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PREP FOCUS: KBPS (1450) revives PIL basketball coverage

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Jefferson Democrats fans go wild in support of their state championship team at a PIL boys basketball game last season.Big news for Portland Interscholastic League basketball fans — KBPS (1450 AM) is back on the air with live coverage of boys and girls games.

The Portland Public Schools station, under the direction of KBPS operations manager Kevin Flink, will launch its 2013-14 lineup of PIL hoops on Wednesday, Dec. 4, broadcasting the Benson girls' home game against McNary on the first night of the season.

KBPS has carried PIL football and basketball games for years — mostly with student announcers — although in recent times the coverage has been sparse because of budget cuts and other issues.

Numerous sportscasters who got their start at KBPS have gone on to careers in radio or television, including Flink and major names such as Art Eckman.

Flink, a retired Benson teacher, returned to the school last year to manage the station where he had worked for decades.

"Budget cuts had really stripped us down to a bare bones operation," Flink says. "One thing we had to give up was our sports program, which had been an important part of our KBPS program for so many years."

There wasn't enough time to get PIL football games regularly back on the air this season, but with the help of others, Flink has basketball ready to go.

Flink found a new sports director in former KBPS sportscaster Dylan Berichon, who will work with the new students in the program while doing some play-by-play himself.

Meanwhile, KBPS has hired former students Jon-Eric Smith and Emily Walker as board operators.

"Without the help of all of these folks, we would not have been able to start up the (sportscasting) program," Flink says.

The program gives students at any PPS school a chance to learn sportscasting and experience working at a radio station.

Flink asked PIL athletic directors for help in locating interested students.

"We have room for plenty more," he says.

Students may contact Flink at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at the station by phone, 503-916-5828.

"We will be doing games on Tuesdays and Fridays, through the state playoffs," Flink says.

KBPS has a remote unit capable of broadcasting from any location and will be able to use the PPS wifi system at each school to help get on the air.

Other positive developments at KBPS include the restoration of the station's summer programming and the continuation of its popular Holiday Greeting Card musical program and coverage of school board meetings.

KBPS is still seeking donations to help it sustain these programs and serve the Portland community.

"It's all part of educating our students, working on their communications skills and preparing them for their next step toward a career," Flink says.

Six PIL basketball games are on the KBPS schedule for pre-Christmas broadcasts, with more games to be finalized.

Here are the seven games the station plans to carry live through Jan. 3 (all games start at 7:30 p.m.):

Wednesay, Dec. 4 — McNary at Benson girls

Friday, Dec. 6 — Hood River Valley at Roosevelt boys

Tuesday, Dec. 10 — Grant at Benson boys

Friday, Dec. 13 — Barlow at Wilson girls

Tuesday, Dec. 17 — The Dalles at Cleveland girls

Friday, Dec. 20 — Southridge at Grant boys

Friday, Jan. 3 — North Salem at Madison girls