews airing from 7am to 9am. The Local podcast largely grew out of a marriage between XRAY in the Morning and the station’s budding community-driven podcast network, xraypod.com. The hosts, writers, editors and producers of The Local were mostly already staff or volunteers working in XRAY’s news and talk programs.
The talent of XRAY in the Morning and the growing energy behind the station’s news, talk and podcast program came together at a moment when sharing information within local communities had just become critical with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, protests against racism and police violence turned into a nightly occurrence in Portland, not to mention the local election and a special legislative session in Oregon that needed coverage right after the podcast launched. In this time of social distancing and community transformation, our networks seem both larger and smaller than ever. Lockdowns, quarantines, and support networks responding to overlapping crises remind us that the realest way we exist is on a local level.