Dear KRCL: Think Globally, Program Locally

KRCL 90.9 FM recently changed their programming, trimming Jamie Gadette’s Morning Show & Ebay Jamil Hamilton’s Midday show down to three hours each (from their previous four); in the two hour block opened up from 6:00-8:00 am, KRCL is now programming a syndicated show from NPR called World Cafe.

Personally, I’m against it.

I feel that if a local community radio station is going to program syndicated shows, they should be unique and important … something that’s NOT being represented by local programmers. For example, I fully support the syndicated Democracy Now, because as a news show, it covers a lot of important topics that aren’t covered elsewhere (especially in Utah), and definitely aren’t covered by the local production teams.

If KRCL picked up a syndicated show like the old Outright Radio (produced several years ago by/for the gay community but also to help bridge the divide between the straight and gay communities), I’d support it whole-heartedly, because there’s nothing else like it on the air in Utah.

I support the locally-produced Smile Jamaica, even though Robert Nelson (the host of the show) drives me batshit crazy … not only on his show, but when he hosts the (also locally produced) public affairs program Radioactive, because there’s nothing else like it on the air in Utah.

I don’t like World Cafe, because there’s nothing special about it, and it doesn’t represent the local community any better or differently than any of the locally produced shows do.

World Cafe is really no different than the normal daytime programming from Jamie Gadette, Ebay Jamil Hamilton, and Bad Brad Wheeler … except the host talks more, plays less music, and he definitely doesn’t represent any part of the the local community in Utah that doesn’t have similar representation elsewhere. I feel it’s a waste of donations, whether from local individuals like myself or local businesses … personally, I want my money to stay *IN* the local community as much as possible.

When it comes to charities; I support Huntsman Cancer Foundation over Susan G. Komen or Livestrong … because Huntsman is local. I support the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective (in fact, I believe I am still their largest individual donor year-over-year) … because the Collective is local. And I support KRCL Radio (over KUER, which I also listen to), because KRCL is local community radio, while KUER is primarily syndicated content from NPR and PRI.

If I wanted to listen to World Cafe, I can listen to the podcast or stream it from their page on the NPR website, but where else can I hear Jamie Gadette or Bad Brad? Where else can I listen to Smile Jamaica? Where else can I listen to Maximum Distortion, the Friday Night Fallout, or Behind the Zion Curtain?

If KRCL is going to start programming more syndicated content, then they should should be giving us shows that either can’t be can’t be found anywhere else, or which cover important topics and/or demographics but which aren’t being represented by local programmers … but spending money on World Cafe? What’s the point?

To paraphrase a bumper sticker slogan that I saw plastered all over cars when I lived in Santa Cruz in the mid-to-late 1980s: Think Globally, Program Locally …

One reply on “Dear KRCL: Think Globally, Program Locally”

  1. Steven,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments and your passion. As we discussed on Twitter, KRCL is one of the most locally programmed stations in Utah. We produce over 40 local shows and only syndicate 4; World Cafe, Democracy Now!, Bioneers and Native American Calling.

    I’m personally a huge fan of World Cafe, so I’m excited it’s now part of our line-up. I’m also happy that Jamie G, gets to sleep in a couple hours. We don’t want her burned out!

    KRCL will always change. It always has and hopefully always will. Shows will come and go. Inevitably, it’s impossible to please everybody’s tastes. We get constant critiques about all of our programs. For example, some love Democracy Now, while others hate it.

    The entire staff is deeply committed to connecting our community together in powerful ways. It’s the question that we wrestle with every day — how do we best serve our listeners?

    People who feel passionate about our programming are encouraged to email your thoughts to comments@krcl.org. Also, please take our online survey to tell us what music you want to hear on KRCL. (krcl.org) We read and consider all feedback.

    All the best,
    Troy Williams
    RadioActive producer

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