Why KUOW cut programming to build listenership

Leadership at the Northwest's flagship NPR station knew they needed to make a few tweaks to their secret sauce.
“There was a sense of loss,” says managing editor Cathy Duchamp about the station's programming changes.

“There was a sense of loss,” says managing editor Cathy Duchamp about the station's programming changes. Credit: Cindy Funk/Flickr

In late June of last year, the management of Seattle's KUOW public radio notified its news staff that it was going to make a substantial change in the station’s weekday programming. They were going to eliminate two signature programs — Weekday and The Conversation.

The newsmagazine show that replaced them, The Record, went live in early September, running from noon to 2 p.m.

For the majority of KUOW's listeners, the change was nominally disruptive — or so went the reasoning behind it, which had been discussed for years. For the news staff, however — particularly the hosts directly affected — the change was felt deeply.

“It’s a cultural change,” says KUOW’s managing editor Cathy Duchamp. “It’s going from working in independent pods to a much more integrated environment.”

Cathy Duchamp. Photo: KUOW

Weekday, hosted chiefly by Steve Scher and sometimes by Marcie Sillman, emphasized in-depth interviews. Scher was KUOW’s Charlie Rose, regularly putting aside an hour of his show for visiting authors, politicians, and actors. The Conversation, conceived as a call-in show, was hosted by Ross Reynolds.

The Record, now almost six months old, features the efforts of all three hosts, but spotlights none of them. The 20 weekly hours of Weekday and The Conversation have been halved, creating room for the addition of two national, newsmagazine shows – Here & Now and The Takeaway.

Some stories on The Record are clearly about local events and issues; others are localized angles on national topics. Local experts are interviewed, but so are outside sources. The show might also occasionally include a report produced outside of KUOW, giving it a more cosmopolitan feel.

All three hosts — Scher, Sillman and Reynold — are senior members of KUOW’s news staff, having worked at the station since the mid-80s. All three declined to comment for this article.

“There was a sense of loss,” Duchamp explains. “We’re still working through that. My job is to lead everyone through those changes, and help restore a sense of balance for people.”

Major changes are not casually entertained at KUOW. Listeners, many of whom are donors, feel ownership of the station in a way listeners of other stations do not. As one of the city’s three NPR affiliates, KUOW represents a cultural institution larger than itself.
Still, station management knew that the same old formula wasn't working.

“We’ve known for years we had very low listening midday,” said program director Jeff Hansen, “even though it was very high [at other stations] during that time period. We kept wondering how come we lose so many listeners. It was not really because people go to work… It became clear we were out of sync with how most people use radio.”

KUOW’s solution to their listenership problems reflects a broad trend in media, one that presumes people want to consume short and current (to the minute) content in real time. Longer, meatier, less time-sensitive pieces (whether a long article, documentary, or TV series), the narrative goes, will be streamed at the consumer’s convenience.

It also represents a departure from the traditional midday, public-radio format of static, slowly paced shows, usually local in scope, driven by one or few topics, and presided over by established personalities.

According to station leaders, it is about making the work-day programming more uniform in sound, covering more topics in fewer minutes, airing the strongest content (local or not) several times during the day instead of once, and relying more on content than the power of any one personality. In newspaper terms, it would as if a broadsheet reassigned its columnists to collaborate on a blog.

Some have interpreted KUOW’s shift as a major local media outlet shedding yet more local news coverage. And while that could prove true by some measure, the deeper meaning behind the change is more philosophical than geographical.


Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!

Comments:

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 6:51 a.m. Inappropriate

As someone who first went on the air in 1976 and spent most of the last two decades earning a living in radio, I can tell you that syndicated programming is cheap and easy to do (just sign a contract, aim your satellite receiver accordingly and reset your automation cue-tones for breaks), but something that keeps your station "local" with your audience? Not at all.

If it's all about numbers, maybe KUOW should've tried to bring Ken Schram into the fold. I know I've missed his show on KOMO since it was cancelled and it would be nice to hear a local talk show in the afternoon besides Dori Monson, who's gotten lazy and repetitive. I'd listen to Schram on KUOW. What they have in that timeslot now? Why bother? You can hear it anywhere.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 7:22 a.m. Inappropriate

KUOW has squandered much of what made it a must-listen source for local political and cultural coverage. Despite the hype over The Record, arts coverage is nowhere near as thorough as it was when Marcie Sillman and Dave Beck did a dedicated arts show every day. Knowing that Steve Scher would be there every morning at 9:05 am with first-rate local interviews is also a fond but fading memory. The constancy of that programming was integrally important to its value. Perhaps most damaging now are all the warmed-over stories that regular listeners have to tolerate over the course of the day. The second and third time I hear a story, the only message it sends is "we don't have the wherewithal to provide enough programming to fill the day, so here's yesterday's news." When Bill Radke returned last year, it was exciting to think we might once again hear some of the clever original material he used to create for KUOW, as well as his nationally syndicated weekend show. Nope. Nothing doing.

Oh, and BTW, let's not forget John Moe among the great local KUOW folks that went on to bigger things in public radio...

CP

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 7:57 a.m. Inappropriate

I rarely listen anymore. When they made the change, I thought it was in part to focus on a younger demographic - especially all those techies that are such a growing and spendy presence here. And now I think I might just be correct as I think they are more receptive to the shorter snippets which I as an older (now retired) person dislike.

I especially miss Weds @10 with Vaughn Palmer, Robert Horton, and the rotating money crew. I have caught Vaughn once or twice since the change, and he sounds unhappy, too. Working out his contract?

My final rant is about the website. I've tried to find Vaughn once or twice, but the search doesn't seem up to the task.

It's like losing an old friend.

m-t-e

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 8:37 a.m. Inappropriate

I've been listening to NPR programming through podcasts so I can always catch what I want to hear when I am available to hear it. I used to keep KUOW on at work but the repetition of stories or even entire hours of All Things Considered seemed like a waste of time. Once I realized how easy it was the hear all of the programming at my convenience I turned off the radio and usually don't listen any more.

Occasionally when something is happening in the news I'll listen to KUOW on my way to work in the morning. When I get back in the car in the afternoon it seems like half the time I'm hearing the exact story I heard in the morning. Waste of time.

talisker

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 10:32 a.m. Inappropriate

I'll second this - I'm a fairly heavy listener (and member, of course) and I noticed a big uptick in repetition of stories when the switch happened.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 12:24 p.m. Inappropriate

"KUOW has squandered much of what made it a must-listen source for local political and cultural coverage. Despite the hype over The Record, arts coverage is nowhere near as thorough as it was when Marcie Sillman and Dave Beck did a dedicated arts show every day."

Ditto.

I think the programming feels too disjointed and mashed up. I never know what kind of stories I'll be hearing. If I want national/international, I'll listen to the national NPR.

I feel that while KUOW is doing local stories, I never really know when I'll hear them. That's why the local shows were worth listening to.

As well, they are not taking call-in comments live and that used to be more interesting and exciting than the recorded ones.

I listen about half as much of the time as I used to - like while working or doing house or yard work - because it's just too crazy quilt about what I'll be hearing.

westello

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 1:03 p.m. Inappropriate

We live in a media saturated age. Is this a crisis? It's been interesting to listen to public radio as it becomes more and more similar to commercial radio. KUOW still puts out an abundance of over-wrought hand-wringing chatter for an audience that seemingly loves to talk on endlessly about anything. This is a fairly recent phenomenon. I remember when they used to play classical music during the day and at night. It was much easier to fall asleep to Radio Reader than over-dramatized angst about whatever the current news media obsession happens to be. These shows are a distraction from your own real (and local) life.

stan

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:02 p.m. Inappropriate

For me, The Record lacks cohesion. It feels like random stories stuck together. I like all the hosts on KUOW, but for some reason, it feels like the hosts aren't prepared for whatever the topic is when they introduce the stories, like someone shoved a sheet of paper in front of them and they read it without knowing what they are reading. This is most apparent when they interject a local interview into it. It gives it kind of an amateur feel, which is frustrating to listen to, because I know all the staff there are immensely skilled and professional.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:12 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with the amateur or unprepared sense today. Unfortunately, another reason to listen to something else like a downloaded mystery from SPL.

m-t-e

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:17 p.m. Inappropriate

I very much miss the consistency of my listen from 10am-noon with local hosts, topics, and perspectives.

The only time I listen now, is on Fridays when they have the roundtable with newsheads.

I concur that the hosts of the Record are awesome - but the topics are disjointed, inconsistent and doesn't bring me back to the show.

I miss the indepth interviews with Steve and the arts coverage from Marcie.

Maybe re-think the change? I am not inclined to donate anymore - but might pay to subscribe for the old shows in a web version.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:28 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow...KUOW really got it WRONG this time. I used to be a huge listener between 9-2 as I was driving around seattle. I was increasing my donation each year and savored the eclectic mix of artists and personalities featured on Weekday and The Conversation. I stopped listening 6 months ago when The Record started. It's a total mess of a show and I hate the topics. BORING! I never know what I'm gonna get...and what I get, I don't like. Marcie and Steve and Ross are all brilliant but whatever direction they are getting is squashing their abilities to shine as reporters and interviewers. The Record completely misses the mark on highlighting all the unique wonderful things about this city! Please FIX IT.
I have effectively TUNED OUT everything KUOW related and I don't expect to make a donation this year. Please bring back the charm and quirky joy that your old shows had. KUOW...don't screw it up please. I want to love you but lately it's really a struggle.

jrice

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:34 p.m. Inappropriate

And while we're at it, where is Bill Snoopy from the Tippy Top of the Tower with his great old jazz program from the old days when KUOW played a bit of jazz?

MartyOpp

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:47 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm really puzzled that the station would make such a drastic change just months before a new general manager arrives, leaving her with the mess of adjusting things.

The main point in the changes, as I see them, is to have KUOW do more original short stories, rather than relying on guests and call-ins to fill the air. And then sprinkling those local stories across the day to get more folks to listen to them. The test is how good these stories are, how much they advance the argument. Too many, so far, have that annoyingly upbeat NPR tone about folks overcoming life's difficulties.

I suspect the new approach will attract more casual listeners, more folks who have less interest in the news. That's expanding the market. The danger is these listeners are fickle, less likely to donate, less influential to others. Once more, serious news loses a notch or two in this market.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 3:53 p.m. Inappropriate

I really miss having local programming in the morning. There needs to be more than just The Record, which is fine programming, but it's not nearly enough for all that's going on in Seattle and the Northwest.

More local shows please, that's all we ask, the loss of multiple Seattle and Northwest programs really made me change the dial.

marxiano

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 4:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Just had to chime in here. I am another who dislikes KUOW's newer program schedule. I listen to KUOW about one third of what I did before. I was a loyal listener to Weekday. Weekday made KUOW uniquely outstanding, and built a far reaching, loyal following.

I too have noticed that the podcasts for Vaughn Palmer's News from Canada are inconsistently posted. Sometimes it is posted at night, the next day or not at all. Frustrating!

I miss hearing the regular gardening panel. I miss the excellent regularity of Vaughn Palmer, Robert Horton and Jon Talton.

The Friday, 10am News in Review panel in the same-as-before format and time slot is the saving grace to the "new" KUOW, in my humble opinion.

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 4:17 p.m. Inappropriate

As of 4:00pm: 15 commentators against 94.9's programming change, 0 commentators in favor. That kind-of speaks for itself.

There are two reason why I also stopped listening:
1) My schedule does not allow for me to listen between 12:00-2:00 - doesn't sound like I'm missing much, anyway. I very much enjoyed listening to Weekday.
2) Can't stand the corporate-media drivel on NPR that has replaced Weekday -

“Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers -- and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.” -Chris Hedges

beno

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 4:59 p.m. Inappropriate

i loved listening to the kuow former 9 to noon, m-f, schedule most especially because of the longer, deeper local conversations ... i hardly ever listen to kuow after 8:30am when i turn on cbc vancouver for its intelligent and satisfying morning program, with anna maria tremonte, which is, well, longer and deeper conversations and documentaries ... unfortunately kuow is following much of the rest of our u.s. cultural change with postage stamps to read rather than interesting, thoughtful, handwritten letters ... i suspected what was about to happen on kuow when the ross reynolds program became a snippet magazine instead of what ross and steve scher had been creating so beautifully before ...

thanks cbc and anna maria tremonte ... lagan

lagan

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 5:19 p.m. Inappropriate

I have gone from an all day listener since 1986 to about 4 hours a day. I don't care for any of the programing from 9 to 12 and even the local programming from 12-2 doesn't seem to hold my interest. I miss the Gardening Panel and Weekday very much. I feel out of touch with the arts and literature without Steve's prepared, inquisitive interviews. In the evening I shift to KUOW2 to avoid To the Point. I like the topics, but the host talks too much. I am also unhappy with the number of times I hear a story. It seems like sometimes several times a day for several days. The topics KUOW asks for call-ins seem silly. I just turn KUOW sound off for most of the day. I wonder if they know that since I stream. I am happy I can still hear Alternative Radio, Bill Moyers, Fresh Air, Ideas and LA Theater Works. Selected Shorts at midnight on Sunday....I have to catch it another time. American Routes is my favorite show.

peaches

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 6:49 p.m. Inappropriate

As a long time KUOW listener, who also fondly remembers Bill Snoopy, let me join the chorus of those who dislike the changes.

We’re told they loose listeners midday and while they don’t give specifics isn’t the simple answer that the programs weren’t liked. I would stop listening after WEEKDAY for that reason. Why re-invent the wheel?

I suppose I could debate the rationale given last summer and here too but I’ve moved on. Can’t stand the new program and it’s at the wrong time. The national programs are endlessly repetitious. Stopped listening and contributing, it’s been a great few decades.

TLacci

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 7:57 p.m. Inappropriate

I mostly listen to Morning Edition while getting ready for work and All Things Considered during my commute in the evening. I'm interested in national and world news, which NPR covers best. Unfortunately, the new format takes local stories and interviews from the previous day's programs and intersperses them during ME and ATC, pre-empting the national and international news stories that I tuned-in to listen to. Also, these local stories and interviews are played repeatedly, sometimes I hear them three times. As a result, I find myself switching over to KPLU to get the uninterrupted NPR broadcast. KPLU may be getting my annual pledge this year.

ozzie

Posted Wed, Feb 26, 8:12 p.m. Inappropriate

Signed up for CC just to post my agreement with the previous posters. I have listened since 1995 and Weekday was the prime reason. I donate pretty regularly too. I am very, very disappointed in the change. I podcast the episodes but other than the News of the Week on Friday I miss the old Wednesday show badly. I didn't listen to every of Steve's interviews but they were all very well researched and he is a great interviewer. And where are the regular check ins with Dow Constantine and other elected officials? Also gone are the moments showcasing the great engineers such as a song to end the segment that tied into the story. The Record does seem to be disjointed and budget in its production now. Sorry, rant/off.

Stevo

Posted Thu, Feb 27, 7:42 a.m. Inappropriate

I so miss the long, live interviews of "Weekday" from the past. "The Record" does not even come close by comparison as an informative and enjoyable show. And I do not care for the 9-11 substitutes. Plus the mish-mash of "All Things Considered", "The World" and the BBC from 3-7 is unbelievably annoying to me. I choose to listen to "All Things Considered" online now instead of listening to KUOW on air.
Whoever is making these decisions is getting it all wrong in my opinion.

jrseattle

Posted Thu, Feb 27, 9:25 a.m. Inappropriate

The demographics KUOW has abandoned are the group with a moderate to long attention spans. We are getting older. To attract younger demographics it is claimed that you need to shorten and chop things up for those with short attention spans.

It is too bad. The “younger” demographics I believe have better attention spans than marketing claims. Why kowtow to “marketing experts?” Hold true to form and gain market shares that way. KUOW has started a slide down that may never stop until they disappear.

Posted Thu, Feb 27, 10:20 a.m. Inappropriate

A few more observations. "Here and Now" strikes me as a very good program, with excellent interviewers who push deeper into the topics. One reason that the local shows got pushed to the 12-2 hours, rather than 9-11, is so the staff could prepare segments that pertain to that day. Doing such segments at 9-11 would mean putting more segments in the can the day before or the staff arriving for work at 6 am. Still, they may shift back to the morning slot.
Lastly, something of a generational shift is going on at the station, with younger reporters and editors getting more play than in the former regime. This may seem awkward at first to the habitual listeners, but it's a good idea.
In short, folks, give the station the benefits of time, and remember that this is the second-biggest newsroom in the city, so a very important asset.

Posted Thu, Feb 27, 11:01 a.m. Inappropriate

I can only echo everyone's comments. I miss Steve's local in depth interviews. I listen to Morning Edition and Friday's local news, but not much else. I stream PRI part of the time and turn everything off the rest of the time.

MASKR

Posted Thu, Feb 27, 10:40 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't want to repeat all of the complaints about the new programming other than to say I generally agree. I listen to more from KPLU now. We (my wife and I) have supported both KUOW and KPLU for a long time and we make our annual contributions to them in late February or early March. This year we will reconsider allocations between the two stations and I am sure KUOW will get less that before. A station that counts on listener support must provide listener satisfaction. I hope KUOW gets adequate support from whatever demographic they are now targeting, which doesn't seem to be mine.

Halmo

Posted Fri, Feb 28, 6:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Products and services that I donate money to (or not, who would know?) are supposed to do exactly what I want. Just like the NRA, the Sierra Club, and the media. I love having that kind of control over the organizations that do not owe me anything, especially when they are not even breaking even.

Posted Fri, Feb 28, 12:25 p.m. Inappropriate

With the weird exception of romanjryan (are we not supposed to tell a radio station we listen to frequently what we like or don't like?), there's a complete consensus here, which I agree with. It's a small sample, to be sure, but one of listeners who obviously care a lot about the station and local news and programming. Somebody get these comments to the KUOW management, quick.

small_d

Posted Fri, Feb 28, 12:43 p.m. Inappropriate

Some of the best programming on KUOW is on KUOW-2, at least it was until they stopped broadcasting on 91.7.

dbreneman

Posted Fri, Feb 28, 8:03 p.m. Inappropriate

I must agree with the majority of the commenters here that changed format has left me cold and led me to tune in to other stations. I used to leave KUOW on all day but not now. I really miss Steve Sher's in depth interviews. You are wasting his talents with the current format.
You have lost me as a long time listener. I really miss you.
RAKlein

RAKlein

Posted Sat, Mar 1, 9:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Well, I for one, am happy not to hear anymore gardening segments. Talk about the white, North of the Ship canal demographic; northside housewives babbling on about trimming their hibiscus. So much of KUOW’s local broadcasting was incredibly parochial. Yep, a new demographic is in town.

Also, I don’t need to hear Knute’s opinion to the crisis in the Ukraine. National stories that affect us locally, fine, but seriously, I don’t need to hear about world affairs from a bunch of Seattle hermits.

How about regular coverage of local politics (city hall), schools, transit, arts?

But hey, let’s interview one more differently abled, transgendered, minority writer from LA in crisis, eh?

Simon

Posted Sat, Mar 1, 9:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I agree with all the former comments and just want to add that I did not donate to KUOW this year, for the first time in 20 years. I still tune in at 10 am on Fridays, but the other interviews I used to enjoy no longer appear at any particularly predictable time. I'm amazed to learn that listenership has increased, and I'm wondering if someone who is tuning in to hear 1/7 th of an interview with President Obama is going to make the effort to go to the website to hear the rest of it, or to reach for the checkbook when the call for contributions comes. There has to be a better way to leverage the second largest newsroom in the city -- and one of the most talented in the country -- than by asking them to produce meatless short-form "newsettes". I agree with David Brewster that is important to bring in young talent, but I'm wondering how long the likes of the delightful Tonya Mosely will stick around if this new format is all they have to work with.

Posted Sat, Mar 1, 12:48 p.m. Inappropriate

I have a new game, every time Knute uses the words "Bubbleator" or the "Seattle World's Fair" during 'The week in review' you have to drink a double shot espresso. Should be good boon for local coffee roasters.

Simon

Posted Sat, Mar 1, 2:24 p.m. Inappropriate

Really? Everyone was happy with the status quo? I stopped listening a while ago. I remember cringing when the Weekday host repeatedly mispronounced the names of his guests (even after having been corrected), had to be told that the UK never adopted the Euro and in some instances seemed not to know anything about a guest at all. This lack of preparation was insulting to guests and listeners alike.

au

Posted Sat, Mar 1, 7:54 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with most of the comments here that the new format is downright boring and leaves much to be desired. Having lost Steve Sher's unique ability of the art of the indepth interview is a major drawback. You are wasting a major talent. This loss and the repetitious sound bites heard several times a day has led me to seek other stations to listen to.

I miss the old KUOW. It had depth, substance, and interest. From this article, it sounds as if you will not be changing back. Too bad. What a loss to the northwest listener.

Ron Kleinknecht

RAKlein

Posted Sun, Mar 2, 6:46 a.m. Inappropriate

KUOW lost me midday in the early 2000's when it dropped Talk of the Nation, one of the most literate and informative news conversation programs on radio that includes Science Friday. One of the nice things about TOTN is that you can drop in on a conversation, if you're driving around for example, and still get something out of it.

David B

Posted Sun, Mar 2, 9:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Everything's been said; the new programming is horrible. My favorite people have been disgraced. The bean counters are running the show. Don't you know, good radio is all about relationships and devoted, long term personalities. If support continues, it will mean the entire listening audience has gotten on a different bus leaving me standing on the curb. It's all about "money" isn't it, like everything else these days? And what about Peggy; my heart broke when she left. I guess this is what it means; getting old! Too bad! Now -- for lack of a better mouse trap but looking for something else...KUOW (?)

Posted Sun, Mar 2, 10:46 p.m. Inappropriate

Weekday was great; interesting guests well-interviewed, nice variety, informative, local angles, good pace. Steve Scher is gold.

I don't listen in that time slot anymore.

Ross Reynolds is a good interviewer in the style of Bob Edwards -- short, productive questions that anticipated the questions in my mind as interviews progressed. I liked having The Conversation on while in my home workshop.

I don't listen to The Record. It's kind of like sorting through a box of stuff collected to give to a thrift shop. Nowadays in that time period I listen to KING 98.1 or KPLU 88.5, or occasionally for laughs, to Dori Monson.

Other commenters have nailed it.

Skidmark

Posted Mon, Mar 3, 10:44 a.m. Inappropriate

I used to only listen to KUOW to catch TOTN. Then I discovered KXOT, now called KUOW2. Diane Rehm, Terry Gross, BBC, etc. Then they took it off analog and KUOW2 is only on HD radio. I'm not buying a new radio, so now I can only hear my favorite programs on the computer.

Here and Now and The Takeaway are very good since they cover national issues. However, The Record covers almost entirely local issues. If it's State politics, then I'm interested. However, The Record seems to be mostly Seattle, Seattle, Seattle.

KUOW's signal reaches a wide area of the Sound and I feel if The Record is going to cover local issues, they should cover other locales besides Seattle.

Merry

Posted Mon, Mar 3, 12:07 p.m. Inappropriate

As usual, David Brewster makes a good point about the generational change among the staff - his is the familiar note about "change sometimes feels strange but it's healthy". And that's often true. Fine. But as a listener younger than most of the KUOW staff, my message is that KUOW programming is simply not as good as it was 12 months ago. The Record is a watered down, lightweight program - far inferior to the programs that it replaced. Steve Sher may have been burnt out (I've sensed this over the past few years), but as others have written he is not being well utilized. Also, the Producers of The Record need to be called to task, in my view. And the excessive replay of stories is absurd (I simply change to KPLU, KBCS or satellite radio when KUOW replays a story).

I'm heartened that this Crosscut article was written, and it's encouraging that the clear majority of readers/listeners are dismayed by the significant reduction in programming quality at KUOW. Let us hope that this can be corrected, as KUOW is (was) an invaluable resource to our community.

I will not be making my usual donation during the spring fund drive.

saralynch

Posted Mon, Mar 3, 6:59 p.m. Inappropriate

For the sounds of it, most of the complainers here will be dead in the next decade or so. It's about time KUOW through it's primarily white, well off, north of the Ship Canal, painfully earnest audience and embraced the future.

Simon

Posted Mon, Mar 3, 7 p.m. Inappropriate

Try that again: it's about time KUOW threw off it's primarily white, well off, north of the Ship Canal, painfully earnest audience and embraced the future.

Simon

Posted Mon, Mar 3, 9:59 p.m. Inappropriate

I will be withdrawing my Evergreen membership this year. KUOW has become just a vanilla as the rest of the spectrum. Major talents like Sher and Radke are trivialized, replaced by undisciplined and uninteresting voices. The Record is at best a 45, trivia for those who can't hold two thoughts in their heads. As you can see, I join the voices of those dissing the current management. Please go east, back where you came from. You do not belong on the left coast.

Let me also say that for decades KUOW has intentionally thumbed their nose at those of us who live north of the Lynnwood hill. From Lynnwood on north, their signal is one of the weakest of all the local stations. Even in the best areas, it is fuzzy almost to being unrecognizable. I have complained to management, and been told to buzz off in so many words. Then they come back begging for my dollars? While they still had decent programming, I supported them. Not any more.

redcedar

Posted Tue, Mar 4, 7:40 a.m. Inappropriate

"KUOW has intentionally thumbed their nose at those of us who live north of the Lynnwood hill. "

Well, KUOW is for the upper middles and upper classes. College educated elites. You get Komo 1000.

Simon

Posted Wed, Mar 5, 4:52 p.m. Inappropriate

So glad to have stumbled upon this hog pile! I didn’t renew my membership for the first time in about twenty years (across various states). There’s no point in listening anymore (exception: On the Media though it's on at a dreadful time for anyone with kids). I’d grown tired of Steve Scher, to be honest - a leetle full of himself and, hence, not as good an interviewer - and I’d never loved Ross Reynolds, but those shows were infinitely better and more important than the twinkie-twaddle that’s replaced them.

I was just in Minneapolis. Listened some of the best public radio programming in the country. I was envious and embarrassed for my now-pathetic hometown station. (Their airport kicks our a**, too, for what it’s worth.)

Whatever - everyone’s said it above, thank god. It’s just terrible, horrible, no good, very bad programming. Silver lining might be that it opens possibilities for new hyper-local radio stations (Ballard just started one). I’d rather listen to the work of hard-scrabble, semi-amateurs than the new KUOW's steaming mish-mash of variegated doo doo.

Fyi, Stitcher’s a decent, free app for catching quality shows like Science Friday.

Posted Thu, Mar 6, 11:01 a.m. Inappropriate

KUOW is a funny operation. It is _listener-supported_ but with no _listener-participation._

I wonder how many listeners have any idea of the governance of KUOW....the management? the Board? It's financial structure? Its budget? etc etc

KUOW keeps asking for money but we have no idea of its actual condition....(which could even be worse -- but who knows? that's the point.)

I think very very few people have any idea about KUOW except as consumers.

That's one of the reasons I studiously avoid giving KUOW any money -- I have no idea who they are.

Of course at least it doesn't claim to be a "community" station. So far as I can see, KUOPW is a remote bureaucracy just like any other radio station except a bit more snobbish and moralistic because it claims to be non-profit.

KUOW is totally professional and makes no attempt to reach out to its listeners except to ask for money.

Posted Sun, Mar 9, 8:46 p.m. Inappropriate

I can shed a little light on Sucher's excellent questions. UW holds the license and hires/fires the general manager; a nonprofit board oversees the station and is quite independent. The financial condition, last I knew, is very strong, and I'm glad to see the station spending more money now on reporters and original reporting. About half the budget comes from listener support, with the rest from sponsorships (sanitized ads), foundations, and a small portion from national CPB. (Healthy big stations get little national money, while small ones in places like Alaska get most of the budget that way.) KUOW ratings are very high, close to the top in this market for all stations. It's been very well run, conservative in its finances, relatively low profile nationally.

Login or register to add your voice to the conversation.

Join Crosscut now!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us »