Diverse, Progressive, Community Based--and Reaching More People
You probably know that we’re moving Democracy Now! to 7am. You may know that we’re making further program changes this summer and winter. And you may also be wondering, “What’s up at the ‘BOO?”
Our situation in a nutshell is that we're losing listeners and members and facing our first budget deficit in a decade. While there is a moderate decline in noncommercial radio listenership generally, we're losing folks faster than the other stations. In the most recent listenership data, the Portland NPR, jazz and classical stations even gained listeners while ours continued to decline.
The question then, is what can we broadcast during drive time that supports our mission and values yet will pull in more of the casual listeners? And can we get you to stay tuned for local programming?
Democracy Now! is the program that really fits the bill. It also means that we must cut our morning news and shorten talk radio. Happily, we’re going to try out a more focused strictly local news break at 11am, and we’re also looking at a weekly news wrap up and/or local headlines.
One aspect of the newscast is that in addition to needing a marquee program during peak listening hours, there is also a management issue. Simply put, we don’t have the overnight resources to compete in the morning. We see that the evening news production starts at 10am, and they just barely get the broadcast ready by 5pm! This is because news production is by far the most demanding half hour that we have on the air.
I know that none of this will bring back the old lineup of programs, but I wanted to at least let you know some of the decision making that went into it.
We don’t have any plans to change our evening news, but we are considering a rebroadcast of Democracy Now! at 4pm, 5pm or 6pm—again with an ear towards bringing more listeners to local programming.
The station Staff and Program Committee are also looking at our entire schedule from 6am to midnight. What is the right mix of news and music? How do we offer more consistent quality? What schedule can make it easy for listeners to know when to tune in?
We are discussing a music mix in the evening, more public affairs during the day, making new programming easier to find on the schedule, and about a thousand different options. There will be changes, and it means that all of us will lose something, but we can gain a lot! I hope that you’ll send me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to share them with our program staff to help us make the best choices as we move forward. Like everything in life, this is an experiment. We’ll try it out, see what works, and move forward from there.