Programming Change July 1 & HD2 Going Off-Air

Jun 7, 2016

A favorite saying among those of us who work in public radio is, "The only thing constant in public radio is change." this will become apparent on July 1 when KCCU unveils its new programing lineup. Also, due to cost restraints, KCCU will be taking HD2 off-the-air.

The single largest change is that KCCU will be dropping A Prairie Home Companion from our weekly schedule.  We will be airing the final episode of APHC  on July 2 & 3. Also, Here and Now will be replaced by two programs from Public Radio International, The Takeaway and PRI/ BBC's The World.

The cost of everything is going up, and KCCU has reached the point where we have more money going out than coming in. The budgetary climate makes it necessary to cut expenses such as HD2 programming. Dropping  HD programming saves KCCU $7K annually in programming costs plus an additional amount on electricity.

I do not want to bury the lead so more on our decision making process is below, after we talk about the other changes.

Weekend All Things Considered will now be two-hours Saturday and Sunday evenings. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me will be repeated Sunday afternoons at one. We will debut a new jazz show called 12th Street Jump at 6 pm on Saturdays. Native America Calling will move to 2 pm on Sunday afternoons. National Native News will move to 6:01 pm on weeknights. Finally, Ken Rudin's Political Junkie will move to 6:49 pm on Tuesdays.

A Prairie Home Companion has been a staple on public radio for decades. As a matter of fact, my first air-shift on the radio back in February 1987 was running the board during APHC (at KSKA in Anchorage, Ak.) We have both been around that long. One of the main reasons we are dropping the show is host Garrison Keillor is retiring in July and he is irreplaceable. Also the program would cost us over 12K in FY17 making it the most expensive show per-hour that we air and we need to free-up that money to pay for other programs.

Finally, only four-members combined mentioned APHC during the past two fundraisers. KCCU simply does not have the listener or underwriting support to air a program that may or may not be successful with the new host. We ceased fundraising during the show last year after no one contributed. Listeners simply quit calling or giving online during APHC fundraisers. The lack of support pretty-much sealed the deal.

We are excited by our new weekday afternoon programs. Beginning Monday July 4, PRI's The Takeaway and PRI / BBC's The World will replace Here & Now, which is produced by WBUR and syndicated by NPR. H&N was offered as a replacement to Talk of the Nation which went out of production. H&N was an effort to appeal to a younger and attention-span challenged audience. In our opinion, and in the opinion of many listeners we talked to, H&N never filled the shoes left behind by TOTN. The World and The Takeaway will be a definite upgrade to our afternoon programming. Also, we have had several members over the years ask for BBC programming. Science Friday will remain on Friday afternoons. The World has an imbedded BBC Newscast so we have to move NNN to 6:01pm on weeknights.

Because APHC was two hours, we had to shuffle our weekend afternoons to account for the absence and add new programs. We have also had members tell us that two hours of WATC would be better than one. They can't always listen because they do stuff on weekends. WATC will be 4 - 6pm on Saturdays and 5 - 7 pm on Sundays.

We have also heard that Wait Wait Don't Tell me was difficult to listen to on Saturday mornings because of soccer, t-ball and shopping. Our solution is to repeat it at one pm on Sundays so more people can have an opportunity to hear it.

Since we had a free hour Saturdays at six, we have added 12th Street Jump to our jazz lineup. We moved Native America Calling to the 2 pm time-slot (after WWDTM) on Sundays because we lengthened WATC to two-hours. 

PRI / BBC's The World does not have an optional cutaway so that necessitated moving Political Junkie to 6:49 pm on Tuesdays during ATC which does have a cutaway available for programming modules.

HD2 has never attracted the listeners to make it a viable source of programming. HD radios are not sold in most stores. HD radios are not put in most automobiles. The masses aren't beating down the doors of electronics stores demanding HD radios. We have no underwriters begging to be on HD2. One year ago, we had an HD2 outage in Wichita Falls for several months and not one person called the studio.

HD2 was an experiment that did not work out. The HD transmitters are not going anywhere. Should our station revenue improve coupled with an increased demand for HD2 programming, we can turn HD2 back on.

That sums up the changes for July 1 (with the exception of APHC, on the 2nd & 3rd). We do not program by dart board. Everything we have done was analyzed, discussed and presented to several community members who are also station members. We are making the change to use underwriting and membership revenue to subsidize exciting and fresh programs, and to make an overall improvement to the programs offered on your public radio station.

Please click on the links provided to find out more about our new programs.