For more than 25 years KRCL radio has provided a valuable service to Utahns: Non-Commercial Community Radio. All that is about to change. And people aren’t happy about it.
Changes over the past few years have been more and more in the corporate direction until finally the big change.
All the volunteers are being released in exchange for paid DJ’s, the daytime format will feature oldies and rock and all public affairs programming is being moved to the evening slots.
Salt Lake City Weekly’s article (linked above):
KRCL is in a bind. When the station began 28 years ago, it was the only place a Salt Lake City resident could find bluegrass, reggae or jam bands outside of a record store. Today’s hipsters have the option of downloading music to iPods or tuning in to other cities’ radio stations on the Internet. Having hit a high of 45,000 listeners about five years ago, listener numbers have fallen to about 38,000. KRCL has failed to meet its fund-raising goals during the past two radiothons.
Now, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, KRCL’s primary federal funder, is threatening to take the station’s grant if it can’t increase its bite of the Salt Lake Valley’s 1.7 million potential listeners. The federal money is just one-eighth of KRCL’s annual budget. James Roberts, chairman of the KRCL board of directors, says the station could conceivably make that up from other sources, but the Corporation for Public Broadcasting also negotiates music-licensing agreements for KRCL. If the station had to do that on its own, the cost, Roberts says, could well sink KRCL.
So, KRCL has signed a contract with the feds pledging to make itself more popular.
More popular with what audience? I don’t think so.
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Much better idea to just let it lose its funding and die, right? Change is only good for bumper stickers, I guess.