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Read our Rebuttal to the new KBCS Marketing spiel.

City Arts Eastside, "Listen or Lose It, People"
by Bill White (October 2009)

KING-FM lays off three classical-music hosts
Live hosts to be replaced with "Voice tracking". Is this what the future holds for radio?

Randomville, "Save KBCS?"
by Mackenzie McAninch (7/19/2009)

Seattle Weekly, "KBCS Launches New Weekly Schedule"
by Hollis Wong-Wear (8/28/2009)

KUOW, "The Conversation"
with host Guy Nelson (8/24/2009)
interview with Peter Graff, KBCS Program Director and Larry Lewin, SaveKBCS representative

Seattle Times, "Bellevue's Eclectic KBCS Making Programming Changes"
by Nicole Tsong (8/17/2009)

Seattle Times, "Arbitron Now Uses Meter to Measure Radio Listening"
by Erik Lacitis (8/30/2009)

Save KBCS blog
Participate in the online discussion about the program changes.

Listener Feedback
Read what others have told SaveKBCS that they think about the program changes.

Meeting Minutes
Save KBCS representatives met with KBCS management on September 24th, and other notes. Read all about it here.

Save KUT Austin
We are not alone... See what what the folks in Austin are doing to preserve community radio.

SaveKBCS on Facebook
SaveKBCS has a Facebook page. Join us!

KBCS 91.3 website
Don't take our word for it. Listen for yourself.

Sack KBCS Management on Facebook
One of our past listeners has a Facebook page calling for a boycott until all existing management have resigned.

Thank you for all your email comments! There are 4 pages of archived Listener Comments by which to access (at left) July - October 2009. For new comments, please visit the Save KBCS blog.

Community member' comments: July 10, 2009 - July 13, 2009.

7/10/2009 10:33 AM
I want to put in my two cents worth on the proposed changes to the KBCS schedule. I have long thought the various Lunch with Folks shows were some of the best shows ever on radio. I remember years ago I heard a Phil Ochs song (I Ain't Marching Anymore) on KBCS--I was astounded. I didn't think it possible such a song could be broadcast in this country--at least not on a seemingly mainstream station. I was instantly a KBCS fan and made a big (for me) donation to the station. Along with Democracy Now! and the old J Michael Kenyon sports show on KJR in the early '80's, these are some of the best programs I've ever heard on radio. Please don't mess with them and fix something that's not broken.
7/10/2009 10:57 AM
I just read about the program changes in the works at KBCS to remove or change some of your music programs, add more news, and replace volunteer DJs with paid ones, and I have to say I as a member/supporter am appalled.
Two of the programs I saw listed slated for change are Lunch with Folks and Daily Planet, which in my opinion are two of your very best music programs. Over the years, I have taken lunch breaks listening to Lunch with Folks and have been able to return to a stressful job feeling less stress. And every time I've tuned in to Daily Planet (always thought the time frame was not ideal for those working until 5p), I've been floored by the quality of the programming. There is some serious good music played on that program by dedicated DJs. If anything, that program should be kept as is and moved to a more 'exposed' placing so more listeners could tune in.
What is the rationale behind these changes? Is KBCS trying to become more commercial by having paid DJs who will have to answer to some agenda in their selection of music? That's how it appears. And what, we need yet more news programs? Leave that to KUOW please.
Again, I am appalled, upset, frickin' mad, and seriously disheartened by the impending changes to what I consider a top tier radio station in the Seattle/Bellevue area. I have no doubt that you will likely lose members (possibly myself included) over these changes. Something to consider when touting your station as "community radio."
7/10/2009 11:00 AM
I am a member/subscriber to KBCS. I love the current approach using volunteers. It's a wonderful format that adds so much richness to my listening. I enjoy the great variety and I listen regularly to a variety of shows.
KBCS has been such a resource for those of us who want to listen to music. I would hate to lose music hours to nonmusic programming. I would hate to lose the expertise of the volunteer experts.
7/10/2009 11:08 AM
i have been a long-time listener/supporter of kbcs - since it's inception. as a musician, i've enjoyed participation in a few live disscussions & performances at the only station in the area to host local artists. though local music calendar listings have been minimal, at least they existed. music is a healing force. other stations provide enough talk - left & right. who decides what direction a COMMUNITY STATION goes? if the proposed changes go through, i'll listen only to the current affairs programming that i've always enjoyed 2 hours a day and cut my support proportionally.
7/10/2009 11:12 AM
perhaps the most interesting and original programming on the dial - please don't cut or cancel...
7/10/2009 11:12 AM
Oh dear!
Sounds like the joint is run by people who don't know much about music & who are about as in touch with the needs & preferences of the public as are our politicians. I can't help wondering just how long their new policy will last.
7/10/2009 11:13 AM
As a long time listener and subscriber to KBCS, I will be very disappointed if you change your policy to paid music programming. We have already lost KPLU to a mundane, play-listed music format, where the people presenting the very limited scope of music often don't know much about what they are playing, but do take pleasure in "entertaining" the audience - which is why I no longer subscribe to that station.
The fact that you have many different personalities presenting music they love and have knowledge of is the main reason I listen. Although there may be programs in which I have no interest, there are certainly plenty of others which keep me tuned in for a portion of most days. Even if you were to hire someone of extraordinary caliber (the only two current ones on the air - and, at KPLU - that I would trust would be Jim Wilke and Ken Wiley) I would still miss the variety that goes missing when one person controls what they deem to be good music. (Or worse, works off a station-dictated play-list or approved tracks chart.)
You will never please 100% of your audience all the time, unless you target a middle-of-road and watered-down jazz ("smooth jazz") format, in which case you may get more listeners but will lose those of us who listen for the uniqueness and variety that you now have. And which is just not possible if you eliminate the current jazz line-up. Could they be better? Sure. But I doubt you will find anyone who is willing to put in the time and resources. Given the options, you are the best around - please don't mess with it. If I had my way, you would have jazz programming 24-7 and skip the news, which I get from many sources already. I sometimes listen to the afternoon "folk" shows, and again, although they are not as frequently on my radio as the jazz, they are diverse and unique and give this area something which can't be found on any other frequency. I often do enjoy hearing new things from them, and can't envision any good coming from "my taste" only host or hosts.
Save the money you want to spend on hosts and news feeds - continue to cherish and nurture the audience you now have. Growth is not necessarily good when it becomes more slick oil and program fat - we have enough of that on the airwaves now!
7/10/2009 11:31 AM
Wake up, where else can one find music--unprocessed and unplugged-- that's what keeps me coming back for more. Gotta listen to KBCS cuz those programmers are producing a custom product tailored for me and an audience that lets the programmers know what the audience wants to hear. The programmer hosts love to produce their programs, and the audience loves them and the music in return. What could be better? Dedication, dedication, dedication from both sides--a win-win-win! Automatic music ain't gonna do it for me. Don't take the soul out of KBCS. Don't want KBCS, a radio treasure in the Seattle area--and near regions-- to be just like other radio station kids on the block.
Thanks for letting me say my piece.
7/10/2009 11:41 AM
Hello from the Folk/World Music duo Four Shillings Short:
We recently heard of the changes to the KBCS lineup that are forthcoming and WE ARE SHOCKED!!!
With so few Community Radio Stations in the US it seems a very foolish and short sighted decision.
What has made KBCS successful in the past are the unique and in depth music programs that it offers. To change that and replace it with homogenous and less diverse programs is the BIGGEST MISTAKE IMAGINABLE.
7/10/2009 11:56 AM
I have been a member/supporter of KBCS for a decade or so. I value the passion and knowledge of the programmers. It's what makes KBCS stand out. We don't need more public affairs programming. KUOW does that just fine already.
This is a TERRIBLE idea. It ain't broke. Don't "fix" it.
7/10/2009 12:09 PM
As a true admirer and nearly daily listener of "Lunch with Folks" on the internet: It's a fantastic program, especially thanks to the diversity in programming: It must stay the way it is!
7/10/2009 12:17 PM
To Whom It May Concern: Keep KBCS the way it is. It's the only truly alternative people-oriented radio station left in the Puget Sound area, and the only place to hear folk music. This is important to many of us, including me! Thank you!
7/10/2009 12:22 PM
Thank you for giving me the purple flyer at the Kenmore Concert Series yesterday. It got my attention. Diversity is the reason that I listen to KCBS and if the diversity in programming goes away so do I.
Who is making these decisions and why?
Drive time Jazz. I have plenty of choice for public affairs at that time of day. Only one choice for Jazz. The diversity is what keeps me listening, replicating other stations will drive me away.
I could go on and on, but I would rather know who to yell at. Is there some hidden agenda to kill the station so that some corporation can take over 91.3?
7/10/2009 12:24 PM
Don't change the programming. You'll regret losing a unique and beautiful aspect to KBCS only to sell out to the mediocrity of the norm. Have some principles. Do the right thing. Keep the volunteers who are invested in their respective genres of music and please do not sell out.

7/10/2009 12:25 PM
re. kbcs - I am always disturbed when diversity is replaced by homogeneity. Even though I am not a particular fan of certain shows, if there is a sufficient audience for them, I would not dismiss them from the airwaves. I hope that some funding and insight is discovered to shift the current mindset for slimming down (in more ways than one) the station.
7/10/2009 12:29 PM
WHY are these changes BEING made? This is not what I want my financial contributions going for. I do not support this "new" radio format.
7/10/2009 12:34 PM
Hi- I read with dismay about the new plans for KBCS and its programming. This is a terrible idea and will impoverish the already wretched state of local and national radio even further. I already hardly ever listen to radio because it's so boring, depressing and annoying- KBCS is one of the last stations I actually enjoy listening to, when I can get it. This is just stupid and I can't believe anyone thinks this is a good idea.
Please pass on my comments to who ever is planning to implement these changes. They need to hear what a bad idea these changes are!
7/10/2009 12:41 PM
I hope I do not come off sounding shrill.
It seems the best (and most inclusive) way to revamp KBCS programming does not start with pull a "cut where it hurts the most" proposal out of thin air. The proposal as I understand it will hurt the long time loyal listeners and volunteers the absolute most. It feels very heavy-handed and wrong-headed. I have made acquantaince with a number of the KBCS music programmers over the years ... what a wonderful group of individuals, they all have tremendous knowledge of the music they present, and have a tremendous love of what they are doing. They do it for absolutely no monetary compensation. They bring in CD's and vinyl from their own collections. Wow! Where else will you hear Al Barnes, Joni Nelson, Bernie Goldberg, Iaan Hughes, Eric Hardy, Patty Fong, Mary Kelly, Jean Geiger, Richard Gillman, John Sincock, Sandy MacDonald, Christine Linde, Dru, Russ Thompson, Larry Lewin, Dave Long, Pete Goodall (order of the list is not significant, and omission does not mean anything either). I was very sad when Susan Madden left a few years ago as well.
I have been very dismayed with some of the past programming changes, and these changes will cause me to stop listening almost completely. The loss of the first hour of drive-time jazz to Amy Goodman's Democracy Now was a very low blow ... instead of very listenable and eruditely presented Jazz show, I am confronted with a news show I am not well prepared to stomach at that hour of the morning (the show itself is fine, but the hour of presentation is not). I was also very disappointed with the loss of the Rising of the Sun show on Saturday morning a few years ago. The more recent loss of blues programming is also very disheartening.
It is difficult to imagine what they are proposing is any less expensive to do than relying on the hordes of volunteer programmers. Station management seems hell bent on abandoning the folk whose listening and support over 35 years has made KBCS what it is. And they are doing this in favor of programming (eg Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now) which I can't honestly believe makes its proportional contribution to the station's operation, but even if it does, these are NOT local content. Those programs are freely available on the internet, and I'll listen there when I want. The local public affairs programming is considerably more valuable to me (for instance Martha Baskin's Green A.C.R.E radio show). The proposal will then add paid staff to present music ... ouch! My common-sense-meter has just moved to the left of 0. Something just doesn't add up here.
The whole proposal will make KBCS programming less valuable to many in its current audience. So perhaps that is what is happening here. Has the folk, jazz, blues audience outlived its usefulness? And is KBCS trying to abandon that audience in favor of a change to a more lucrative audience?
I donate when I can, and some years are better financially for me than others. During pledge drives you often use the comparison to the cost of a latte ... I don't drink lattes or patronize coffee stands for purely financial reasons. Being self-employed, I only have skeletal health coverage, and between trying to save for health emergencies and retirement, my dollars are very precious. I support live local music as much as I can, and that is one of the reasons I listen to KBCS. For me, I agree with Bernie Goldberg "Its about the music...." When "the music" is gone, I will cease to listen and contribute.
7/10/2009 01:30 PM
Hello The proposed changes at KBCS go against what your station stands for. Do we need more news programs? Not at all. It is possible they are cheaper for you to broadcast, but they are not adding to the value of your station as far as most listeners are concerned. Taking away any folk-oriented shows is ridiculous in the face of a growing trend towards that style of music (album of the year at the Grammy's was more folk than anything). One doesn't expect it to take over hip/hop in popularity, but its growth defies your thoughts of decreasing its presence on your station. Folk Alliance International has seen a growth in membership in the last year and in this day of financial difficulties, finds itself very stable.
You need to reconsider your proposed programming changes and in fact, you it seems you need to get back in tough with your listeners and community.
7/10/2009 01:33 PM
How can KBCS justify replacing volunteers with paid programmers? How can our "community" radio replace the programs which make it such a station with canned news and public affairs? I have been a contributor and subscriber to KBCS for many years and am very sorry to see such changes taking place. The station's support for local musicians and venues has been an important part of why I have remained a contributor. The skill and knowledge of the volunteers has added so much to my understanding of music both locally and in the world. I want to keep our community radio station! I don't want to lose our valuable programs!
7/10/2009 01:44 PM
As a supporter of KBCS for years, I am somewhat uncomfortable with these proposed changes. I would be very interested in what management has to say about these changes, because I am sure that they have been motivated by budgetary concerns and possibly by other professional concerns. I support both KBCS and KSER, although I contribute more to KBCS. I really appreciate their news shows, as well as the variety of music. From my standpoint, the music programming has always had room for improvement. Therefore, I am curious about management's motivation and if the motivation may have come at least in part from feedback left by listeners during fund drives. I will look forward to any and all communication on this issue in coming weeks and months, and I will have to decide (after everyone has had their say and the changes take place) whether this will continue to be a station that I will support. At this point, I do not know whether I will find the changes positive or negative. However, as long as willing volunteer disc jockeys are available, then it seems to me that the new changes are being motivated by some other issue.
7/10/2009 02:04 PM
Well I was shocked to learn about the program changes, this afternoon, and am not pleased to hear what's in store. I have been a regular finical contributor to the station, as well as a volunteer at pledge drives etc. I know Steve and many of the staff and know they have the long term health of the station in mind with these changes, but I worry they well turn off all the longtime supporters for a unknown new audience! And I certainty wish they would make an attempt to explain these changes.
7/10/2009 02:09 PM
I am writing to express my concern about the proposed changes at KBCS.
I am alarmed that many unpaid hosts will be replaced by fewer paid hosts. All of the musical hosts at KBCS have an incredible wealth of knowledge and in their number and diversity they are fantastic.
Fewer hosts means less diversity in music and less knowledge and love going into the programming.
I also object to the reduction in local public affairs programming and a greater reliance on syndicated programming. This belies KBCS' purported mission to be a community radio station.
It is also objectionable that KBCS, which is supported by the community, would make these moves without consulting with the community. This suggests that station management is aware these moves would not be popular with the community. Why is station management acting in such a sneaky manner?
7/10/2009 02:14 PM
To whom it may concern,
I am a proud supporter of KBCS for many years. The charm is having the hosts that are volunteers and very energetic about their programs. My favorite is John Sinncock. Honestly, I probably will not support this station if your proposed changes take place.
7/10/2009 02:15 PM
Yikes! This is a disaster for music lovers around the globe. KBCS's volunteer dj's passionately research and play for us music we never would have heard. I have been listening to and been enriched by this wonderful station for 20 years.
Please don't change. This is Not Change We Can Believe In.
7/10/2009 03:00 PM
If it was April Fools day I might laugh at this but this is a serious loss to the community. Not sure what the point of taking the community out of community radio. This station is an alternative to the other stations in town or on the web. I can listen to paid djs on thousands of station on the web. There is only one KBCS.
7/10/2009 03:07 PM
I have just read the proposed changes to KBCS. KBCS is currently, by far, the best radio station on the west coast. Why mess with a proven formula? With the elimination of "Drive Time Jazz, Lunch With Folks, Bud Young, Joanie Nelson, Bernie Goldberg, Al Barns, and the folks at Daily Planet KBCS will be hard to distinguish from any AM radio station. Was there some cost advantage of eliminating all the people who work for free? It has become obvious the KBCS no longer has intelligent management and, much to my regret, is going to be just another station that I no longer listen to.
7/10/2009 03:16 PM
I was just thinking the other day what a wonderful and unique programmer John Sincock is. He embodies what "folk" music is all about, the voice of the people, by always creatively playing songs relevant to the situation, whether it is impending war or presidential elections. You do not hear this kind of unique programming anywhere else. And now to hear that after 20 years on the air, he is being axed?? Why??
I have listened to this station for 20 years now, it is a part of my life. Yours is the only bumper sticker I have on my car. What you are planning to do is beyond belief. You will RUIN the station entirely. Listeners will desert in droves, as all the other comments here attest. I will remove the bumper sticker, and never pledge again if you get rid of your volunteer hosts and shows. You will quickly end up commercial, and one of the last best voices of people and community will be lost for good. Shame on you people, whoever is thinking this up. There must be another way to get your budget met, than this outrage.
7/10/2009 03:48 PM
Dear KBCS,
I support KBCS, and have for years, by listening and by contributing. It has brought me a world of music and ideas not found elsewhere on the radio. Please do not cut out the guts of that programming. Please do not replace the live, volunteer-hosted, diverse music programs with canned broadcasts and news that will only duplicate what can be heard on too many other channels.
Keep the music. Keep the music on KBCS.
7/10/2009 03:48 PM
I adore KBCS and listen several hours a day. It is part of what makes me want to get up in the morning and why I put on headphones when I do my power walk. I donate every year and have volunteered to answer phones. I wear the sticker on my bumper, attend benefits and always tell people to listen.
You have a happpy and faithful audience. Please keep our shows especially Daily Planet and Lunch with Folks on the air. They are as important to us as the air we breathe and the vegetables we eat
7/10/2009 03:54 PM
WOW! I just read about the proposed changes at the station. As a long time listener, this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I could never have even imagined such an incredibly mindless thing could be contemplated.
I can assure you of this, if you make these changes, you've lost me.
7/10/2009 05:28 PM
if the listening public loses music shows in your plan for changes, then you lose me as a listener.
7/10/2009 05:32 PM
As a long-time KBCS listener and supporter, I am dismayed by these planned changes. KBCS is my favorite radio station....or should I say "was" my favorite radio station. I love lunch with folks, democracy now, the hawaiian show, sunday with folks, and the saturday morning gospel show and much more. I especially love the fact that the people are volunteers and that I even know some of the dj's.
My opinion of the changes being proposed is that they will water down the KBCS programming and the fact that they are hiring djs instead of using volunteers tells me they must have corporate sponsorship for this.
I have not supported KBCS as much as I should have, but I have been a supporter over the last few years. In fact, I donated money (a small amount) during the recent mini-pledge drive and, ironically, I made a promise to myself to donate more during these tough economic times since I have a good job. I figured if they have to do a mini-pledge drive, then they must truly be feeling the pinch. But now, if my favorite programs are being eliminated, I don't know that I'll feel compelled to continue supporting the station. If they have corporate sponsors they won't need me, so it's unlikely that they will care about my small amount of money.
My message to the people in charge of these changes: KBCS is a one-of-a-kind radio station that attracts listeners all over the world. Please don't change the format this drastically. Please listen to your audience. We love KBCS as it is and don't want to see drastic changes. If you bring in paid dj's, I won't feel like I need to support the radio station. There must be plenty of money coming from somewhere if you can make these changes in spite of the collective dismay of your audience.
The "Americana" show instead of "Lunch with Folks"- really bad idea. I would suggest that if you feel changes are necessary, you find out what kind of changes people want to see. Don't make the changes without finding out more from your audience. Local programming is so important.
7/10/2009 08:24 PM
Well, I can't say I am surprised with the news of upcoming changes to KBCS. Decisions made over the last 3-4 years had made me uneasy and confused about the vision and mission of a radio station I love and support.
KBCS is a musical home for many Washington and world residents. The unique flavor that each volunteer programmer brings to their show is irreplaceable. No where else on the dial or the web can I find the knowledge, experience and passion for music that KBCS offers.
I am a member of KBCS and a volunteer. I know how much it means to the subscribers when they call in for their favorite program, leaving special messages for the programmer or requesting special music that means a lot to them. No paid programmer can match that connection and fulfill that need in our musical community to connect with others who share the love of the sounds.
During the KBCS programs that don't interest me, I do listen to Folk Alley on the web. After about 30 minutes, I find myself thinking "milk toast". Yes, the programming is good and the performers are talented but the lack of individuality and interesting tidbits about the music or a scratchy LP recording brought in by the programmer leaves me feeling that I've been in the elevator too long. I move the computer over to KBCS' archives and get something "real" to listen to. Soon my spirits are lifted and I'm reconnected to my community.
In this decision, the musical world will be poorer. Organizations that depend on KBCS to do live interviews of performers, announce upcoming concerts, give air time to performers who aren't "commercial material", and support live, local music will disappear. Venues that see a jump in ticket sales following a mention, an interview or a few cuts off a new CD will see a reduction in attendance.
The air waves don't need more news and spoken commentary. KBCS doesn't need paid programmers. KBCS needs to focus on doing what it has always done best - providing Seattle and the world with a radio station that fills each day with great music, heart and soul.
7/10/2009 09:15 PM
Dear Programmers
I am sure KBCS has enriched my career in the Northwest all these years, playing my music along with a wide spectrum of tastes. The volunteers who have given their time and energy toward introducing free-range, freelance talent to its many listeners deserve it, and the listeners especially deserve it.
I know times are financially difficult but I sure hope you can find the cash to keep the shows as they are . . . interesting.
7/10/2009 10:27 PM
I am a listener and I have been a financial supporter of KCBS. What I have most appreciated about the station is that it provides a true alternative to the other (very good) public radio stations . When I listen to KCBS, I truly feel connected to the community. The diversity of the programming and its reliance on volunteers who are dedicated and talented makes the station what it is. Hearing about the proposed changes, I find myself wondering why these changes are underfoot, and who (and what are the forces) lobbying for them. Whoever is leading this is not truly leading…..because leadership must involve dialogue and must help people move in directions that make sense. The changes proposed here do not make sense. Let’s hope that there are good enough leaders at KCBS, able to listen to the voices who are concerned about its future.
7/10/2009 10:51 PM
I'd ask that with your programing dicisions you retain Sunday Hornpipe. I love the Irish music featured on the show and look forward to it every week. I must say that even though I have access to a radio station directly out of Dublin, Ireland, the Hornpipe's show truly satisfies my Irish tastes.
Thanks and keep up the great work
7/10/2009 11:27 PM
I'm deeply disappointed in the proposed programming changes at KBCS! I've been a regular supported of KBCS precisely because of its community-based, volunteer-run programming. There is no other station where I can find such an interesting and informative assortment of historical, vintage, folk, Americana and world music. If KBCS goes to paid DJs and eliminates the variety of music programming and volunteer music hosts, I fear it will turn into just another run-of-the-mill FM station. That would be a terrible shame.
7/11/2009 12:02 AM
As a regular drive time jazz sub as well as a financial contributor, I am very unhappy about this change. I made a pledge during the spring pledge drive under the assumption I was helping community radio continue in Bellevue and to ensure the programming could survive. Now I feel I spent my money, as well as my time, unwisely and that we, as a community, is losing a valuable treasure.
7/11/2009 03:09
Yours has been one of the most special radio stations in the USA because of your diversity and many dedicated programmers. We are horrified to hear about the new proposed changes, and hope that you will reconsider before turning KBCS into just another homogenized station, one more bland face in the crowd.
For our little record label in the Netherlands, it is very expensive to provide US radio with new releases, but our policy has been to send as many copies as needed/requested by KBCS DJs because the station has been so unique and exceptional. We have also told a great many music lovers about your station over the years and have helped build your listening audience both by providing our music and via word of mouth.
Please don't forget what has made KBCS worth listening to in a world of same-old same-old radio, and don't ruin the excellent programming that has been its greatest asset.
7/11/2009 03:34 AM
You say you are in a money crunch; you want to now SPEND? For *less * superior community radio? What would *I* be getting as a supporter who regularly listens to "Lunch With Folks" & "Daily Planet"?
I *was* planning to send in a generous $1000 donation next week..I've been hearing the development officer's pleas and was merely waiting to amass the funds
But now that I have read in details that all the shows I love are going to be axed, why bother?
I'll save my amassed dollars for KAOS in Olympia and KSER in Edmonds- *they*, despite the times and financial challenges, are maintaining *true* community radio.
7/11/2009 06:51 AM
Dear KBCS folks,
It is with deep sadness and regret that I have learned of the proposed programming changes at one of the few remaining community radio outlets left in the country. Local and regional coverage, in issues, politics, and arts, as well as music, has been eroding throughout the Nation for years, and KBCS was one of the few stations that still retained a great amount of autonomy. As such, it is more able to respond to and boost the local scene in all its beautiful multicultural glory in ways that more mainstream radio stations just are unable or unwilling to do.
As an independent musician and long-time supporter of KBCS (I called in a pledge while driving into Seattle one day, listening on my car radio), I urge you to reconsider this decision, and retain your local edge against the competition. KBCS fills a niche that needs filling, for the health of the greater Seattle area and the listening and watching world.
Here in the Bay Area, we nearly lost our flagship Pacifica station, KPFA, a few years back, with music shows being pre-empted by MOR Americana-esque ditties, and we had to fight hard to wrest it back. I certainly don't think that the goings-on at KBCS are as nefarious as the Pacifica board's attack on KPFA and attempt to sell the station, but my experience with that situation has led me to understand the slippery slope that has preceded the loss of many of our community stations. Please don't let it happen to KBCS.
7/11/2009 07:24 AM
I'm sure this is cast in stone and there's no turning back now, but I just wanted to express my disappointment. I listen to KBCS over the Internet from Washington DC since I discovered the station when spending six months in the Seattle area in 2000.
In the past few years, we've had two stations which had eclectic program like KBCS' choose to "better serve our listeners" by dropping the music programming, shoving it into a corner, or moving it to Internet or HD FM channels. After a couple of years, one discovered that it just wasn't working for them (their pledges dropped nearly in half) and they're back to full time music now, recognizing that there are plenty of other stations broadcasting news and public affairs, but too few playing music and supporting the artists.
Maybe you'll discover the same thing, but I know you have to try what you're going to try.
7/11/2009 08:36 AM
Hello KBCS,
I am a long-time listener and supporter of your radio station and consider it to be one of the most valuable assets of this entire region. By far the greatest part of that value is due to both the variety of your programs and the variety of your DJs. It is inconceivable to me that you would want to move away from this formula that attracts so many listeners and brings so much richness and diversity to the local airwaves. I am at a loss to understand the reasoning behind this move and will surely reconsider my support if this is indeed the direction that KBCS takes.
7/11/2009 08:50 AM
Hey KBCS, you are the best station around because of your diversity. If you cut these programs you will lose even more support. I know times are hard. I'll get my pledge in soon. but only if you don't cut.
7/11/2009 10:21 AM
I am writing in support of maintaining KBCS’s diverse format with volunteer hosts. I am a member of KBCS, and made it a priority this year due to the economy.
First, if KBCS has not raised enough funds this year in pledge drives, I fail to see the wisdom in adding to the financial overhead with paid hosts.
Second, the media is overflowing with all kinds of mainstream public affairs programming, some of it of very high quality. Why do we need more from a corporate source? Airing ‘Democracy Now’ is important, but adding more public affairs would do nothing to benefit KBCS in my opinion. That is not the main reason I listen to the station.
For 30+ years KBCS has served a unique role in this region. The diversity of voices, hosts, music, opinions, and more has made KBCS a true reflection of its community. This is no small accomplishment and one to be extremely proud of. I listen to and value KBCS for its diversity of music and perspective — including what I don’t like or don’t agree with. KBCS represents a vibrantly alive resource, a true expression of the myriad of ways human beings experience and express themselves and our world.
From the perspective of its position in the radio marketplace, KBCS has a more unique position and associated opportunities by maintaining its current format. We are only 6 months into the Obama administration, but already there is a sea change in our culture regarding all types of diversity. We are all more open to it, and as we relax, we become curious. For this reason I suggest that KBCS hold to what it does best, to continue to dare to be different from the mainstream, and seek ways to make that work. Besides, strengthening KBCS’s existing ‘brand’ takes the least effort and therefore funds. The election of Obama signaled a change in our country, and more and more people are fed up with mainstream media. I urge KBCS not to throw away this opportunity at this time.
I understand that change is part of the world we live in, but I strongly oppose the proposed programming changes, and enthusiastically support maintaining the existing diverse format with volunteer hosts.
If KBCS implements the proposed changes in August, I will stop listening, and support KSER in Everett which would certainly benefit from KBCS’s demise.
7/11/2009 11:47 AM
Please forward to KBCS Management We need the jazz and folk variety on radio!! I get all the hip-hop, rap and death metal on the other 63 stations in the Northwest. Heck, I even used to be on a show KBCS had (The Arcade with Eccentrica)---You remain a unique and vibrant station; if you want to copy the others, we can't stop you but I can see you getting lost in the wave.
For the artists that will soon disappear in our increasingly generic artist community Dare to be different.
7/11/2009 01:06 PM
Dear Friends,
I write as an ardent supporter of KBCS. KBCS makes a huge, positive contribution to our local culture. The musical programming is what I particularly value. Replacing this with news would be a dreadful loss to the quality of my daily life.
Please reconsider this announced change.
7/11/2009 02:32 PM
I am aware that contributions to KBCS are down, but would be curious how this decline compares to other public radio stations. It is possible that there is no difference and that the reason for the decline is not programming, but the economic downturn. In any case, I must say that I am disappointed at the prospect of changing the station from volunteer operated to having paid DJ's.
7/11/2009 02:36 PM
Are you kidding?? Please leave my beloved radio station alone!
7/11/2009 03:00 PM
Somebody pinch me and wake me from this Orwellian nightmare. Many music shows are cut (including some of my favs) in favor of talk or some vague programming called "Americana" (is this a Clear Channel category?). Many volunteer hosts (including my favs Joanie and Jonathan) are shown the door in favor of paid DJs. Didn't your last pledge drive fall short as well as the "mini-drive"? So in classic double think you decide to hire paid DJs and alienate a good section of your community base? Just for the record, I have been listening to KBCS for over 20 years and have been donating seriously for more than a decade. I don't usually donate during pledge drives (although a three years ago I stretched myself to a $365 donation and got to be in the studio for Sincock's show), but at my own times. Noting your shortfall in pledges I was about to send one of my random checks. The checkbook cover is now closed. I like Lunch With Folks, the morning jazz shows, and the world music in the afternoon. I do not now, nor will I listen to talk or news on the radio in any significant amount. I like music. I like LIVE DJs. I doubt that those instituting these changes are interested in listening to the KBCS community, but if they canhear our plea it is, "Keep the volunteers! Keep folk and jazz programming alive at KBCS! Don't listen to newspeak.*"
*OK, the last one is just me speaking.
7/11/2009 03:01 PM
Hello all,
I just heard of the monumental change about to take place at KBCS. I live in the Seattle area and have been a listener and supporter of KBCS for years. I have been amazed at the true diversity and grass-roots nature of this station. It is the only station I dig in to support because it is so rare. As a community member, musician, and amateur musicologist, this station has been a true companion for a long time and offers a tremendous value. I have never met anyone who listens to KBCS and criticised its programming - never!
When I saw the notice about this programming change, I assumed that it was driven by a lack of financial support. Is this true? I haven't heard anything specifically adressing this. They are saying that this is to meet, what they have determined as needs and disires of their core audience. Is this really the case? Was there an outcry for this change for a majority voice? If so, so be it.
The changes they are suggesting would render KBCS of no value for me. I have learned a great deal about the various eras of Jazz development through the 20's (Vintage Jazz), the Swing Era - 30's-50's, and the Bebop Era, 40's - on... You absolutely cannot find this stuff anywhere on the dial. And the programmers bring their own personal connection and knowledge, which futher deepens the experience. Every programmer has their own area of expertise. I know Steve Ramsey has a deep connection with Balkan and Eastern Eurpean music, and so, he enriches the community with that knowledge. I coul keep going, of course, but you get the point...
Years ago, I was a concert promoter in this area. I promoted world music/ethnic music artists from all over the world. KBCS was a place through which I could connect with the natural audience for this music. For me as a promotor and music lover, KBCS served a vital function. The bland programming the station is proposing will drive away the diverse that has supported this station for 35+ years.
These days I am a web designer, working for Microsoft. This important to me. Please feel free to contact me if you need further assistance with this effort, if it's not too late. Thank you for voicing your concerns about this.
7/11/2009 04:04 PM
Yikes, as an ardent supporter of KBCS, I am surprised and dismayed at these changes--both the substance of them and the process.
We probably all have individual music shows that we love that are affected by these changes. Personally, I can hardly believe that Daily Planet will be disappearing. I depend on Daily Planet to keep me exposed to a current variety of world music. Will I actually have to turn to another radio station to get a world music mix? I feel so, so sad to have this as the only alternative I can see here. Change is inevitable, and resistance to change is inevitable, but am I really part of a tiny minority who adore and depend on Daily Planet for musical joy and inspiration?
The most shocking part of this change, for me, is the process. The letter on KBCS website offers wonderful words honoring the contributions of volunteers...but up till now, KBCS has honored and celebrated volunteer community radio every day in its culture and living daily reality. Human treasures like Joanie and Diane and Michael and Barbie and John Sincock and others just cast aside with a very sincere thank you???? I am so stunned by the lack of involvement (as far as I can tell; maybe I am not seeing the whole picture) of the long-time volunteer DJs in this process, as well as the lack of involvement (again, to the limits of my knowledge) of long-time members and devotees of KBCS. I have a lot of respect and affection for Steve, Pete, and Uli; I am hoping that they will come forward with both open ears (to listen well to many voices) and open hearts (to more fully explain the situation as they see it & the context of the changes, and to access the collective wisdom of the KBCS community in formulating solutions that truly embody the community spirit that has been the very nature of KBCS).
7/11/2009 04:25 PM
To the programming staff at KBCS: The great music that comes from KBCS is one the great joys of my life. I have shared it with others at work, home and play and they marvel at my collection of tunes shared with them as we work and play. I have stopped my car, dropped my pen and called in to see what wonderful, unique music I have just been treated to. Time and time again, day and night. I can remember exactly where and when I called and to help identify which song.
I have been a daily listener and contributor for over 20 years. The music that has made my life so much richer came from KBCS and can be heard no where else. I like the public affairs, but the music is what makes the station truly unique and wonderful. Much of that music is by small, independent musicians whose talent can be experienced no where else. Lunch with folks, Folk Sounds, Rising from the Sun, Road Songs, Daily Planet, Uncle Megabooty and many more are an oasis is the midst of a cesspool of commercial radio. Eric Hardee, John Sincock and the other volunteer DJs practice a labor of love in their contribution to our lives.
Please reconsider your programming change. So many times when I call in I ask the DJs "what's it like to work at the best radio station on the planet?". Keep it that way and I can keep supporting your efforts. You can't paint over the Mona Lisa to make it better.
7/11/2009 04:34 PM
i can't belive your doing this it breaks my heart. Jazz needs to be heard america's only origina art form is important. much more that talking about a bunch of local nonsense or world event's we can do nothing to affect. stop selling the art short
art saves lives and music can heal.
so sad
7/11/2009 04:42 PM
Please forward this comment to the KBCS management:
Bottom line: Make the changes and you'll lose this member and listener. I will stop promoting the station to my friends and acquaintances. I am talking to them about the move away from music and local programming towards less music an canned national programs.
Why?: "It's the music." (Bernie Goldberg - Current KBCS producer). I listen because of the UNIQUE and varied knowledge and expertise of each of the DJ's from our community on the each DIFFERENT PROGRAM. I look forward to the introduction of new and local musicians I can't hear anywhere else; the musician interviews; and the promotion of other local non-profit music organizations. I listen for what I can't get anywhere else. I can get generic Americana - anytime any day off the internet. With each music cut 0 (I really miss the blues shows, I listen less and question my financial contribution more. I want music in the afternoon and evening as a respite from the world and work. I don't want talking shows. Amy Goodman once a day is more than enough.
Get back to the basics: Community radio is by and for the community. That means community members producing and hosting shows with local and other content we can't get any were else. The emerging trend in the PNW and nationally is towards LOCAL, whether it be food, recreation, transportation, neighborhoods, and media. It is time for our community radio to help lead this trend. Implementing more corporate like, national programming , is a short-sighted move, when now more than ever we need to support our local communities and institutions. "Local hosts" reading station breaks during national programs is not local content! There is no unique knowledge and expertise. We already have 2 NPR stations, we don't another. Money: The math doesn't add up. KBCS produced more music with much less money in the past. You've got money problems and you want to pay a few DJs?? and stream national public affairs programs?? Have you honestly considered that your listenership and donations are down in part because of the increase in public affairs programing (some of it not very inlcusive) and less music.
7/11/2009 05:20 PM
Why on earth would you do this? This is one of the few stations where we can hear a variety of decent music. And the volunteers keep connection with the local musical community and they are very listenable.
7/11/2009 05:48 PM
Many things come to mind with the announcement of the proposed changes made to KBCS, which is said to be “Community Radio.”
I went to
to find a definition for the word “Community.” The third entry is one that I thought best describes KBCS, as listeners currently know it.
a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.
While KBCS has a working staff, such as a station manager, program director, and a few other people who are paid, what makes KBCS different from other mainstream radio stations is the fact that the majority of the programmers consists of volunteers. I can vividly remember, several times, programmers (including Peter Graff and Steve Ramsey) making note of that during pledge drives. To this day, if one listens to KBCS, what stands out is the diversity of each program because different programmers take turns producing the show and choosing the music.
As a contributing member, , I feel very misled and deceived with how my money is being used by the station. If there is a shortage in money, why would you want to all of a sudden cut so many volunteers and pay some DJs? Not only are you spending money that doesn’t need to be spent, but the diversity which you seemed to take pride in is also being taken away from us from such shows as “Lunch with Folks”, “Daily Planet” and the various Jazz programs. I feel misled because nothing was ever said during pledge drive, and you were still asking people to support the above mentioned shows. Why would you do that if decisions to remove said shows were already made? If I’m a contributing member, don’t I have a right to know how my money is being used? Don’t I have a right to make an opinion as to how to keep improving the station? I’m angry!!
“Lunch with Folks” is one of the quintessential folk shows in the Northwest. It is a program featuring folk music, but every day is unique because of the person hosting it. That program can easily put a smile on my face. I’ve learned about so many wonderful musical acts through that show alone.
One of the hosts, Richard Gillman (who is perhaps one of the volunteers you are removing) does the entire nation a wonderful service by compiling the top folk albums and songs so that listeners are aware of what is out there and what is being heard. He posts these compilations on nationwide folk DJ lists and invites people to look at his website for even more information. I really don’t think it makes sense to have someone so valuable on staff only to remove him.
So, you’re removing volunteers to hire a few paid programmers, right? By creating a new Americana show that is more mainstream, what happens to our local or regional talent? What happens to all of the wonderful in-studio interviews and live music? My feeling is that by wanting to conform to what “experts” or mainstream stations say, these wonderful KBCS traits will be gone soon enough. Couldn’t we just listen to satellite or internet radio for shows like these?
There are three phases to this station change. I’m afraid to find out about the next two. What will happen to such shows as “Our Saturday Traditions”, “Sunday Folks”, “Folk Sounds”, “Bluegrass Ramble” and many others? What about the world music played on Saturday afternoons and evenings? What about the Monday night Jazz shows? They’re just as diverse, so perhaps because of that, they might also be removed, huh??
Going back to the dictionary’s definition of “Community”, I personally think that KBCS is going against the definition of the word and the station’s core values and beliefs in a huge way. Decisions were made for the KBCS community without consulting the people that make up the listenership. How fair is that? Why couldn’t there have been meetings, forums, etc to find out “the people’s” thoughts rather than going to nationwide consultants and “experts?”
Finally, I hope you realize that with these upcoming changes, you could easily begin losing listeners you wish to keep. You also are taking away from people’s sense of community. I can honestly tell you that as one of KBCS’s biggest fans and supporters, I feel like a huge part of my community is being taken away. KBCS has always been on the side of the people. Now is not the time to change. Don’t let us all down by conforming, because if you do…I don’t know how you can, in good conscience, continue to call KBCS a “community” radio station.
ASK YOUR LISTENERS (your community) WHAT they’d like to do to improve THEIR station!!!
7/11/2009 07:03 PM
The station should keep local music, give local musicians the opportunity to be heard; and the often unheard music from regions of the world played. American Folk music played as this is our cultural heritage for many generations, if not than it is the music of American history. Already many cultures don't think America has a culture-because no one has the opportunity to hear American folk music, but it does have a history of Folk music of many varieties.
For local opportunity; American's history; music for the brain from the rest of the world that makes listening to the station so special.
If they are making change for monetary reasons than maybe do more or different fund raisers- Hugh bake sales or flamboyant parties/or themed parties- charge fee. Thank you-
7/11/2009 07:22 PM
I have added a link to the web sight on both my Facebook & My Space pages. Hope it helps.
7/11/2009 07:49 PM
Dear "Save KBCS" team,
I sent an earlier e-mail to this e-mail address with some ideas for increasing listenership, prior to me understanding that the message I was sending was going to the SAVE KBCS group instead of to KBCS itself. Since then, I understand the programming changes that are planned. My question to those of you who know is:
Is there a non-profit board that is controlling KBCS? If so, who is on the board?
Also, on the website, Steve Ramsay mentions that there are declining revenues, but on the website it shows increases from 2007 to 2008. Are there any members of the SAVE KBCS team who are accountants and can study the last 5 years bank statements, and make an analysis? At first glance, it seems as if revenues are up. But KBCS has done a lot of infrastructure improvements in the past couple of years, which will pay off over time. However, I haven't seen any changes in how they increase listenership or any improvements on how they get money. If they were going to increase long-term capital investments, it might have been good to have some big fund raisers collecting money from "deep pockets". The fund raising concerts were probably not big money makers since people are busier these days and you can't count on people to attend a concert, and there is only so much money someone will pay for a ticket. However people who have a lot of money will donate to a good cause, such as preserving diversity in music and local news, if they knew about the station and its one-of-a-kind status.
Who gets the final say on major programming changes? Is there any plan to suggest to the powers that be at Bellevue College to counter the proposed plan?
7/11/2009 09:11 PM
KBCS is the only radio station, outside my listening area, to which I make a financial pledge each year. I access KBCS through the Internet. In truth, it is one of the best stations I listen to. When I’m home, I always listen to Tuesday night’s programming, as well as the music on Sunday. I can’t imagine not being able to enjoy the choices and knowledge your programmers bring to their shows. Your suggested changes would make a major change in my listening habits; I’m really not sure where I’ll find the quality of programming which I’ve enjoyed on KBCS. I hope you will reconsider the proposed changes to the station.
07/11/2009 09:47 PM
I am very alarmed to learn about the upcoming changes in programming at KBCS.
Please do not elimiate 20th century Jazz from the KBCS programming. This program is one of the few of its kind for thoses Jazz lovers who still want to keep the old styles alive. Joanie Nelson is one of the best. She is extremely knowledgeable and treasured by all of her many listeners. I would hate to see KBCS make the changes that are being considered - I think of KBCS as one of the few remaining stations to have such a diverse group of programmers. PLEASE do not eliminate the morning Jazz programs.
07/11/2009 10:43 PM
You are about to eliminate the only programs on your station that I listen to regularly…….I beg you to reconsider.
7/12/2009 07:42 AM
I was alarmed to hear the news of revisions to programming at KBCS. I agree with your concern that removal of local hosts will dilute the listening experience. While I don’t enjoy all of the hosts equally, I’d rather have the current diversity than risk an eventual ‘blanding-out’ of the playlist. I am a long time listener and contributor.
7/12/2009 08:29 AM
Hi folks,
I am only a sometimes-visitor (from Bavaria, Germany) of the Bay area but allways listenning to KBCS Folk- and Jazz-program - this should not stop!!!
Please try hard to continue with this, me and all my European and American friends like it so much!
7/12/2009 09:05 AM
I now am going to have to find a new NPR type affiliate to listen and donate to.
7/12/2009 09:23 AM
Looks like KBCS is in a death spiral. It's been a great station since it's beginning; but these changes will cause less people to tune in. What's the rationale? Long time listener when I lived in Seattle.
7/12/2009 09:56 AM
What stimulated this?
Who is behind the change?
Some kind of hostile takeover?
Threats from CPB????? like KRCL????? like CPB is trying to do to several other community stations????
Ibiquity sold you a bill of goods, driving up expenses to no benefit? HD is a trojan horse. Did KBCS take a loan to finance their match for this? and the lender is forcing the change?
What is this "public affairs" that is replacing original programming? NPR?????
Where will the money for those "paid hosts" come from?
I am a long time contributor. Some years over $200. I listen on the web. Until now, I have considered KBCS to be a top model of a job well done.
If these changes are instituted, I will no longer support KBCS.
7/12/2009 10:18 AM
Hi – your decision to change your programming is not good in that you are releasing all that have made your station unique and very attractive to listen to and hence you will find that this will lessen your listening audience.
7/12/2009 10:31 AM
KBCS programming has been something I've enjoyed for many years. Having participated as a listener, then a pledge drive volunteer and then a programmer for the popular Celtic music show Sunday's Hornpipe was a great life experience. Community radio was a concept I'd not understood until I had hands on experience, being ushered into it by other programmers with a deep love for music and also by people who valued reflective, democratic free speech public not private radio.
I have some idea of the challenges that face Steve Ramsey when he came on board as director. It wasn't a job I could take on. I admired his willingness to take on that role and to help keep the station moving, growing and evolving. Not at all an easy comfortable process with so many personalities and events and complications to deal with. And Pete Graff brought some remarkable technical changes to the station that made things a lot easier in many ways, a bit more challenging in some but overall pretty great.
And I can understand how they might feel bogged down by having to pull together enormous group meetings and have to "hash out" things with so many disparate personalities. It's so much easier to just make a top down declaration and call it done. But that is where I start to wonder at the wisdom of this approach. All the pledge drives started to make me crazy too. I couldn't understand why we had to keep raising the bar on the total amount needed to be raised. Why did we have to add on all these expenses which in turn made these pledge drives necessary? Why couldn't we come up with some ideas to streamline things so the overall running of the station wouldn't be so expensive and so complicated? It all felt a bit like a train running amok, with no one to put the brake on. But that's what this Save KBCS movement feels like; someone is trying to put the brake on. Because clearly these next series of movements take the community right out of the station.
Since KBCS is clearly stated to be community radio, this next step has to happen. There has to be a dialogue between administration and everyone else that considers themselves part of community radio. Yes radio is being eclipsed by all the online stuff, but there are still people who enjoy turning on the station and listening to intelligent life forms who bother to volunteer and present music and ideas rather than commercials and innocuous ear candy bought and paid for.
Diversity is a really good thing. I don't want to see KBCS go down the tubes of mass media. I hope you don't either.
7/12/2009 10:50 AM
To whom it may concern:
I've been a sustainer for the last few years, since I moved to Seattle from Portland, where I was a sustainer and volunteer at KBOO. These proposed changes sound awful. What's the point of a community station that isn't volunteer-programmed, with the personality and diversity that brings? This would make KBCS just another public station -- maybe okay, but not community radio. I'm curious about the motivation for the change. It would seem to make for more expense, for one thing, when finances have been a problem. More consistency might seem more professional, and thus more attractive to a conventional audience, but it would also make it less worthy of support, at least my support. I would cancel my sustainer contributions.
7/12/2009 11:38 AM
After listening to KBCS in Seattle for over 17 years, three years ago I moved a little further out to a rural area just outside the reach of the station. I really missed this station in my life, I can tell you. The only time I was able to listen was when I drove back into town for the day, and was always cheered when I heard the sounds of my favorite programmers, it felt like reconnecting with old friends.
Then I figured out how to get the station streaming live through my computer, and got some good speakers, which has made all the difference -- KBCS is back in my life! It seems better than ever, and the old saying "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" is SO true. People are not realizing how much you are going to miss this station, if it fundamentally changes.
It is the diversity of the programs that makes it what it is. There are quite a few shows I don't like and don't listen to. Does that mean these shows should be cut and ALL shows turn into ones I want to listen to? No!!! It cannot be all things to all people, which is what it sounds like they want to try and do. The wonderful kaleidoscope of diverse programming and programmers is what makes KBCS what it is!
In the midst of this recession, after realizing how valuable this station is to me, I have vowed to pledge more regularly, even though I can only afford a small amount each time because I am not working. It is at times like these, when other aspects of society are going through major changes, that we need more than ever the fundamental things in our lives, and to me, KBCS is one of them. If it changes to become more generic and if I hear even one commercial, that will be the end of it for me, even my tiny pledge will disappear. We can't let this happen, people, let's do whatever it takes to keep KBCS diverse and truly listener-sponsored!
If we're the ones "sponsoring" the station, can we have a vote? Is this really a democracy here or not?

7/12/2009 12:00 PM
To whom it may concern,
I have been appraised of the proposed upcoming changes at KBCS radio in Bellevue, Washington.
As the producer/host of a nationally syndicated radio program for almost 25 years, ( "River City Folk") who has been intensely involved with public radio issues that entire time, I believe I have some important perspective to bring to these radical changes to KBCS. Just to be clear, "River City Folk" is not carried by KBCS. I have no vested interest in this situation except for my concern for the music and the listeners.
The first thing that concerns me is the duplicity of soliciting funds on air for ongoing programming from listeners this part spring, knowing that the monies would be used to pay a consultant to bring about changes, and to eventually replace longtime volunteers with paid staff. This was a clear breach of ethical fundraising, and a cynical manipulation of listener loyalty. This tactic alone should ensure that these changes are scrutinized and re-examined by college trustees and other agents of the taxpayers that fund Bellevue Community College.
KBCS is a beacon of cultural light for underserved musical communities in Seattle, particularly the folk and jazz community. It has been spectacularly successful in fulfilling the mission statement listed on the stations website, and is an outstanding representative of a Community/college radio station licensee. The loss to Seattle, and to the jazz and folk music community in Puget Sound if these program changes are allowed to happen, will be swift and catastrophic. Without the shows and personalities on KBCS that now feature this music and artists in these genres, live venues will suffer and/or close, fewer musicians will learn or create this music, and we continue down a disturbing path to homogeny, mediocrity, and further commercialization in the arts.
I have observed this same scenario in other communities, and a station like KBCS trying to compete with a mainstream NPR affiliate or a commercial Americana corporate station inevitably fails, no matter what the consultant has been telling the administration. Format changes begin to occur every 6 months to a year, after the radical changes in programming are seen to alienate the base audience that has been painstakingly built up for decades or longer. KBCS will cease to be a "public" radio station in the sense that it is responsive to its listeners and community, and begin a futile effort to match ratings and duplicate formats with stations that are much better funded and established. It is a foolish course of action, particularly for a station that already commands very respectable rankings in the areas Arbitron radio surveys, and that enjoys enviable listener support.
Once the changes are made, longtime volunteers are let go, and people stop tuning in to KBCS and contributing money, the damage is done. It is very difficult to go back.
I urge you to reconsider the actions you have announced. I believe they are not only ill-advised, ethically suspect, and culturally damaging to the entire Seattle area; but experience in other markets indicates these changes will achieve exactly the opposite effect from your stated goal of increased listenership and enhanced fundraising.
7/12/2009 01:26 PM
I'm completely dismayed at the proposed changes to KBCS programming. Taking the music away from schools is terrible, taking it away from our culture is unforgivable! Thinking such thoughts, for whatever reason (probably financial ???) is unforgivable!
7/12/2009 01:55 PM
Dear KBCS, I work in the local Seattle film industry and have 91.3 dialed into my local saved channels in my car. I can always count on Jazz playing in the background when I am driving around directors, producers or actors in my car to film sets. The music you play is always the right flavor when driving around the city. Why take such a valuable resource away from our area?! I feel you need to rethink this change and how it reflects not just your station but our city and our region for it seems it would make people rely more on CD’s and MP3 players in their car rather than the flavor of local radio. For the good of the city please rethink this distasteful change that you are contemplating.
7/12/2009 02:14 PM
KBCS is our last hope for an eclectic mix of music programming that shares the expertise and diverse tastes of connoisseurs of each form. It's what radio should be. Please don't succumb to this national trend and become another generic station. You're better than that...
7/12/2009 02:58 PM
I replied earlier, but did not express one thing which I see few have really picked up on. Lets zoom out a little, here:
Prior to the changes, there are 20 hours per week which are dedicated to public affairs programming. After the changes, there are 40 hours of public affairs per week. ALL of the new hours are non-locally sourced programs "helicoptered in" from outside of our community. There are still less than 3 hours of locally produced public affairs in a week. So, percentagewise, the public affairs programming under the new schema is half as local as before. Having a local person do the station id announcements does not make it local programming, as the management letter implies with "As in the morning, the entire afternoon lineup of public affairs programming will be hosted by local community members." Adding station ID's does not make the show part of the local community.
The galling thing is we are replacing locally DJ'd music shows (Drive Time Jazz and Daily Planet) with non-local public affairs programming. So a DJ who spends many hours preparing for her show is replaced by a community member who does station ids. Ouch! I'll take the DJ in a heart beat (even if the music isn't my cup of tea). The sum total is less local diversity when you factor in the proposed changes to the 9-noon slot and the replacement of Lunch With Folks.
I think in all of this, there are the hands of consultants, so called "experts" who drive to the tired and "proven" middle of the road, where the ruts are the deepest. The sense I get is one of KBCS trying to re-define its community by searching for one with deeper pockets.
Thanks very much to the poster above, reading "yer mine until nine" in your comment brought a smile to my face and fond memories. I still miss your voice at 6AM.
7/12/2009 03:15 PM
Hi, the LAST thing we need is another public affairs talk show to replace a quality jazz show. Also, the LAST thing we need is to get rid of the blue-grass and other radio shows not available any where else in the Seattle area.
The changes will result in just another mediocre radio station to pollute the airways. Please fire the idiot proposing the changes.
7/12/2009 03:55 PM
KBCS has been my favorite station of all times, and at age 66 that’s saying a lot for a big city kid from LA and NY with lots to choose from. Having lived here 20 years, I’ve been a continual supporter/subscriber and will end my support when the folk/Celtic/world music goes pop.
7/12/2009 04:06 PM
What about an online petition? What if we got 50,000 or more signatures in support of KBCS as it is? Would that help override this insanity which sounds like it is being perpetrated by Peter Graff, the Program Director?
I strongly feel this Peter Graff needs to be fired and replaced with a volunteer board of directors for programming, who are committed to keeping the integrity of the station as diverse as it has been all these years (and that would also cut a chunk out of the operating budget right there, so less pledge drive required, kill two birds with one stone).
7/12/2009 04:37 PM
It has come to our attention that KBCS radio is planning a drastic change to the format and content of its daily programming.
Currently, the station offers a rich, varied menu of shows that are hosted by volunteer programmers
(see ).
These volunteers are knowledgeable and passionate about the type of music they present. The existing format provides listeners an opportunity to hear a great diversity of contemporary selections in addition to wonderfully unusual and even rare recordings that several of the programmers occasionally bring in from their extensive private collections. This is greatly appreciated by many communities whose choice of music is not available for listening to anywhere else.
KBCS is reportedly planning to replace the many volunteer programmers with paid DJ's who will play a "more consistent" program every day. For our household, there are particular shows on KBCS that we regularly choose to listen to; their selection of music is not played at other times, on other days of the week, or on other stations. If that programming is eliminated, we will have no reason to tune to KBCS.
The station is also supposedly aiming to cut much of the music programming to air additional hours of news and talk shows. Commercial radio stations are often criticized for presenting a bland, overly homogeneous palette of music. In the past several years other local public radio stations, such as KUOW and KPLU, have changed their formats to favor programming of news and talk shows; there is now a plethora of all types of news and talk on the airwaves. With its current format, KBCS offers listeners unique choices in public radio.
KBCS identifies itself as "KBCS 91.3 Community Radio"; we believe the proposed changes will do nothing to serve the community of listeners. The station also carries the tagline ³a world of music and ideas². It appears that this world is about to shrink.
For years we have been regular contributors to the station; we were considering substantially increasing our financial contribution this year. If the station's format will no longer include the dedicated and diverse volunteer programmers, we will discontinue our support.
Please take action to reverse these proposed changes before it is too late!
7/12/2009 05:09 PM
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Tom, and I've been a listener of the station ever since some friends from both Seattle and Portland told me about KBCS. For me, there's absolutely nothing better than "Lunch With Folks" and sometimes "Daily Planet."
However, I have to say that there are certain days that I like LWF more than others, and I think this is a fantastic thing about KBCS. For instance, I love listening to Richard, Iaan, and John's editions of "Lunch With Folks." Other days are OK at times, but it is these three very different individuals that make up three different programs under the same large umbrella. I work in an office, and LWF is what really helps brighten my afternoon. I've read the blogs and heard that while it will be a different show, we'll still get good music. That's all well and good, but it will still be more homogenized than original. Besides, you're taking some key people off the air, and I don't agree with that.
Why weren't people asked about this or why weren't polls taken? You still have time to make up your mind...or is it too late now?
Please, keep our programmers and their shows featuring great folk music.
7/12/2009 05:11 PM
I listen to, and support, KBCS precisely because of the current programming which is in such wonderful contrast with the homogenized faire offered on commercial radio. I listen to other public radio stations, too, but none offer the great music that KBCS does. I listen on the radio when in Seattle, but, most often, on-line at home, as I can’t pick it up in Eatonville. If the described changes take place, I can’t imagine that the replacements would be attractive to me.
7/12/2009 05:17 PM
We are longtime listeners and donors. The planned changes look like the end of the very qualities that have made the station unique. When they take effect, we will stop listening and stop donating.
7/12/2009 05:49 PM
Please let me know what I can do to preserve music programming on KBCS.
7/12/2009 06:23 PM
The paragraph in Steve Ramsay's and Peter Graff's letter about proposed changes to the afternoon shows is very vague and misleading and doesn't come anywhere close to stating what's actually going to happen. What I just heard directly from a programmer is that the Lunch with Folks shows and hosts will be replaced with the slick, professional DJ GatorBoy Sean Donovan five days a week, who will then be paid. (Donovan's Monday show is virtually unlistenable, IMO. I stopped listening on Mondays when he came on board a couple years ago--unlike the incredible shows of John Sincock, Richard Gellman and Ginger Hopper, which can be so good as to move one to tears at times.)
And this is just Phase 1!! Who knows what "positive changes" Ramsay and Graff have in store for our beloved weekend shows? They haven't got the nerve to announce that yet.
This insanity must be stopped.
7/12/2009 07:16 PM
I am a supporter (donator in terms of $$ ) to KBCS. What are you guys trying to do? This is one of the few grassroots stations. Keep it entirely that way. there are people willing to do it so keep the shows you threatened to get rid of (and replace with standard pablum) so that you keep your integrity.
7/12/2009 07:36 PM
I don't like these proposed changes!
7/12/2009 07:45 PM
PLEASE dont' cancel Lunch With Folks and Daily Planet! We do NOT need more news. We get that EVERYWHERE and it's overkill. The uniqueness of KBCS and these programs, as well as others, is that you can't hear this music anywhere else on the radio. And the program hosts are so very knowledgeable....I have discovered a lot of music and musicians through their unique playlists. I am begging you not to make this station a cookie-cutter radio station with bland music, obnoxious news and hosts that have limited knowledge, if any, about the music they are playing. There are a lot of people out there who feel as I well as musicians who appreciate being on these playlists. I cannot emphasize enough that KBCS is unique and valuable and MUST stay that way or away go your listeners...including me!!!!
Please reconsider these very damaging changes you are considering.
7/12/2009 08:10 PM
I'm writing to express my concern over the planned changes. I love the programming as it stands now. It has great variety and personality. I think that it would be a grave mistake to change it.
7/12/2009 09:59 PM
As a 33+ year listener and former financial contributor (when I could afford it), I oppose the hijacking of KBCS Programming for the benefit of Paid Staff positions! The only proposed change I can support is adding Hard Knock Radio on a daily basis.
In recent years, the focus of KBCS has been too reliant on classic "bottom line" economics which is doomed to failure. The way people get their Music and News has undergone profound changes which translates to less broadcast time listening and less reading of traditional print media. Those changes affect ALL TRADITIONAL MEDIA, not just KBCS. While a website with live streaming, playlists, and archived shows are all nice features, they serve a very limited audience. Perhaps it's time to get back to basics and concentrate on the daily broadcasting, not the nice frills.
If I could make changes, I would bring back Free Speech Radio News every weekday in its current time slot of 6-6:30pm, cut the locally produced Public Affairs shows to 30 minutes each, and reduce Paid Staff positions to part-time only.
Keep the Community in Community Radio!
7/12/2009 10:20 PM
The programming changes sound terrible. Keep the volunteer hosts, and the programming they bring with them.
7/12/2009 10:54 PM
I was considering becoming a financial supporter of KBCS, but the main show I listen for (Lunch With Folks)is scheduled to be eliminated, and if the other unique and delightful programs I enjoy are turned into homogonized muzak like so many other stations have become... I have no reason to tune in in the first place..... I will spend my dollars and listening time elsewhere.
7/12/2009 11:03 PM
Why cut folks who are willing to volunteer their time and share their passion, expertise and knowledge of music with their community? It just doesn't make any sense...
KUOW broadcasts news 24/7, folks can go their to get their news...don't undermine the diversity of musical programming on KBCS!!!
If someone can explain the rationale behind the programming changes, I would be grateful...
7/12/2009 11:28 PM
Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you? YES. Keep the people and the volunteers in at KBCS. "Variety is the spice of life." * Are you a member/supporter/volunteer? I remember the sound of music. * How would these changes affect your participation and support? If my friends DJ as volunteers i'll listen. If paid hosts drive, we won't go anywhere.
7/12/2009 11:31 PM
To whom . . .
I've been hearing about changes coming to the station, and while the information has been incomplete, the notion of relying way less on volunteer programmers in favor of paid ones seems to be pretty certain. I know I'm not alone in saying it goes terribly against the grain of what the station has long been about. I think the fresh take each volunteer programmer brings to their particular block of time, is one of the things that kept people tuning in and listening. You can't really suppose that whoever programs 5-days of, say, jazz shows, is going to play (and understand) the range of jazz music that's played each morning by different programmers, can you? Smoother-sounding professional DJs? Actually I've thought that the caliber of volunteer programmers has really increased. In my experience, the station has often invited listeners to think about programming their own shows, take the training, etc. Talk about community outreach.
But now? That's apparently all about to become a memory, and a bitter one.
I put in some time myself as a Program Director at KBCS many years back, so I understand that moves are sometimes necessary to keep a station strong. But what I've heard seem to be plans not to keep the station strong, but to end its days as a community radio station and change it into -- what? I haven't even raised the subject of how increasing the payroll seems a less-than-wise choice for a station always playing catch-up with its operating costs. But I'm sure you have your reasons. I think you're disrupting the mission of the station, wiping out the sense of community on both sides of the board, and retaining nothing at all of the a KBCS spirit that once reached its listeners in ways that no other Seattle-area station even attempted. I hope you'll reconsider and open up to more input before these changes are implemented.
If not, you might as well go and change the call letters too.
7/12/2009 11:42 PM
I’ll tell you what I think about the proposed changes, but wouldn’t it be more effective to tell people to email someone at the station directly? What do you do with the emails people are sending you at this address?
I’m angry at these changes – it sounds like everything I like about KBCS is going to go straight down the toilet. I also don’t understand who makes these decisions, and who puts them in power in the first place? Who has the ultimate authority over the station – someone in the BCC administration?
We don’t need yet more homogenization of radio. The wide variety of people and musical styles, and the freedom given to the DJs is what makes KBCS such a rich listening experience. I don’t know whether I will support the station in the future if they go through with these changes.
7/13/2009 12:37 AM
The proposed KBCS programming changes will reduce my interest and support to zero. This is typical corporate thinking where the format is more important than the individual. I think that this goes beyond he devaluation of the individual programmer/hosts. I think it goes to fear. You fear hat you can't control.
7/13/2009 05:15 AM
Is anyone really there or has Clear Channel over run the station? What are you people thinking? or What!?! Are you people thinking!!!
7/13/2009 07:04 AM
Dear KBCS:
I am opposed to the proposed changes at KBCS and the way they are being implemented.
I strongly suggest soliciting and considering input from the listening public, your contributors, volunteers, and programmers prior to making any radical changes in the structure of the programming and staffing at KBCS.
If I wanted a "top 40s" station, or talk radio, or a news station, I'd listen to one. I choose KBCS because of its unique selection and wide variety of music and the personalities and dedication of its DJs, as well as their wealth of knowledge, variety of interview styles, etc. Please don't throw that away!
The volunteers at KBCS have helped it to grow from a tiny station, broadcasting with less than the power of a lightbulb, to what it is today. They stick with the station and produce quality programming, whether it is broadcasting from a state of the art facility, or a small, makeshift house.
Some change may be a good idea, but throwing out everything that has worked well and grown "our" station to what it is today would be foolish.
Consider your financial base. KBCS's loyal supporters contribute their money, and time, to ensure the continuing of a diverse selection of programming in multiple genres, including much new music that is not well-known or widely available (yet), old-time music from personal vinyl collections, etc. Contributors may well take their support elsewhere, it KBCS becomes too generic.
Also, is it wise, in the worst economy in 70 years, to be adding more paid staff, at this time?
Please keep the "community" spirit at KBCS. I want to see KBCS continue to grow and be successful, but the proposed changes will likely result in many listeners and programmers going elsewhere and taking their support with them, and the station over-extending itself, financially.
Thank you for reading this, and for providing on-going opportunities for input from listeners and volunteers.
7/13/2009 07:34 AM
7/13/2009 08:17 AM
I’d like to know why the changes. I can’t imagine why KBCS would want to do this. To stripe this radio station of its personality would be a great lost.
7/13/2009 08:33 AM
am sorry you felt it necessary to discontinue the Joanie Nelson show. This will make it more difficult for me, and my friends, to make any further contributions to your station.
7/13/2009 08:48 AM
Mr. Ramsey,
I am shocked to hear that KBCS is planning to compromise the unique and precious folk programming that we currently have. It is not clear from the letter on the KBCS website exactly what will happen to Lunch with Folks, but that is one of the shows that has kept me listening to and contributing to KBCS for over 15 years now. I am not much of a jazz fan, but I do like Joanie Nelson's program (20th century jazz) and will be very sad to see it go.
One of the reasons I stopped listening to another local public radio station years ago is that they replaced most of their folk music programs with "public affairs". I really do not want more talk radio... and if that is what KBCS becomes, you will lose my support in a moment.
Furthermore, it is not clear why you are replacing volunteer DJs with "canned" programs that cost money - how is this going to help the station be solvent? I personally know several of the KBCS volunteer DJs, and they are all people whom I like and respect very much. What kind of message are you giving your volunteers and your audience when you choose to let these volunteers go?
I would appreciate your response to my concerns.
7/13/2009 08:52 AM
Let Pete set the whole thing up in Bluegrass from one end to the other, and get rid of the rest of it! Untill you do, I don't care about the rest. More bluegrass!
7/13/2009 09:00 AM
i oppose the changes proposed. i have always liked KBCS the way it is, run by volunteers. please don't go corporate on us!
7/13/2009 09:15 AM
* Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you?
* Are you a member/supporter/volunteer?
* How would these changes affect your participation and support?
It sounds like they would eliminate them. I would really like to hear the management's excuses for all this - what is their true long-term goal here?
7/13/2009 09:32 AM
Please don't phase out your proposed KBCS music programs and the other diverse shows that make your station a top radio station for millions of us. Your jazz offerings are THE BEST IN THE NW! Keep the wonderful programming as is.
7/13/2009 09:43 AM
[Save Lunch with Folks] This is a very important program.
7/13/2009 09:52 AM
As a regular public radio listener, I heard about the changes coming to KBCS and felt the need to add my voice to the dissenters.
It is my opinion that there are far too many mainstream radio stations out there and in order to stand out you must continue to be different by offering something UNIQUE ... not the same old homogenized stuff you can hear on any other station.
" Radical" used to be the good thing about public radio and now too many stations are running scared. I'm too far away to listen in my car or at home and streaming is challenging for me as well, however, as an artist who depends on non-commercial public supported radio stations for airplay, this is disturbing news indeed. Rich Gillman has been a staunch supporter of independent folk music and your station will be hurt by the loss of his voice.
I'm from the Detroit area and our own public radio station has gone through similar programming changes to the detriment of its listenership.
I truly hope you will reconsider your position on this.
7/13/2009 09:59 AM
How may we voice my support for maintaining my favorite programs on KBCS?
We suppose a cheque might amplify my "voice" some (?)
7/13/2009 10:14 AM
To Whom it may concern,
I was shocked and very disappointed to hear the changes that are planned for KBCS. I was a host for KBCS and KSER, The Sunlit Room, for four years and KSER has progressed very well, completely supported by their listeners; now, they have own their own building and continue to have great music for their very satisfied audience.
At KBCS , I hosted Lunch with Folks and Roots and Branches...and many afternoons, my phone would ring endlessly to ask me about the music I was playing...or letting me know how appreciative they were to have such genuinely good, non-commercial....unique music.
Now that I have moved to the Central Coast, I often meet people from Seattle who have moved here and tell me how much they enjoyed KBCS when they lived in Seattle.
We have T.V. for mediocrity and homogenized commercial programs.. What we have at KBCS are programs that are well planned by hosts who love music and have a knack for putting together a variety of tunes. Please don't commercialize and destroy a very precious jewel that KBCS has shared with us over the years.
The jazz programs, Vintage Jazz (1920s-30s), 20th Century Jazz (1940's+ swing), The Bud and Don Show and more are also unique and reflect the passion and dedication of the hosts who put it together. Those hosts know their music as is evident by their choices. We all need to experience music untouched by the commercial blender. Please think it over....I still enjoy the music from KBCS on my computer whenever I can.
7/13/2009 10:19 AM
Can this really be true? If so, I am flabbergasted...and very sad. The many excellent DJs are exactly what makes KBCS the great station that it is, and a major reason why I listen in frequently. Even within a given genre (such as jazz), they each bring their own personality and musical choices/themes. Without them, KBCS will be just another generically bland radio station.
This is a very ill-advised, that is to say stupid, decision on the part of KBCS management. If the goal is to save money, how does hiring paid DJs accomplish this? If these changes go through, it will mean the death of KBCS. I have been a regular contributor for many years, but the station will not receive a penny from me unless this decision is reversed, and I'm sure many others will no longer support KBCS.
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!
7/13/2009 10:20 AM
Hi, As a frequent visitor to Seattle and a musician from the UK, I have spent many hours listening to the very wonderful KBCS and, indeed, appeared on Lunch with Folks last April where I played a few songs and talked about the talent I had discovered in the NW area. Having talent in an area is all very well.....Seattle isn't alone in that ! But an outlet for that talent is a special and rare thing. KBCS, with its diversity and open- minded approach to different musical cultures, provided that outlet. There is no KBCS or its like in the UK....we do, however have plenty of 'generic' middle road americana shows...we are much the poorer for that ! KBCS is a little jewel and should be nurtured and polished not given over to corporate muzak. Thanks for listening.
7/13/2009 10:37 AM
I really, really love KBCS. When I was looking to buy a house, I took a radio with me to make sure that KBCS reception was good in any place I considered. I have tapes from some of my favorite DJs going back to Mary Ann Bundrun. I'm a sporadic but (I hope) generous supporter of the station.
What I most value about KBCS is the diversity of programming and the wealth of knowledge that the enormous number of volunteer programmers bring to the airwaves. What I hear on KBCS I can't hear on any other station, and even more importantly, I never hear the same thing a bunch of times. Everyone has their own take, their own resources (where else can I hear DJ's private collections and the collections of their friends!?) I couldn't begin to make a list for you of the many, many musicians that I've learned about because one DJ on KBCS played their music. It takes a small army of volunteers who are passionate about the music, who, on their own nickel, are attending festivals around the country (and even around the world) and bringing that music back to us.
Please, please don't change this central value of KBCS. The army of volunteer, very long term DBs *IS* what makes KBCS community radio, and the most valuable place on the airwaves that I know of.
If you are worried about listenership, or the amount of money being raised, there must be other ways to support this. Your fund drives suck. For many years, I have made tapes in the weeks leading up to the fund drives to listen to during those long dry days, just to avoid tuning in to the station during the fund drive.
On another note, it infuriates me that you would change the programming of this "community radio station," largely sponsored by the listening community, without engaging us to determine what would best meet our needs. I've heard that you are also making these decisions without consideration for where money is coming from during fund drives vis-a-vis what show is airing at the time. This is outrageous, and a violation of trust: for years you have told us that it does matter when we pledge. I think there is anger in the community not just at the decisions that have been made here, but also with the way the decisions have been made.
Please reverse the decision to change the programming on KBCS, and engage the community to find another way to increase listenership or raise more funds.
7/13/2009 10:37 AM
More news & less music? NO WAY.
- Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you? Absolutely. One can can get news from KUOW and less diverse of a variety of jazz from KPLU. KBCS is unique – why do you want to destroy a good thing?
- Are you a member/supporter/volunteer? Our local was thinking about becoming an underwriter.
- How would these changes affect your participation and support? With reluctance and a heavy heart. Someone(s) at KBCS are making a BIG mistake if these changes go through. No longer will you be able to claim yourself as a “community” radio station because you’ll be no more unique than the other choices we have. Right now, KBCS programming is a gem. To change it is to throw diamonds to the bottom of a lake. You’ll alienate a lot of musicians and music lovers. Please don’t do it.
7/13/2009 10:51 AM

I am a devoted listener and member of KBCS. The changes proposed are unconscionable. Stripping the station of its character will drive away loyal listeners, weaken the community links in the various local music scenes, and contribute to the homogenization of our culture. Who needs THAT?
My god, are they nuts? it's like tearing down old buildings for development, which has happened all too much in Seattle. Then we are left with sterile condos that no one rents. A brilliant simile...
Let me know what I can do.
7/13/2009 11:43 AM
I have been a financial supporter of KBCS for many years, primarily because of the Folk Music programming the station offers. I am strongly opposed to any cut backs in Folk Music programs, as I was disappointed several years by similar cutbacks. Please do not reduce Folk Music play time on KBCS. I do not listen to the station for any other reason.
7/13/2009 12:33 PM
KBCS is an awesome radio station. Its diversity is possible due to the variety of volunteer DJs. If KBCS changes that format by letting a score of volunteers go and replacing them and their shows with a few paid DJs and news, KBCS will become more like the other public stations that I regularly ignore. When you lose uniqueness, you lose listenership and support.
7/13/2009 01:05 PM
It would be a complete crime to let this radio station shut down! There are far too few independent radio stations as it is. Local musicians rely on small radio stations such as this one to get their music out there and listeners rely on them to play local music, get local PSA's and hear a different take on the news. PLEASE do not let this radio station get shut down.
7/13/2009 01:37 PM
I talked to one of the hosts of the Sunday bluegrass show. He said that a ratings agency gave them the info that listenership was down. KBCS seems to have deduced that they need a more unified image to attract listeners. And that the diversity of DJs (and their musical interests) projects a scattered sort of image.
Besides that, donations have gone down. I hestitate to think that it’s because of a reduced number of listeners. I just figure that more listeners have less they can spend even on the causes that matter,
Incidentally, Democracy Now has brought many more listeners to KBCS. Isn’t it ironic that their currently most successful show is so anti-corporate, just when the station is eager to project a more mainstream/corportae image??
7/13/2009 01:39 PM
Hey guys,
I really don't want to see volunteers ousted for a small paid staff. I really don't understand how this could be more cost-efficient or the reasons for the change. It's really wonderful to have a community of people dedicated to putting things on the air and educating the public about music that many people won't know about otherwise instead of being a personality. There's plenty of commercial radio for that. Plus, it give more opportunities to local struggling musicians who could really make an impact and difference in the community with their art, since activist music is LESS likely to get featured commerically, regardless of its sellability.
As on of those struggling, "activist" local artists, as well as an arts organizer, I can say for certain that the level of community support will drop drastically if these changes are made, with or without my influence, though I do plan on rallying support for your community based format.
Thanks for spearheading a save-drive, and please let me know if anyting can be done to help. Without knowing anything about the situation, if you want to make a scene, I'd reccommend a rally/benefit show by artists you've featured prominently in the past, if there's enough time to organize it, in a public park/place near the station with high street visibility. But mostly, I just hope you guys get to stick around.
7/13/2009 02:21 PM
I love KBCS, and think that Drive Time Jazz is invaluable to this community. With such a deep pool of musicians and talent in this area, and such low representation on KPLU, KBCS has been a beacon of light. We don't need more talk radio - we need a constant voice for Jazz.
7/13/2009 02:29 PM
I am saddened to hear of the programming changes your station is making. Some change is actually regressive and destructive for our culture and society. I hope you will consider what kind of change your station can really stand.
7/13/2009 03:07 PM
As a longtime member of KBCS, I read with disgust the proposed upcoming programming changes. KBCS provides jazz and folk programming that is not available anywhere else. On the other hand, public affairs programming is available through numerous other local outlets. I support KBCS for the unique music it plays and the in-depth knowlege and insight of the volunteer hosts who play that music.
In particular, I do not wish to see folk programming become more generic and integrated into other programming. Lunch With Folks as it stands is an excellent program.
I understand that fundraising has been challenging in this current economic climate. Much like the Bush administration, these pains, too, will pass -- although I'm sure we all had our doubts about the Bush administration during the dark days . . . . Please do not abandon community radio in the sole hope of "broadening" your base by making the programming more "generic."
Thank you for your consideration, and thank you to all of the volunteers that have made KBCS what it is -- today.
7/13/2009 03:10 PM
To Whom It May Concern,
Community radio is essential to our culture. It is one of the few alternatives to mass media. Please consider retaining the station's excellent community focus. Thank you.
7/13/2009 03:44 PM
I haven't seen KBCS do any of the following:
Over the last three years, KBCS has undergone a rigorous process to better understand our audience and to formulate a cohesive strategic plan. This has involved hours of interviews, volunteer and community meetings, street corner surveys, as well as extensive consideration of when and how KBCS listeners currently listen to us. This work has led us to the new programming we’ll present next month, programming we believe will offer deeper service to our listeners.
No one has asked me anything about what I want to hear & pay for on radio. I've been disappointed in the changes for the worst (world music), more latin music than a straight latin station.
What can we do???
7/13/2009 03:44 PM
Dear KCBS,
I am sad to hear that the unique system of having numerous volunteer hosts replaced with paid DJ's. The unique and unpredictable mix of music that results from volunteer music experts is what makes KCBS KCBS.
I am sure that you will get lots of long letters about this so I will keep my message short.
I have been a proud contributor to the station for a number of years and I hope that there will continue to be a mix of music that I feel good about supporting.
7/13/2009 04:37 PM
I have been a member of KBCS on and off since approx. 1978. I am currently a member. I cannot believe you would dis Bud, Bernie, Joanie and Al in this manner.
Steve, I've always had the feeling that you would eventually pull something like this.
If I ever pledge again it will be to help keep Patty Fong's show on the air. If she goes, so does my contribution.
7/13/2009 05:03 PM
I am shocked and saddened to hear of the possible changes to the KBCS format. I am a member of KBCS and have been a member for several years. It is a unique station in providing music that is not represented anywhere else on the radio. I love the volunteer format that allows individual hosts to play musical choices that would otherwise never get heard or played on the radio. This is why I listen to KBCS. I can get plenty of news from other stations which this change would probably only duplicate, but I can't get the music I want to hear anywhere else. I will not and do not need to hear more news on KBCS. This station is a great asset to the Seattle community--it provides a sense of community through connection with the volunteer hosts and the music. I listen to Lunch with Folks and Daily Planet almost everyday, and Drive Time Jazz occasionally. I especially love Daily Planet--I do not want to listen to more news at this time of day. Please do not change your format or reduce the number and type of music shows played. Thank you.
7/13/2009 05:10 PM
I am appalled at the proposed upcoming programming changes that would eliminate the volunteer shows and replace them with paid DJ's with generic music. I am a supporter of KBCS, and I have supported the station because of the local diversity of music. The morning jazz shows are certainly favorites of mine. If you eliminate these interesting focused programs for more generic ones, I will not be inclined to listen. Other stations have generic music.
I can't understand why you would eliminate eager, passionate volunteers and replace them with paid DJ's at a time like this when money is so tight. Where are your sensibilities?
7/13/2009 05:11 PM
Bright visions of the future KBCS 91.3. As one of the few diverse and local radio stations with an exceptional appreciation of musicianship and its significant role in our communities local and worldwide. The proposed changes sound depressing to say the least. DOn't mess with what was working well for the listeners and should be enhanced not removed!! Justice and Peace.
7/13/2009 05:44 PM
To whom it may concern and Christine – I’m an acoustic radio promoter who has been sending you CD’s for years. KBCS is one of the best stations out there, due to your community approach and the dedication and knowledge of your DJ’s. Ironically, not only is Richard Gillman is a credit to your station, but he is the one who compiles and makes the national Folk DJ charts possible, Richard voluntarily assembles them tirelessly each month and has many fans because of it and who follow his show. Your other DJ’s have been dedicated, well-prepared and informed and have made a impact on the national acoustic music radio scene.
I realize that with financial crisis’ as they are, everyone is looking at the bottom line. But sometimes when you have a resource as rich as you have at your station, that brings national attention to it and supports the integrity of a station like yours, I truly believe you are making a huge mistake in bringing in a more “homogenized” approach. It’s the individuals that play a varied palette of music that is the hallmark of independent radio.
I hope you will reconsider – you have a very dedicated staff that deserves to continue programming to their dedicated audiences.
7/13/2009 06:28 PM
These changes don't seem consistent with the community-rooted mission or history of KBCS. The contributions of volunteer programmers is a major component of the station's on-air identity, and I can only speculate about the reasons these changes are being proposed. Is it an attempt to popularize the station? A belief that professional DJs will give KBCS more gravity? A search for new revenue? The station management need to tell their listenership exactly what they propose and why.
7/13/2009 06:41 PM
This is a joke, correct?
Replace all those hosts with 2-4 paid DJs? It might be nice if things were jiggled around a bit, but replace the CARAVAN and the Bud and Don show? I understand why the commute hour might get replaced by news - everything must happen at the same time around here. Not necessarily. How many stations are available on the regular radio with JUST MUSIC at that sour and stress filled commute hour? (KEXP and that other 89.5).
KBCS is also a real college radio station, now, like KEXP. Does everything have to get turned over just because BCC is now Bellevue College?
KBCS taught me to appreciate all kinds of music due to all the different DJs (people!). It showed me what MUSIC really is. I grew up with KBCS since moving to Seattle as a 4 year old. I listened to a world outside my reach via KBCS - through elementary, junior high and high school - and then as a place of respite in my adult years.
Please keep KBCS and all the people who invest their care, attention, value and hope in hosting music of such richness and diversity. Please keep KBCS the place that created such a rich, artistic, creative and intelligent culture in Washington : One Significant Reason Why People Love WA So Much - it still values important cultural venues. Please do not white wash the music diversity of KBCS by removing the diversity of DJs and shows. Provide the balance we still need in our culture, please!
I've been a member off and on for 40 years when I can afford it. Didn't Paul Allen help KEXP? Aren't there other wealthy people out there who care enough to keep KBCS around with it's world of music and ideas?
7/13/2009 07:12 PM
This is the only station I listen to. I hate all the other tripe over the airwaves in Seattle.
Please, Please, Pleeease don't homogenize & ruin the one station I've come to rely on for surprising music & enlightening hosts. I love that the hosts don't all sound like 'hip' young white Americans - I love the accents of the diverse volunteer staff who are a variety of ages. I love the unpolished sound of volunteers doing local news pertinent to the local community. A few months ago I listened to an interview with teens about violence that I can't tell you I was so relieved to hear. I love that kbcs dedicates time to all of these voices.
Most of the other radio stations' hosts in Seattle sound dead and devoid of heart. Words empty & excitement long gone. Not so with the hosts of kbcs. When your hosts say to call in with requests or ask questions or anything, they really mean it! I've called in about 3 times and EVERY SINGLE TIME the hosts went above and beyond to answer questions. One night I was listening to a hip hop show & called the DJ to find out about shows to go to that night & he gave me great information as well as websites I could check out. The few times I called KEXP, the people that pick up the phone sound irritated that they got a call! I hate them so much. They pat their own backs too much meanwhile they're belly-button gazing hipsters who really have a very narrow audience base - and by that I mean, they have a particular set of people they cater to. Check out their events and you can plainly see. No variety. And certainly no variety in ages. I LIKE when I go to a music event & I see people my age (30s) & older rocking out to awesome music. It bores me to no end to go to a kexp sponsored show & see only young people posturing & being so insecure & contrived. Anyway, they're crass and I needn't ramble on about them. I'm being too harsh, possibly, and I know they have good music sometimes, but good lord, they're boring!!! My single favorite thing about kbcs beyond the music is that it is run by volunteers. When I moved back to Seattle, it was the only radio station that I talked about to my friends & family (out of state, even! and told them to listen online.) I told an on air host once that it is my favorite radio station. I won tix from kbcs to a show earlier this year that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise - thereby discovering a new artist whose music I now love! I called and talked to the Brazilian show host when I was looking for On Saturdays, I leave it on kbcs all day because I love every single show and I just dance and paint and write and hang with friends and cook - all with the music & dj's. I love reconnecting with family & friends, all with your music lilting in the air in the background - the music & hosts become part of my favorite memories.
I don't know what else to say. I love kbcs.
Seattle is depressing enough. Why is this change happening anyway?
7/13/2009 07:42 PM
Demographically and personally, I am a 56 year old African American man. I love Jazz and African music. I am a subscriber, sustainer whatever you call the monthly donors for a few years now. I started listening to your show because it came right after my favorite show on KBCS, the Caravan. Gilbreath is phenomenal!!! He's the best, but you and your show are complimentary. You have added d to my music knowledge and enjoyment. I have grown to like your show, it has turned me on to music I would have otherwise not known. And that is the thing I like about KBCS, it not only entertains, it educates and enlightens. There are other personalities who I have grown fond of their contributions and It is hard to imagine this radio station without them on the air, they are, people & show like: ( the eternally optimistic ) Barbi Daniel DeCarlo, Megan Sullivan & the entire crew on drive time jazz, Patty Fong Musica de La Raza with Patty Fong, the Music of Africa and the Reggae Party. I can not imagine this station without these influences. I have do not demographic studies but I would bet a dime to a doughnut that people who listen to lunch with folks are among the largest contributors to the station, Am I wrong.? A member of the KBCS community without a vote. A loyal listener
7/13/2009 08:02 PM
I am a KBCS listener – I listen for the jazz programs, both Monday evenings (the Lounge Room) drive-time jazz, and the programs that follow drive-time.
I don’t like the changes noted in the email I received. Where can I send an email to voice my opinion?
7/13/2009 08:28 PM
To Whom It May Concern,
I am happy with the way BCS functions as is. The programmers provide a real feeling of community,which is what community radio is supposed to have.
7/13/2009 08:36 PM
It would be hard to imagine kcbs having little or no music programming. Speaking personally, the music is the reason I listen to the station. Many of the musicians featured on the shows would have no ability to reach the public without this kind of programming. If this programming is taken away, Seattle will be a smaller and darker place. Please, keep the music alive.
7/13/2009 08:37 PM
I love the programming that KBCS currently has - especially the African, reggae and World music shows. Please keep these intact!
Thank you!
7/13/2009 08:51 PM
I have been listening to KBCS since 1982, when I discovered Susan Madden's folk program. I fell in love with the programming. I've been a subscriber ever since. I am adamantly opposed to ALL THE CHANGES the management is contemplating making to the format.
KBCS is a wonderful, community-based radio station, with great DJs who really know their music. I listen to the Tuesday night Folk Sounds, Road Songs, Lunch With Folks, Our Saturday Tradition, Sunday Folks, the Bluegrass Ramble, Sunday's Hornpipe. I enjoy listening to the DJs interview local and visiting musicians. I have learned so much about folk music from KBCS. I love being able to call up DJs who seem like friends to ask "who was that great fiddler? Where can I get her album?" And they always know the answer. You can't get that level of connection between listeners and programmers with paid stooges playing middle-of-the-road "Americana."
KUOW lost me as a subscriber years ago when it banned music and went to all-talk, all-the-time programming. If KBCS makes the changes it has announced, I will stop subscribing after donating money to the station for 27years.
KBCS has a contract with the community. It is licensed as a community - not for profit - not "lite" jazz and easy listening as background noise. This terrible plan hatched by the bean-counters would destroy the community nature of OUR station. Leave it like it was. Better yet, return the programming to its former model - four-hour programs, more blues and less Hawaiian music. Bring back Mountain Stage and the Shamrock & Thistle.
7/13/2009 09:31 PM
Please consider NOT hiring a DJ to play canned stuff and eliminating our favorite jazz and KBCS shows. We love KBCS' uniqeness and interesting programming, including the fabulous volunteers who staff them. We want to make sure you include AMy Goodwin too. We don't need more of the same political progamming as other stations, we need the best and the most unique. Be brave. Thanks!!!!
7/13/2009 09:42 PM
I don't' know the whole story.... I have read about the changes to the KBCS lineup (Cut and pasted below)....I must say, I would listen less...switch...try to find what I enjoy most about this station which is the diversity and depth of programming I have learned that voicing opinions does make a difference...I hope you hear the many voices of concern over the proposed changes...and review the possibilities...not knowing the why behind the scene only allows an outside view... I am a person that volunteers in community organizations and has managed businesses...I know the value of bringing people together....I am concerned with information that indicates switching 20 volunteers to 2 paid DJ' goes way beyond the music....the volunteers are WAY more valuable...(why not pay 2 of the volunteers to organize the rest if 20 volunteers...etc...). 'We' are trying to get back to the small, local, diverse, opportunity given culture and move away from the more homogeneous, single source 'box store'......your station has been a beautiful haven to rest my ears.....I hope it is not another loss.....
7/13/2009 09:45 PM
Dear SaveKCBS,
If anyone wants to get an idea of what can happen to KBCS, just point your dial to KUOW which is now predominantly boring talk-radio. It suggests that those making the decisions are oblivious.
7/13/2009 10:01 PM
I have been a supporter of KBCS for twenty years. If these changes are implemented, I will not donate one more dime.
7/13/2009 10:12 PM
Dear KBCS, The proposed changes in programing for KBCS would make it less valuble to me, and my family would probably stop contributing. I listen to your jazz show on Thursday mornings, and I tune in for live interviews and music with musicians I'm interested in. I like the local feel of the station. I like the fact that volunteers are putting on shows. Please try not to change that!
7/13/2009 10:12 PM
Ugh! is my reaction to the planned changes.
The lifeblood of KBCS is the richness that the volunteer "DJ's" bring to the broadcasts.
If the changes go through as planned, my CD player will get a lot more use and, of course, my contributions to KBCS will stop.
Please rethink the reprogramming!!!
7/13/2009 10:58 PM
Dear Save KBCS,
Is KBCS really thinking about replacing our long-time hosts with 2-4 paid DJs? It might be nice if things were jiggled around a bit (not eliminated). But replace the CARAVAN and the Bud and Don show? The Caravan is like reading Mary Oliver and Rumi for me. John is an encyclopedia with soul. I understand why the commute hour might get replaced by news - everything must happen at the same time around here, right? Not necessarily. Turn the news on from 9-10am then - and again from 8-10pm. How many stations are available on the dial with simply music during those sour and stress-filled-commute hours of 7-9AM? (KEXP and that other, 89.5). Blend the music at that hour - jiggle hosts around a bit.
KBCS is still a real college radio station, like KEXP. Does everything have to get turned over just because BCC is now Bellevue College?
KBCS taught me to appreciate all kinds of music due to all the different hosts (people). It showed me what music really is, and that it's OK to like folk music, to get lost in ballads, and wonder about a new sound with roots in India or Japan. Without KBCS, I doubt I would have ever gone to an Esoterics concert, an Earshot Jazz Festival event, or attended bluegrass jams in Fremont at Dusty Strings. Bumbershoot and Folk Life grew out of our community radio stations - KBCS and KCMU. I grew up with KBCS since moving to Seattle as a 4 year old. I listened to a world outside my reach via KBCS from elementary through high school - and then as a place of respite in my adult years. Show people that there is another way, by maintaining the unique qualities of what make KBCS a rich world of music and ideas.
Please keep KBCS and all the people who invest their care, attention, value, and hope in hosting music of such richness and diversity. Please keep KBCS the place that created such an artistic, vibrant, diverse (world renowned) and intelligent culture in Washington - which is one significant reason why people love WA so much. Do you value important cultural & ecological pursuits, and help protect them? Land trusts come to mind here, and hiking trail maintenance, public art, and clam digging. Hold on to the numerous and unique DJs and shows. Please do not white-wash the music diversity of KBCS by diminishing the people and their passions. Provide the balance we still need in our culture.
I've been a member on and off for 40 years when I can afford it. Didn't Paul Allen help KEXP? Aren't there other generous people out there who care enough to keep KBCS around with it's world of music and ideas? Is managing a variety of people and schedules such a difficult thing to do? Or is it the fundraising or director of development? What happened?
Keep KBCS a community radio station.

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