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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 13, 2009 - August 2, 2009.

7/13/2009 11:13 PM
The secretly planned and now announced changes to KBCS’s programming puzzle and disappoint me greatly. As a long-time listener, I have wholly enjoyed the diversity of music programming that for the past two decades KBCS has sent upon the air waves. As the proverb says “two heads are better than one.” Having a diverse cadre of volunteer hosts programming a wide variety of music is far better than having a very limited number of paid DJs constantly spinning their own views of music. Stop the Changes—rethink KBCS’s role in the community and on the radio dial spectrum!
I don’t think the manner in which these programming changes have been developed has reflected the open, public process that a publicly-owned station should operate. The station only informed its community about the planned changes on the KBCS web site after a group of volunteers spilled the beans on an independent web site. This is bad management of a public resource. This recent explanatory letter penned by the Steve Ramsey, Peter Graff, and others explains that a new strategic plan and fact finding exercise have led them to make these programming changes. Yet the new strategic plan is not on the web site and the results from these listener or community surveys are not presented.
Expose these changes to the public so they can see these numbers for themselves.
Identify the nature and scope of changes being planned for the evening and weekend programs.
Serve the public as a public entity should: Set policies though an open public process.
Embrace a clear and transparent public outreach process in the development of the strategic and business plans.
Stop the first phase of these proposed changes and identify how they fit the current mission of the station, the new strategic plan, the survey demographics, and most importantly what methods and processes were derived.
The current mission states “Our purpose is to entertain, educate and involve a diverse community of listeners with a variety of music, cultural and public affairs programs.” The order of activities naturally states music first. KBCS has been accomplishing all three but has been best serving the diverse music community of the region and the world through its streaming process. Don’t change the diverse, volunteer-based system of music programming. It’s what’s best about the station and serves the eclectic music and cultural scene of the Seattle area. Declining listenerships are being faced commercial and public stations alike. KBCS is a community—not a commercial—radio station. The proposed changes seems like some bizarre attempt to compete with KUOW and KPLU. Don’t even try this with purchasing syndicated radio programs. Taking on more debt by paying for programs and DJs will only increase the fundraising burden and get the station farther in deficit. Stick with the music programming and increase the web-based, pod-cast, and other technology based ways to increase listenership. Be more creative at fundraising besides just pledge-drives. Ask—the listeners will support you.
7/13/2009 11:33 PM
i hope that this is just a rumor - kbcs is a gem. i lived in upstate new york for many years and felt starved by a lack of interesting radio programming. when i moved to seattle, i felt so privileged and gifted to have fabulous radio and became a member of the station. each show is precious. what can we as community members do to keep brilliant programming on the air? lackluster programming will kill everything the station stands for plus be another boring notch in the corporate boring world that stifles creativity. please contact me for more information.
7/14/2009 12:20 AM
To Whom It May Concern,
For the past several years, it has been my pleasure to be a listener and supporter of KBCS. I have volunteered for fund drives, recommended the station to friends and colleagues and provided financial support. The Public Radio Tuner on my phone allows me to listen to any NPR station in the country. I choose to listen to KBCS.
I am dismayed to learn of the changes being proposed to KBCS programming, and I am writing to state that these changes, if enacted, would effectively end my relationship with the station.
Many of the programs that are being considered for elimination are the very shows that drew me to the station in the first place. This, in and of itself, is not the basis of my protest, as I do not have the expectation that programming should cater to my personal tastes. What does disturb me is that the proposed cuts undermine the essence of what makes KBCS great. The beauty of the station is that is exposes us, the listeners, to a depth of knowledge and expertise in music and politics that would otherwise be beyond our reach.
I will never be the person who spent decades foraging through record bins and obscure publications to become a connoisseur of early 20th century jazz. Fortunately, a KBSC host has done the work for me, and I able to benefit from the fruits of her labour.
I am sure that the managers of KBCS did not take these decisions lightly. In employing pragmatic strategies, I am certain that they are attempting to salvage as much programming as they can in this daunting fiscal climate.
The problem with pragmatism is inherent in its definition (courtesy of merriam-webster): "Pragmatic: relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters: practical as opposed to idealistic." How sad it would be to save the station at the expense of what makes it special.
The passion and commitment of volunteer hosts form the foundation of KBCS, and has made me a devoted listener. If KBCS management, however reluctantly, eliminates shows such as Drive Time Jazz, Lunch With Folks, Twentieth Century Jazz and Daily Planet, I will, with equal reluctance, exit as well.
I urge the management of KBCS to reconsider their decision.
7/14/2009 12:54 AM
I am very concerned about the changes that are being proposed at the radio station. I support the station financially each year. The greatest attraction for me to your station is the diversity of the music programs and the passion and knowledge of the music your volunteer DJs bring to the different shows. I try to listen to the Lunch with Folks show every chance I get. I also have a passion for jazz and am really concerned that the "classic jazz" shows seem to be first on the hit list. One of the reasons I started listening to KBCS in the first place was because of the classic jazz shows in the morning and the depth of knowledge the hosts of these shows brought to the microphone. I do not know of any other station in the greater Seattle area with the diversity of music shows that KBCS has had up to this point and changing the format of the station would certainly change my views on future financial support. I had entertained the thought of taking the broadcast course when I retire from my day job and volunteering myself as I had done some college station broadcast work in the late sixties and still do some live sound mixing today. This decision certainly would dash that thought as it would be a waste of time with no way to use the skills after the course. It seems to me I saw a report not that long ago that KBCS was fairly high on the local rating charts for listeners the in the Puget Sound area, I would think this decision, particularly on the jazz shows, would drop the stations ratings quite a bit. I can only hope that the station management would reconsider their decision.
7/14/2009 02:16 AM
As a programmer at KBCS and a member of the KBCS community I feel that the fiscal crisis of KBCS-FM as well as the decline in listenership were issues to be resolved/addressed by a "community " process. Working in several other communites in the non profit world I understand the extra work this requires but it is a necessary endeavor if we truly regard ourselves as a community entity that is "inclusive" of all the various parts that make us a family.
7/14/2009 06:46 AM
To whom it concerns ~ I’m emailing because I’m concerned about the proposed changes to KBCS that would involve elimination of programs and greatly impact the diversity of shows, music, commentary and volunteer involvement in the radio station. I listen to KBCS regularly and my husband and I have been KBCS members during our 10 years in Seattle. We strongly encourage reconsideration of the proposed changes. It would be a shame to loose the expertise and involvement of the volunteers who have put their heart and soul into these programs ~ doing so would change the valuable and unique community character of KBCS ~ and would potentially reduce the listening audience and committment of members like us.
7/14/2009 07:45 AM
please do not change kbcs.
this station has been a window for us independent musicians to reach the outer world. if you close the window, even your air will get stagnant
7/14/2009 07:54 AM
Dear friend,
I listen to KBCS daily and at all times. I love the diversity of music so am on the station a lot listening to world music. I love the Hawaii show, the Celtic, 20th Century Jazz, Wedn mornings with that great host" now boys and girls" and many other offering. I love the country music classics on Sunday morning and I enjoy the short snippets on news about unions, National Native news and what is happening in current affairs even though it is very progressive. It is enough food for thought.
I do not look forward to the changes to the Aug and upcoming format. Too much news and too much like KUOW. I listen to KBCS for two reasons: the wealth of music and lots of hours of the playing of music and the second reason is I enjoy the hosts of the shows. They are very talented and their expertise comes through on the shows as they tell personal stories about the musicians and how their music came about. It is so homespun and the hosts are so fun.
I do not wish to have paid hosts and the same old , same old that are on other NPR stations like the one hosted at UW. Your Bellevue station has evolved in something very valuable to me and I support with my dollars. It will become less valuable to me in the future and I wish miss my "Joannie" and the other hosts who I have a connection with. The hosts are so great and love what they are doing for free. They have such a wealth of knowledge and can make the music come alive with their antedotes.
Please DO NOT change the format.
7/14/2009 08:33 AM
As an avid listener of KBCS I was shocked to learn that there will be some big changes to the daily program schedule. Over the last few years I have found so much wonderful music to listen to on KBCS Lunch with Folks show. I am a budding guitar player and the music that they play is very inspirational to me. I am constantly jotting down songs that I hear while drivng in the car or going online later to look up the online playlist. I have purchased numerous CD's of artists I have heard on KBCS. Out of frustration with the vast majority of local FM stations I now only listen to KBCS, KUOW and KPLU stations. I can't begin to tell you how sad I would be if the Lunch With Folks program is eliminated.
I do not know if these changes are as a result of funding difficulties or if other considerations are the reason. But I would strongly urge anyone considering these changes to keep the current lineup of shows. They serve a very large segment of the local population who values roots and americana type music. The local volunteer DJ's have such a wealth of knowledge about various musicians it would be a tragedy to lose that.
Please rethink the plan to eliminate these wonderful shows from the KBCS station.
7/14/2009 09:12 AM
" Music unites, religion divides" (quote from an Australian musician, David Birdie). And the same can be said about politics. I don't want to hear any more about things I can't do anything about. I love Daily Planet. As soon as Democracy Now comes on in the afternoon, I switch to KING.FM. I have been introduced to such incredible music by the individual programmers - I don't want to lose that diversity. Please keep the music and the individual programmers!!!
Also - I was a volunteer during the summer pledge drive, and was very moved by the number of people who called and pledged $10, $15, $20 - even though they'd had their work hours cut or had their family reduced to one income. They contributed from loyalty to the music they could hear, and from loyalty to a volunteer-run station. I feel as if these decisions are betraying those people.
This is absolutely the wrong direction to go to, I think. How on earth did KBCS get permission to hire a music programmer? There's a hiring freeze at the college, and we can't even get the new library staff we need there.
7/14/2009 09:26 AM
I am not pleased to learn of upcoming programming changes at KBCS. As a contributor to KBCS since 2003, I hope my voice and that of other contributors will be listened to. My wife and I both enjoy KBCS programming especially Lunch with Folks, Gospel Highway, Hawaii Radio Connection, and Walkin the Floor. If the changes are made and are not to our liking, I suspect we will withdraw our financial support for KBCS.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to the listeners.
7/14/2009 09:30 AM
To whom it may concern,
I've been a long-time listener and subscriber to KBCS FM and am a huge fan. And I am shocked that these drastic changes are coming so quickly with so little advance notice to comment and question the wisdom of these changes.
My question is why are these changes being implemented, particularly when the volunteers that host the shows are knowledgeable and in tune with not only their respective musical genres, but the local scene as well. I am fond of many of the shows slate to be cut....the Caravan, the Bud and Don show, Bebop spoken Here in the mornings. And then there's Lunch with Folks. I just don't understand why you are considering replacing these passionate volunteers with a more homogenized set of programs and programmers. I appreciate diversity and am so pleased to hear the interviews, etc. And I am glad to have volunteers who actually have opinions and string together themes of musical ideas. The diversity of volunteers makes it work.
To summarize, I don't see how you can "improve" the station by eliminating so much of what makes KBCS unique. I am horrified to think that KBCS is moving toward the big box store model, one size fits all with its homogenizing effects. Keep KBCS unique!!!!!
7/14/2009 11:23 AM
To the 'powers that be',
Don't change the station! I listen to KBCS for all the programming you are about to eliminate! My membership will cease immediately if you ruin the programming.
7/14/2009 11:54 AM
If these changes come to fruition, I will definitely stop listening to, and contributing to, KBCS.
7/14/2009 12:00 PM
Hello----I am a supporter of KBCS-----PLEASE DO NOT change the morning 9—12 music programs!! If I want paid boring jazz I will go to KPLU---if I want new, I go to KUOW---WHY WHY change a wonderful valuable precious thing?
7/14/2009 12:38 PM
Hi -
I am a longtime listener of KBCS, in particular the morning programs. I am saddened to learn about the proposed changes. As I type I am listening to Beebop Spoken Here. All the morning programs bring me much joy and satisfaction. I am also a longtime member, and recently contributed during KBCS' winter first fund drive even though I am a new small business owner during these bleak economic times and my disposible income was (and still is) next to nil. Should the program changes go through I will have to reevaluate my willingness to pledge more of my limited money to KBCS. I hope that things don't change. KBCS, and its volunteer DJs, rank supreme in my view of solid and worthwhile radio programming. I sincerely wish KBCS good luck and future success.
7/14/2009 01:11 PM
Dear KBCS Program Directors:
It is my wish that yu would leave KBCS programming with its rich historical, vintage music and diverse culturl music progarm as it si now. You are the only station that offers this delightful melange of original and rare music. Please preserve it for the sake of originality, creativity and diversity ina world that is becoming much too gentrified and mediocre.
7/14/2009 01:37 PM
These changes are just another nail in radio's coffin, and will make KBCS more and more like every other soundbyte spouting, mainstream music promoting, white bread radio station heading for extinction. I have made a point of listening to KBCS from my home in Ottawa, Canada, for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, Seattle/Bellevue has one of the most vibrant folk and acoustic music scenes in North America, and I can tune in knowing that great local musicians will be well represented along with the best from around the planet. As a musician myself, I know some of your programmers past and present, I know that they play recordings from their personal collections; that their knowledge, while often quite eclectic is also specialized and deep; that in many cases they know the artist well, that because of all this, they will have something interesting to say about the artist and/or the music--something more than the mind numbing label/album/track info that passes for commentary on mainstream commercial and "all-music-no-talk" internet streams. These are folks who are supportive of the local performance scene and will go out of their way to promote a concert they think is worth seeing. I don't believe any of this will survive with a paid professional broadcaster behind the mic. There needs to be more personal experience and knowledge invested in music radio.
I also have a personal memory of the value of community radio in your town. The very first time my band "Finest Kind" did a concert in Seattle, I was very much afraid that nobody would turn up, as we were, as far as I knew, an unknown band in your town. When we arrived at the venue, I was amazed to see a long line at the door. The place was packed, and we had a great night and made many friends. I now know that KBCS and its volunteer broadcasters were almost entirely responsible for the success of this evening.
If KBCS bills itself as community radio, it must remember these things. If it isn't prepared to live up to the label, it might as well just shrivel up and die, because it will have lost its /raison d'etre/.
7/14/2009 01:46 PM
Please keep "Lunch With Folks" as it is . I have been a member of kbcs for many years in the past, though I am not at present because of finances. I promise to join again next fall if you keep programing as is. We love it! It is the only place people can hear the varied music, and the expertixe of the wonderful volunteer djs. The proposed changes will result in another generic radio station, and the end of an era of wonderful music and personalized programming in Seattle. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!
7/14/2009 01:51 PM
I love your radio station. I am a local Music Teacher and recommend the LUNCH WITH FOLKS program all the time. I also like the maritime music concert updates. I also don't know what many of us will do without morning jazz. Please reconsider your programming changes so I don't have to find another radio station and preserve music diversity!
7/14/2009 02:11 PM
To whom it may concern:
I heard KBCS wants to “give out” volunteers and hire paid people. These Music Program volunteers are capable; they understand and support our community. To me, it is a nonsense action for a community radio that pledges support from this community, neglect community work within their premises. I am deeply disappointed of these changes.
7/14/2009 02:16 PM
I listen to KBCS because it is the only station in the Puget Sound region that has local music programming playing local artists and acoustic / folk music.
Where else are we going to hear Pete Seger, Woody Guthrie, Joan Biaz, Bob Dylan's early works, and all of the young and very talented musicians that are playing music in that style?
We already have several public radio stations that have mostly become National Political Radio (NPR) we don't need another.
Please ask your listeners for their input on any programming changes that might be planned, as what your are broadcasting NOW fills a much needed void in the programming found on our far too homogenized airwaves.
7/14/2009 07:24 PM
Dear Folks at KBCS! I have listened faithfully and joyfully and been a member for over 20 years. The daily music accompanies me through my day and I love it – the DJs are like friends and family even tho I only know a few of them personally. I will very much miss Daily Planet! I haven’t heard about changes on the weekends but I love all the music then too. With less music I will listen less and probably send less money to the station. Unfortunately there’s no where else to turn since KSER doesn’t come in down in Seattle and they quit music at 3pm too. Please don’t kill our delightful music choices!!!
7/14/2009 08:10 PM
Hey Folks--
We don't need another KPLU or KUOW. You'll lose me if you do that. I want to hear real varied jazz programming by people who know jazz but have their own ideas of what is good. Don't homogenize, plasticize or infantilize your product. I work in broadcasting (news and public affairs) and I tell everybody you have the best jazz programming in town. Don't make a liar out of me. Come on. Keep it real!
7/14/2009 08:40 PM
I am (or was) a long time supporter of KBCS. I have probably contributed over $1000 spread over many years. Until now, I considered the money to be well spent.
Looking at the details of the changes, I am convinced that they are being made under pressure from some outsider, likely a grant source like Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The outsider either doesn't understand community radio, or seeks to destroy it.
The changes to the morning jazz programs (Vintage Jazz and its group) and Lunch With Folks are definitely harmful and not market driven. In both cases, outstanding volunteer programs are being replaced by an inferior version of the same genre. To someone who truly appreciates them, the changes remove the variety that makes them so great now. To someone tuning by and looking for background, they probably won't notice the difference. To a marketer, the new is less marketable than the old. To volunteers, the only outcome I can imagine is to cause unrest. Obviously, some of the best volunteer programs are gone. Perhaps not so obviously until it is too late, it creates a political nightmare by having some programmers paid and some not, with no good reason. Looking at new media and the changes touted in the official announcement, the new is less marketable. The change loses what makes KBCS better, and replaces it with something that is plentiful on the web.
Abandoning Daily Planet for more public affairs is another move in the wrong direction. Daily Planet is (was) part of what made KBCS special. The volunteer hosts gave it good variety. The new public affairs programs added are syndicated programs. Democracy Now is moved from drive time to a lesser time in mid afternoon. Free speech radio news is reduced to headlines. The syndicated programs make the station more generic, more like all of the others. I am assuming that they cost money, but I don't know this for sure.
The letter claims that those new syndicated programs would be "hosted by local community members". It doesn't really matter who makes the little announcements between the syndicated programs.
The letter claims that the number of listeners and revenue is declining. The financial report does not confirm this. On the contrary, the financial report looks very strong. KBCS should be able to run well on a much smaller budget. I know of other stations that are running fine on a quarter of the budget, including one at 100 kilowatts. KBCS programming is excellent, so I do not begrudge some luxury for a job well done. If KBCS is having financial trouble, it is not due to a lack of revenue. It looks to me to be so strong that if grant money were to be lost completely, it should not be a crisis.
On the other hand, I do see some evidence of spending excess, most notably the conversion to HD. I am assuming that most of this money probably came from a grant, likely from CPB. There is much controversy about the wisdom of investing in HD. It is a very expensive system that does not work well. I don't see how it can increase pledge revenue unless the additional channels are used. HD radios are not selling well, so it is likely that the extra HD channels may not be worth doing at all. Also, HD brings increased operating costs, including software license fees. Such a commitment is not wise when money is tight. Perhaps this is related to the program changes.
There are also some programs that are expensive and not really necessary. For example, I believe BBC is expensive, but you could use Pacifica or FSRN instead, which would save the station money and provide a service more unique. FSRN is an excellent news program, and it is truly a community program. It should be aired every day.
Assuming that each paid host works half-time, this change adds one full-time-equivalent to the payroll. KBCS has announced an opening for a "new f/t position", which would further increase the payroll. Combined, this adds two salaries to the payroll. At a time when revenue is claimed to be down, this seems unwise to me.
All of this leads me to believe there is some outside motivation for the changes, and that KBCS leaders with good intentions are collapsing under pressure. My guess is that grant agencies, likely Corporation for Public Broadcasting, are pressuring for the change. I believe that CPB requires that some of the grant money must be spent on syndicated programming. There is probably also a requirement for a certain number of paid staff. They have done this to other stations, and are doing it to more other stations now. I know of two other stations that definitely being threatened now. In every case I know of, the station's uniqueness declined. Some have gone all the way to becoming very ordinary NPR stations. Over time, they make little changes. The changes don't help, so they change some more. Eventually it is all gone.
7/14/2009 09:44 PM
Lunch with Folks is my favorite program and I don't want to see it go. KBCS needs to take the money they plan to spend hiring people and buy a bigger antenna so they can reach more people. The programming is great but they don't reach enough people.
7/14/2009 11:00 PM
I am a listener of KBCS. I love Lunch with Folks and the varied jazz I get to listen to while driving in my car. The local DJ's make me smile!
Please don't replace wonderful music and inspired hosts with generic paid staff.
Thank you for your consideration.
7/14/2009 11:21 PM
Wow. I was about to apply for this new Music Director position and luckily my intrigue led me to find out what is happening to this station that I have listened to and contributed to for years. I cannot imagine Al Barnes' Vintage Jazz gone forever. It seems to me this had to be the most popular show on the station and garnered the most donations! I stopped listening and donating to KEXP years ago when I heard that my donations where going to paid DJs who were out of touch with what the community wanted and were more like local celebrities, not regular people! Their programming becomes more boring by the day. I was actually never a fan of Lunch With Folks, but that's just my humble opinion. I figured that since it was on every weekday it must've been hugely popular. I can't see how it could be replaced! And every other wonderful show. I do like the Caravan, but why can't that DJ keep his once a week slot and let others have their time on the airwaves? There is so much knowledge in these DJs who are doing this because they love what they do, not because it is a paycheck. If this does happen to KBCS, I will never give them another donation, and I will hope to find some online radio where all these displaced volunteer DJs can play their music, and I will gladly support that financially.
I actually take off work on Thursday mornings just to listen to Vintage Jazz!
7/14/2009 11:38 PM
I just found out about the proposed changes @ KBCS. I cannot BELIEVE that daily planet would be gone, completely. I am SO saddened to hear of this. the volunteer dj's make the station unique & wonderful. please find a way to retain the qualities that make KBCS stand out from everyone else.
7/15/2009 06:37 AM
When I want news I listen to Democracy Now. When I want folk music, I listen to Lunch with Folks If you want to teach people better how to make radio, why dump the decades of experience and knowledge of volunteer hosts and spend money on paid hosts to water down the only uniquely folk and contemporary non Homogenized Music Industry programs available? It will reduce my annual contribution by 75%.
7/15/2009 08:18 AM
To Whom it may Concern, I want to add my voice to what I hope are many. I value tremendously the unique niche that KBCS has in the greater Seattle area as a true community radio station. I love the fact that individual programs are programmed by volunteer DJ's who are often sharing very special material with their radio audiences. Please don't change the station by homogenizing it to a 'formula' or stock format! I am a supporter, and hope to be able to continue to be so.
7/15/2009 08:24 AM
I am dismayed to hear about the upcoming changes in KBCS programming. I have been a listener and supporter for several years, and I doubt I will continue to support the station if it loses its local, community flavor and music focus. KBCS is a unique treasure in this community. It has truly differentiated itself through its diverse music programming and passionate, knowledgeable, local volunteer hosts. I love that I can tune in anytime and hear music that I might not otherwise be exposed to, and that can’t be found on other stations. I’m particularly upset about the loss of “Drive Time Jazz” and “Daily Planet” to news/public affairs programs – there’s enough news and talk on other radio stations. KBCS has always been the one place to turn to for something different. Don’t ruin a good thing!
7/15/2009 08:36 AM
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not make the proposed changes of which I have read. Your current programming is uniquely rich and beneficial. There is nothing like KBCS. It is the very uniqueness of the current programming that is appealing about KBCS. If this is changed, then the unique appeal will also vanish. All will be lost with the proposed changes. Don't do it, I beg you.
7/15/2009 09:45 AM
hello. I have been a KBCS supporter for many years, precisely because it is the only truly independent world music and news radio available in the greater Seattle area. Lunch with Folks, The Caravan, and evening news and world music shows have been a welcome relief from the canned offering available on NPR stations. The program hosts have been consistently excellent, and I have gained and learned a lot from these programs.
There is nothing to be gained from the proposed changes; indeed it is a grave loss, and I suspect it will also mean an end to my support for your station.
Please do the right thing and keep our station local and independent.
7/15/2009 10:30 AM
KBCS is the last of a dying breed. These proposed changes will in effect kill this great local station. I am saddened to hear of these changes and when they go into effect I will most likely NEVER listen to KBCS again. Please reconsider!!!!
7/15/2009 11:31 AM
Hello SaveKBCS,
I wanted to add more to my previous comments. I really enjoy the diversity of programming and the various hosts and the flavor they bring. Whether it's Lunch with Folks, or the drive-time jazz, each host brings their own knowhow, style, and music collections to the mix. We would be poorer with one paid staffer.
The proposed changes would make the station much less desirable to me, and make KBCS much more like it's competitors with less to make it stand out.
7/15/2009 11:36 AM
Lunch Time with Folk is the only radio show I actually LOVE. I will be devastated if these changes occur Americana is not the same experience and Lunch Time with Folk is the only program I have found in Seattle that plays what I love to listen to with DJs that know what they are talking about. KBCS is so amazing because the programming is so unique. Changing the programing to something we could get on NPR will not be adding to our community. I know this email is going to those that are fighting this cause so thank you and good luck. I love listening to KBCS and I hope I always will! Mainstreaming the programming would be a huge loss for our community since KBCS currently offers something nobody else does. Our community needs this to stay vibrant! So much culture is getting lost into mainstream and our souls are suffering from this. We need storytelling and the music of our roots. If we want news and public affairs we can get them elsewhere. We can't get folk and vintage jazz just anywere and that is why I have always loved listening to KBCS. I doubt I'll be listening to Americana. To me this isn't about resisting change. I think some change can be a good thing. I am resistant to us loosing touch with where we came from and who we are. Yesterday I attended a tribute to Vi Hilbert, a native elder and amazing storyteller who passed in December. She was an incredibly wise woman who believed in sharing her stories and her music and her culture and her language so that it would stay alive. A man spoke yesterday and said that he once asked her for advice, for a little something for his life. Vi told him to always remember who he was and where he came from. KBCS's current programming does this for me. I hope it will continue to do so. It is so easy to lose ourselves in the hubbub of life but our culture is so incredibly important. So incredibly important. It is what feeds our souls and keeps us whole. Thank you for your efforts to keep the current diverse programs on the air. They mean so much to me.
7/15/2009 12:16 PM
To whom it may concern,
KBCS is my lifeline in Seattle. I drive to work listening to lunch with folks, and know all the hosts by name and the type of music they play. I drive home listening to Roadsongs and Cajun music. I turn the radio on Saturday and Sunday mornings to listen to Saturday Tradition and ?, and when I can, I listen to Mostly Medieval. I dip into other programs as well, like the Hawaii radio show, celtic and blues.
These hosts are people with a deep knowledge of the music they play, and they introduce me to artists I have never heard of that I love.
I love the tie ins with local musicians, and artists coming to town, again that I would never know about except that I heard their music on KBCS.
I have purchased a specific computer because it will allow me to listen to archived shows I haven't listend to.
Yes, I have been a subscriber twice a year until this year, when my teaching income dropped in half. I expect to be a subscriber again when my financial situation improves, but not if you bring in canned music. If you are having financial difficulties too, why bring in hosts you have to pay?
I can't imagine my life in Seattle without KBCS as it is now, and I hope I won't have to. Please save this wonderful and unique radio show I love so much.
7/15/2009 01:13 PM
As both a listener and a muscian who gets airplay on KBCS I question the programming changes-not in their particulars (all stations have to change) but because nobody asked me/us. We the listeners have not been invited to comment prior to the changes and that takes the "community" right out of "community radio"-unless the only community input wanted is the money collected at the pledge drive. For me, the least interesting and often most shallow programming is the in-house news programming. I would welcome more public affairs, but only if the production and reporters were more incisive, and the reporters better prepared. The elimination of the morning jazz progamming is just sad-those DJs are the most knowledgeable and dedicated you have. I have mixed feelings about Lunch with Folks (even though it's the time slot I'm most likely to get airplay for my albums): lacking the specificity of the jazz slots, the programming can go from great to flaccid from song to song. Anyway, my point is, change is ok, but KBCS needs to take a couple months and ask the listeners what we think.
7/15/2009 01:26 PM
KBCS is the station I currently listen to far more than any other. I've lived in a few different cities over the years and always listened to public radio but KBCS is far and away my favorite station! I love the diversity of musical genres, diversity of musical programs, and diversity of volunteer hosts. I love that it is COMMUNITY radio, created by and created for the public.
Please keep the musical programming, ESPECIALLY during the workday M-F 8-5. I listen to music while working, but I cannot concentrate on my work if a talk program is on. Why try to compete with other local stations that have fine talk programs??
If the current programming is retained, I would like to sign up to volunteer for the station and I would plan in future to support the station (once I get out of school and am employed)
7/15/2009 03:52 PM
Dear Save KBCS, I emailed Steve already about the changes. When the station drops Joanie and Al and all the rest, then KBCS has dropped us. We'll stop contributing to the station when/if this goes plan goes through. This smacks as dropping the old folks and that's not very inclusive.
7/15/2009 04:29 PM
Hi KBCS General Manager,
I understand that you are facing a time of transition and cutting folk programming. We have spotlighted your talented folk shows hosts– John Sincock and Richard Gillman -- on a regular basis on XM15 The Village.
I understand these are tough times for radio in general. I wonder if there are alternatives to cutting valuable folk shows on KBCS and considering alternative broadcast times?
We at XM15 The Village, the folk channel, discern specialty shows we air with a careful ear. You have very talented, dedicated, knowledgeable hosts, John Sincock and Richard Gillman. I understand you will be hiring hosts. Without knowing John and Richard’s schedule or desires --- why not hire John and Richard as hosts as the community already knows and loves them?
XM15 The Village has broadcasted both John and Richard’s shows across two countries to millions of people and with pride. I hope you will consider options to keep both of them involved with KBCS.
7/15/2009 05:42 PM
I saw an email distributed about upcoming major changes at KBCS- We love it the way it is, and really value the individuality and quality of the individual MC’s. Joni’s show is a standout
Please do not change to the model as described.
Please let me know if you have particular questions you’d like answered.
7/15/2009 07:54 PM
The proposed changes to KBCS' programming are taking the heart out of their diverse and unique programming. If these changes are carried through KBCS will become little more than another generic NPR rebroadcast and will lose much of the local flavor that make it such an attractive choice for my listening. We don't need to have two KUOWs.
7/15/2009 10:27 PM
Save KBCS volunteers:
Pondering what I could say that might leave a lasting impression and help preserve the uniqueness of KBCS, I keep coming back to the late singer/songwriter Steve Goodman ("City of New Orleans"), the best musical performer I have been privileged to experience. I am immersed in his story because of having spent eight years researching and writing his biography and two more years promoting it. No doubt I will remain immersed in his story as long as I breathe. I have been fortunate to lead 53 reading/music events about the Goodman bio all around the country over the past two-plus years, at in each event I invariably talk about what I think is Goodman's life lesson. It is both simple and profound. It is this:
Life is precious, and our mortality is not to be taken for granted. As Goodman wrote and sang, "You better get it while you can. If you wait too long, it'll all be gone, and you'll be sorry then. Doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. It's the same for a woman or a man. From the cradle to the crypt, it's a mighty short trip, so you better get it while you can." And it's not "get" in the sense of acquisition. It's "get" in the sense of "understand," "comprehend." And the thing to "get" is that we are not meant to be hermits. We are supposed to connect with people, engage people, inspire people, in the present moment. Those irreplaceable moments are the juice of life.
By now, my point should be obvious. KBCS -- with its loyal cadre of volunteer hosts, all-over-the-map musical programming and faithful listeners -- consistently produces that very same juice of life. Where else on the radio dial can one learn about a musical style, be surprised by a stirring song and connect with a voice that is caring and idiosyncratic (or both), all in the present moment? No severely smaller, paid staff can replace the initiative, energy and just plain life of KBCS' delightful grab-bag of announcers. The magic of KBCS has evolved organically, as any magic should. And it plays out every day and night of every week and every year. The predictable unpredictability of KBCS is immensely comforting in this age when less and less communication (including this very e-mail message) takes place in real time. And if music is lifeblood, then KBCS is the conduit.
Two examples that have touched me endearingly:
-- One week after the launch of my Goodman bio in Chicago, on the Sunday afternoon of 2007 Folklife, I was fortunate to be back in Seattle helming a 50-minute Goodman-bio panel at Folklife featuring eight musicians. In the phalanx of events that is Folklife, I needed significant help to get word out about this special event. Who went out of his way to trade his volunteer "Sunday Folks" shift with a co-host so that he could devote much of the three-hour program that morning to Goodman's music and my book, including the final hour interviewing me? It was longtime host Dru Druzianich. The show, I believe, was the key factor in producing a turnout of more than 130 people sitting and standing in an unseasonable May chill to enjoy a musical treat. Could that kind of thing happen under the new format being forecast for KBCS? Not as likely, I'm guessing. The key factor was Dru's passion, emblematic of how his colleagues also take seriously their role to connect, engage and inspire in the present moment.
-- Six or seven years ago, my then-late-20s daughter, a Seattle resident at the time, was leading a life as busy as mine and was frustrated by not being able to connect with me for a week or so. So one Friday afternoon, as she was listening to John Sincock's "Lunch with Folks" show, she heard him play Goodman's "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request." She telephoned John mid-song and asked if he could dedicate it to me when it finished up. John told her yes, and he did just that. And yes, I happened to be listening to John's show. I can't tell you how satisfying and warming that was. How many people get to hear, in the present moment, a song dedicated to them by their daughter? Again, I ask if this kind of thing could happen under the new format. Again, I say, not likely.
People say to me these days, "Oh, you're a published author!" and it's meant in a good way, but the implication is that I'm something special. The truth is, however, that I'm just a regular guy. And I am convinced that the eclectic volunteers who constitute the collective voice of KBCS engender hundreds of regular-guy moments on the air every day. How many regular-guy moments will the new format produce? The bigger, unquantifiable question is, what will be the effect on the populace if quality, present-moment musical programming slips away at KBCS? Put another way, how do we place a price on the spirit of a community? This issue is akin to the strong steps that are demanded of us by global warming. Step by step, through technology, expedience and complacency, the juice of our life is slipping away. When do we wake up and do something to keep that from continuing?
It appears that KBCS management has a crystalline opportunity to take such decisive action. Where there's life, there's hope.
7/15/2009 11:31 PM
Well, it's usually money that ruins everything --could it just be that everyone's tapped; and it's not the radio, it's just short pockets?? I had a look in my check register, and you haven't sent me a membership bill / notification since '04. I'm so used to paying well before the pledge drives that I never call then, and I had no idea I wasn't current. My bad, but please keep the mailings / reminders to your members coming, like you used to. Here's where I'm coming from.... Lunch with folks has introduced me to all the music that I now buy and enjoy. There is nothing like hearing the intro, the first line or two of a song I've never heard before, that at once excites and reassures me. From the first note my ears are pricked. The excitement is from the hope and promise of a new song that will resound within me-- awaken memories, create awareness, tickle my funny bone, or just be approachable and well executed. The reassurance is in recognizing that someone else thinks like I do, cares about what I care about; is making music that, for those brief moments when the notes are shining in the air, has magic, presence, and power. It might be a song that I will want to learn to play and sing and teach to family and friends. It might be a song so compelling I must have it immediately so I can listen over and over and just let it saturate me. Many's the time I've sat waiting to hear the artist and song announced so I would know what to go out and get. My family will recall my browbeating them to learn all the parts to Traveler's Prayer that I so painstakingly sussed out and recorded for them; my voice and the piano on one track, the recording on the other so they could first learn it, and then get used to singing it with the other parts. I only heard it on KBCS. Community = responding to the local people and their tastes, adding to that with care. Don't drown us in zydeco and peppy dance music. We can handle some of that, but make it good music, old faves, new music-- topical, political, funny, sad-- let it tell a story. Let it be what clicks with us here. College = makes you think. The people you have now do a stellar job, thoughtful and knowledgable. The breadth and depth of commitment and talent displayed in the show of an Eric Hardy or a Susan Madden, to name just a couple, is simply astounding. There is no problem with your current djs and programs. We're a diverse bunch of listeners, and you have a variety of ages / tastes / styles / programs playing tunes for us. We can tune in for what we like, and try others times for something different. We already have talk radio, we already have news radio, we already have boring pap / same tunes every three hours all over the dial. If they have to turn this into a money making operation, maybe they should just get jobs in commercial radio. If money's the problem, maybe you need to go (back?) to ALL VOLUNTEER. Change is good?? Well, sometimes......but keeping what works is good too, and whatcha got now works. A paycheck does NOT guarantee quality, and using volunteers does not preclude it. I don't need slick professional easy mellifluous one size is gonna have to fit all radio--I just need good music thoughtfully applied. I can't listen to the radio all the time, but I will make an effort to tune in when you've got what I want. If you go down this road, I doubt you'll have what I want, or even learn to like. DON'T SCREW IT UP!!
7/15/2009 11:53 PM
The FAQ refers to stations KRCL in Salt Lake and KUNM in Albuquerque as examples of stations using a hybrid paid- volunteer model.
KUNM is an NPR station with a little bit of community programming. Is this what KBCS is heading toward?
KRCL's recent transition like this was the subject of much controversy. At NFCB, the PD seemed happy, but the numbers I heard were down. The excuse "it's too soon to tell". Ryan's presentation sounded like one of those talks from management where the reality was obviously other than what was presented.
Why doesn't KRCL they post their financial report? Because it tells a story other than what they want to show? Considering all the hype it got, there should be an obvious increase.
Look at KRCL's daytime schedule. Totally devoid of character. I even tried listening. ..oh well. Do you really think shows with boring names like "Morning" and "Afternoon" is more marketable?
If there is an increase, what evidence is there that switching to paid programmers is the reason for it? I see none.
KBCS is making a big mistake by following what is probably the mistakes of others. Sure, the bean counters there don't consider them to be mistakes, but we do.
I have been a KBCS supporter for a long time. I would not support either KUNM or KRCL even if I lived there. They should be used as examples of what NOT to do.
It is normal to change a few programs every year, to look for which ones are stale. But the change to the Jazz and Folk shows is not an improvement, in any way. It's a big loss. Those shows are not stale, especially Al and Joannie.
The FAQ says that the money is coming from a CPB grant. I still think CPB forced the change, like they did to KRCL, and like they are trying to do all over, like they have done for years.
From the FAQ, "In 2007, KBCS received a CSG of $14,000. In 2008, that figure grew to $93,000 because our reported NFFS increased." Why sell your soul for $14k? $93k just barely pays the extra salaries. Is this really a gain? Maybe KBCS should tell CPB to go away.
KBCS market share may be only around 1%, but those 1% are the ones that keep the culture alive. Considering how many stations there are, 1% really isn't bad.
By the way ... KRCL is looking for a new station manager, and a morning host, one of those paid slots. Maybe things are not as great there as they claim. Maybe they should consider volunteers for that morning slot.
07/16/2009 01:12 AM
Here are some links to interesting reading about KRCL:
Is this a good model for KBCS?
7/16/2009 08:38 AM
Please continue to display the history of all comments to the blog, or explain to all how to see all of the them. It's very important to all to show all comments.
7/16/2009 10:14 AM
I am and have been a member of KBCS for many years and I was shocked to hear by word of mouth (it was NOT publically announced, or did I miss it?) of these changes to the programming! I will never contribute anything if this changover happens! You will lose my support. Shame shame on you if you let this happen.
7/16/2009 11:01 AM
As a touring musician, I feel especially appreciative of radio stations like KBCS. They are dedicated to playing and treating independent musicians well, welcoming them into their studio and exposing others to their music. This is hugely important to those of us who chose not to have the backing of a record label and we rely on community radio stations like KBCS to play our music and support our art. KBCS is special in the range of programing it offers and the diversity in it's djs. Please allow this station to continue offering it's great programming without these drastic cuts. We the listeners and contributors as musicians see and support KBCS as the gem that it is.
7/16/2009 11:19 AM
I can’t believe KBCS is considering making these programming changes. Here are answers to the questions posed on your website:
Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you?
Yes – I doubt I would listen to the station anymore.
Are you a member/supporter/volunteer?
Not currently.
How would these changes affect your participation and support?
I would start donating money (with matching from Microsoft) if I hear that the station DOES NOT make these changes. If they make these changes, then I’m gone for good.
7/16/2009 11:23 AM
I am appalled by the proposed changes to KBCS programming. These changes would be not only be devastating to the diversity of music available to radio listeners, but to live local music. As a volunteer with two non-profit organizations (Northwest Seaport and Puget’s Sound Productions) that promote local music events, I am aware of the unique role that KBCS has playing in giving local musicians a forum to make the public aware of upcoming local music events. There is no other local radio station that provides this.
KBCS has played a key role in keeping the local music scene healthy and diverse, by playing music by local musicians, and by playing a diversity of music that expands the taste of listeners. A healthy, diverse music scene plays a far-reaching role in the community. It keeps our musical heritage alive. It provides activities that families can do together, and encourages more people to participate in music. The results can literally change lives.
Thank you for your efforts to attempt to forestall these short-sighted changes to the KBCS format. I cannot imagine that they would increase the number of listeners, or be cost-effective. Hiring paid DJs to replace the knowledgeable and dedicated KBCS volunteers is just foolish. The adverse affects would go far beyond a few volunteers and musicians, and would negatively impact the entire community.
7/16/2009 12:29 PM
We stopped listening to KBCS years ago as it ceased representing the local community and had become more like the regular media, which, as far as we are concerned, is nearly as completely controlled now as the media in Nazi Germany. The proposed changes, getting rid of community people and replacing them with paid "media" folks, and simply the final nail in the coffin of what used to be a real community oriented radio station. It looks like the radio will remain off in our household.
7/16/2009 02:53 PM
I am horrified to hear of the proposed changes at KBCS. I'll do my best to leave the expletives out of this, but....
KBCS has been and should continue to be a community radio station in the truest sense. The myriad voices and views are invaluable and any attempt to replace what works so well would be a travesty. I have long been a fan of Lunch with Folks--it got me through the workdays when I was in Seattle. I became a member, my mother became a member, since she could listen on the computer 3000 miles away. I told numerous friends who also became supporters. Vintage Jazz with Al Barnes is wonderful, and I listen to Roadsongs when I can. I had planned to become a member again when I finally got a home computer with an Internet connection (I live in Montana). I donated money in memory of my recently deceased mother this last spring. My only complaint with the station the way it is, is that the signal's not powerful enough and couldn't be picked up in Port Townsend when I lived there.
How can I help?
7/16/2009 03:01 PM
Hello, I am a long term listener, fan, and supporter of KBCS.
I especially like to listen to local volunteers on the air for whom working at KBCS is an act of love and of giving back to the community.
If I wanted news, or public affairs, I would dial in KUOW / NPR or internet soiurces. There are plenty.
KBCS is unique in that it offers so much fine local progarmming by locals. KBCS is where I go to listen to the music I like, played by people I like (old country, folk, old-time, bluegrass).
The changes I hear about will not encourage me to remain a listener: They seem to intended to replace the local volunteer element with generic programming, which exists already elsewhere.
I love KBCS just the way it is, and hope it remains the way is. Great job KBCS voluteers and programmers!
7/16/2009 03:45 PM
I am a member and have been for a few years. I listen because of the music. Unfortunately I don’t get a chance to listen during the day much but I really enjoy the weekend music especially the Hawaiian and blue grass and folk. I also enjoy Sunday afternoon and evening music. If I want talk radio and traffic I listen to KIRO, but I would rather listen to music. I have never been a jazz listener, but if the music on the weekends is changed, so will my donations, and when I retire next year I will be listening more during the day, but not to talk radio. MUSIC. Thanks for the summer shows at St. Edwards.
7/16/2009 04:35 PM
PLEASE, TELL ME THIS ISN'T TRUE!!!??? How can this happen? What will I listen to? KPLU I guess, at least til 3pm. I've never been a fan of Amy Goodman - too damn negative. Now I suppose she'll be on all day! NO WORLD MUSIC????!!!! Whose behind this? I'm never sending another dime!!!!! As a matter of fact, I want all my money back!! Just kidding about wanting my money back, you guys gave me so much pleasure I wish I could have given you more. Maybe we wouldn't be in this situation now.
7/16/2009 05:23 PM
I'm a longtime KBCS listener and Seattle Native. I first discovered KBCS when my favorite radio station (KCMU -- now KEXP) was bought by Paul Allen, and very quickly became like every other station on the dial. The programming became a wash of homogeneous indie pop, instead of the vast variety of rare and eclectic music that had once stood out to me as a ear opening and educational resource.
KBCS became my KCMU. To hear that shows such as Drive time Jazz and Lunch with Folks will be nixed, as well as the rich and varied pool of passionate volunteer DJs who host those shows is shocking.
Who will fill the gap on the dial for unique, listener supported community radio in the Seattle area?
KBCS as it is now is a gem. Please don't let the northwest airwaves become further homogenized. We need KBCS, as it is.
7/16/2009 06:12 PM
Hi, I'm a supporter of KBCS and a HUGE fan of Caravan, Daily Planet, Lunch with Folks and especially 20th Century Jazz. I have listened to these programs for years, in every kitchen I've ever worked in. They are part of my worklife-I can't imagine being without them. PLEASE don't eliminate these programs. The changes you've proposed will completely alter the feel and sound of KBCS. I feel like my friends are on their deathbeds...these DJs have saved my life with their thoughtful and inspired programming. I can't tell you how much it hurts to hear that these programs will be gone. I don't make a ton of money doing what I do, but I do it cause I love it. I appreciate KBCS because it does what it loves too. I support it with a monthly donation. Please reconsider these changes, so I don't have to reconsider my investment in KBCS.
7/16/2009 07:12 PM
Please don't limit the wonderful diversity of KBCS' programming by a homogenized group of programs...the world has way enough news...we need more music!
7/16/2009 08:54 PM
Please keep programs like "Lunch with Folks" on the air.
7/16/2009 09:18 PM
I would be extremely disappointed if the programs on KBCS change. I am unable to receive KBCS at my home, but I punch it up on my car radio whenever I am in range. I sometimes access the archives for "Bluegrass Ramble" on the internet. I understand that "Bluegrass Ramble" and "Our Saturday Tradition" are not in immediate danger, but they at risk. Please don't allow these and other volunteer staffed programs to be taken away.
If there is budget to pay radio staff to replace the volunteers, I would rather it be spent to make the signal available in Enumclaw where I live.
If it would help for me to write letters please tell me.
7/16/2009 11:56 PM
Dear Friends, My response to hearing of the drastic programming changes planned for KBCS is one of great consternation and anquish. The proposed changes in programming sound like some one is trying to cut the heart out of community radio, by betraying the vision that has created it. One of the things I enjoy most about KBCS is the broad spectrum of musical voices that I wouldn't hear anywhere else. It is a delight to find program hosts who are knowledgeable about the music they bring to us all. It is an education, culturally. I discover music I wouldn't even know about otherwise. No Daily Planet? I don't think so. No Vintage jazz? I don't think so. Replacing dedicated volunteer hosts with a few paid staff? I don't think so. I had to pull the car over the other day and just listen as a song on KBCS that was playing, so captured my imagination. I couldn't do anything else but listen in amazement. And this is going away? For more news? I get plenty of news on KBCS and other stations. I appreciate it, especially the Native Network News. But I turn to KBCS quite often for the refreshment I need from the news. If these changes are allowed to be instituted, no doubt more will follow. I am a regular listener to the Hawaii Radio Connection. Will that be next to go? That program is more than music, it is a community connection regarding Hawaiians and Hawaiians-at-heart in the area. I get to hear about upcoming community events, performances, and I love Auntie Rochelle's Talk Story segments. What are you people thinking? What will be the consequences of alienating the people who support the station financially? Is this like KRAB radio, where someone's agenda is to sell the FCC license to the highest bidder after drubbing the station? In these perilous financial times, we need, more than ever, those things that help bring us together as a community. KBCS has been one of those elements of community making in our area. Don't let that slip away.
7/17/2009 12:16 PM
What about getting rid of this station director who is making these disastrous decisions, and his program director, thereby saving their salaries which are probably paid for by this grant from CPB. Then return community radio to the community! No corporate involvement in KBCS!!
Can we start a petition? I'd help organize it. Please contact me.
7/17/2009 02:24 PM
I find the direction KBCS is taking without input from their listeners offensive! It is also interesting that a direction change is planned so soon after a fund raiser. I wonder how many folks would have chosen NOT to contribute had they known what was afoot. I find this underhanded way of doing business reminiscent of our past White House Administration and they have been replaced. Consider yourself in an elite click!
Please reconsider and give us what WE want NOT what YOU want us to have.
7/17/2009 10:33 PM
WHAT THE SMEG ? I Can't Believe you want to change the programming at KBCS. The reason I Contribute is because of the Different Host each day and that includes the Jazz in the morning & Lunch with Folks . Daily Planet (though I thought roots and branches was better) Where am I going to go For a dose of BEBOP or the way Joanie says nineteen or Buds inclusion of Don at the end of the show - that’s great stuff. Not To Mention Lunch with Folks-Donavan,Ginger,Iaan and John. Each weave a little of themselves into each show. And that what makes KBCS what it is - Great Radio ! I Hope you see better and Keep this Format . My Pledges have come during your Americana Programming Because I Enjoy Americana but that doesn't mean I Don’t Support all of the Volunteer DJ programming . And if I wanted more public affairs I would turn to NPR or PRI or Pacifica. its already out there WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR STATION IS NOT...
Hopeful You Don't Smegitup
07/18/2009 10:39 AM
KBCS is currently one of the most interesting stations in the U.S., and by far the best music station in Seattle. It is the only music station I consistently listen to -- other stations I tune in on are strictly news. Most music stations in the U.S. play boring and predictable music. I've been a pledged member of KBCS for many years. I would probably let my subscription lapse if this proposed format change goes forward.
07/18/2009 11:58 AM
Hello Below I list my issues & preferences with KBCS, as it has morphed over the 20 some years I've been tuning-in.
* Daytime JAZZ programming - Jazz can be found daily on 88.5 with alot better power/signal, why compete? But hey, don't replace with national blah programming! Do replace with SUNLIT ROOM format, as KSER has so wonderfully done. Please Please at least do this. A wonderful programmer designed blend of the "Best of Whatever" music. Typically non-mainstream non-commercial music from all over the world. The better the programmers skill at melting from one genera to another the better it is. * Keep any and all ACCUSTIC & FOLK programming, including Lunch With Folks. I'd like to see/hear the Tuesday evening Folk programming expanded rather than shrunk.
* I have not donated to KBCS the last several years in protest of their optimization of their transmitted signal toward Seattle, at the expense of the outlying Eastside. I heard that recently KBCS has gone back to an omni-directional antenna which at least treats everyone fairly, however haven't really seen any improvement in signal on my hill out by Carnation. In perspective, I started listening when they were at 100 watts mono, so it is better than then. That said, I still receive KSER, a low-power south Everett station which is twice the distance. The difference can not all be accounted for by terrain.
Thanks for all you do!
07/19/2009 08:04 AM
Please don’t touch Lunch With Folks! And as a long-time member I really don’t understand substituting paid DJ’s for the very talented volunteers we have enjoyed over the years.
How does that save money? I get enough commercial radio on commercial radio already - if you ditch the volunteers and aggressively target advertising revenue, it will destroy what makes this station special in the first place.
I listen to Hornpipe, the weekend folk programming, & Lunch with folks when I can
7/19/2009 01:32 PM
Hello KBCS Programmers,
Sad to hear of these proposed changes. Here are my answers to your questions. I will call the president as well. Thanks for your work in saving KBCS as we know it.
* Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you? Yes. Volunteer programmers have individual and unique knowledge about different areas of music that when all put together creates a huge palette for the listeners that would not be manifests with just a few paid dj’s. * Are you a member/supporter/volunteer? I have been a member. * How would these changes affect your participation and support? I would probably listen a lot less. The unique aspect of the individual programmers creates a richness that you don’t find in other more commercially run stations. What is produced with just a few programmers is something with no edges, bland and middle of the road.
7/19/2009 04:50 PM
Hello to Whom it Concerns the Most, I am a supporter of KBCS
When I heard the news of KBCS changing it's programming it came to me as a great disappointment, particularly of 'eliminating the nearly 2 dozen volunteers that make up the 'Quality' selections of music that arrive into my ears on a near daily basis.
Many of the shows I listen to, my favorite being - 'lunch with folks' - allowed for a variety of music to be aired, both new and old. This music, carried a wide array of tastes, diverse talents of the greats and of the unknowns - at least to me - while I marveled at the huge untapped talents or a refreshing moment of respect to hear again a long forgotten favorite. Now with these proposed changes the unknowns will no longer have such benefits of air time and the bland expectations of what the commercial giants will push us to listen to.
KBCS was the only station that offered such diversity and simplicity of listening and now it to will be broken up to cater to the cheap, low grade listening that saturates already the air waves.
I will resort to Satellite radio, Internet radio and my ipod to have such listening be my companion during the days and evenings.
7/20/2009 08:12 AM
Dear Sir or Madame:
Please keep "Lunch With Folks" (noon - 3 p.m.) and don't replace it with a homogenized, generic "Americana" program We really like the diverse knowledge and expertise of the variety of daily programmers.
7/20/2009 09:35 AM
To the powers that “be”,
The proposed changes to the station format are some of the worst news I’ve heard in many years. The plans eliminate the very programs I listen to. The changes would make KBCS virtually the same as all the other stations on the radio dial. I don’t listen to those stations because they are boring, boring, boring!!!
Plus, to lose the knowledge and expertise of so many people who DJ, not to mention the music they share from their personal libraries, borders on criminal action in my mind.
One of the ways the variety of music has directly affected my life has been hearing a song that is new to me that has prompted me to learn that song. I was driving home one evening after a meeting and heard a song that resonated so deeply, I knew I had to learn to play it. I though I recognized the singer, but wasn’t sure. By the time I got home, songs were still playing and the announcer hadn’t returned so I didn’t know the title nor the singer. By the time I got into the house, that info had been delivered. I immediately got online, found the singer and the song, learned who had actually written the song, downloaded tabs and lyrics, changed the key and played the song through several times. This happened in about two hours of time. I have not heard any songs on mainstream radio that have had a similar effect.
I support the station monetarily when I can, including attending station sponsored concerts. I listen to the station daily. I value the current programming immensely.
Please keep the existing format and eliminate the proposed changes!
7/20/2009 11:17 AM
I am not in favor of the proposed changes. The volunteer run jazz shows provide a unique format that includes brand new music from musicians outside the mainstream that don’t have big commercial backing. My window into new jazz music is KBCS. I never listen to KPLU’s ultra vanilla, overly focus grouped format. They repeat way too much music and they are too heavily weighted in a very narrow part of the jazz spectrum. We will lose something important if we make this change.
07/20/2009 12:57 PM
Please do not let such an important part of your programming die. The variety and depth currently exhibited by the station cannot be relapsed with generic programming.
7/20/2009 01:55 PM
What in the world is wrong with management at BCC??? Do they not have a clue about how great the KBCS programming is that is hosted by the musically committed volunteer staff of KBCS. This station is the ONLY station that one can tune to and know that they will be experiencing a quality, knowledge able presentation of various musical genre's....even when one may be new to a genre'. I never used to listen to blues or Jazz, or big band, but found out after sampling such programs, that a great assortment of music and interesting commentary about the music could be enjoyed.
As I recall, this same management ploy was threatening some years ago, until management (fortunately) became informed about and re-acquainted with the great service that KBCS was "already" providing to the folks of greater Seattle, and which was in no need to re-definition.

7/20/2009 09:48 PM
This is an edited version of the letter that I just sent to Steve Ramsey and KBCS:
Dear Mr. Ramsey:
I am dismayed by what I’ve heard about the upcoming changes on KBCS.
I am a daily listener of Lunch with Folks. I love the diversity of approaches taken by the different programmers. Monday is the Gator Boy. I love Sean Donovan. He’s the best DJ you’ve had since Susan Madden quit. But I like him in small doses. I like Ginger Hopper, who is quite different. I look forward to John Sincock every Friday, who puts a great deal of thought into each of his shows. Richard Gillmann is also very good. The point is that each day brings a different approach and different music – that is what I like!
Now you are doing what? It looks like you are trying to homogenize the music on KBCS, getting rid of the idiosyncracies of the different DJs. That will drive me away. I don’t want to hear the same music every day. I greatly value the diversity of approaches that I have previously found on KBCS. I don’t want to lose that.
Why are you doing this? Financial worries are a glib answer, but don’t make sense. If KBCS is in financial trouble, why are you doing away with top quality programmers who work for free, and incurring extra cost to turn to paid DJs? You evidently are planning to continue with your commitment to folk/Americana music, as you plan to continue the noon to 3 pm time slot for this music. All you seem to be doing is reducing the diversity of your programming, while incurring more cost. This makes sense? This is supposed to attract more listeners?
One truism in business is that it is more cost effective to retain your existing customers than it is to attract new customers.
My wife and I have been devoted listeners to KBCS for many years. We are now donating $200 per year to KBCS. We really have loved this station. But what you are now doing may drive us away! You are getting rid of DJs that we love, and you are giving us no good reason for doing so. You are threatening the identity of KBCS as a community based station.
If KBCS becomes like KUOW (mostly talk), or just a bland blend of music, you will lose us. As I have felt threatened by the loss of the music I love, I have started to explore alternatives. Pandora is out there. I have not previously used it, as I prefer the engagement with the KBCS DJs. But I have tried Pandora in the past few days. I now realize that it is a realistic option for me to listen to music that I love, and to be introduced to new artists. I don’t like this, as it robs me of my connection to local artists, local concerts, and real live DJs. But it’s what I’ll do if KBCS departs radically from its roots, as you seem to be doing.
It’s your choice. Do you want to keep loyal listeners and contributors? Or do you want to toss us aside, along with your wonderful DJs?
I hope you reconsider. There is still time.
7/21/2009 07:02 AM
Steve Ramsey has been privately "duping" the KBCS community since his arrival in 2000. He has non-transparently changed the station. Why did not the volunteer music dj's know these changes were coming long before now?
On April 3, 2008, while "celebrating" KBCS's 35 years of music and ideas, Steve Ramsey was interviewed by, the Pacifica Affliliates Network:
Please read it and make your own conclusions.
7/21/2009 08:42 AM
Dear KBCS Crew- We love the local programming and the personal touch that our own wonderful DJ's provide. We would lose interest in the station if it went to a national, off-the-shelf, broadcast format. We love it when we hear some of our own local talent on the shows. If the format changed to what has been mentioned in the email that we received we would discontinue listening to and supporting KBCS. Thank you for all that you do to support music in our community.
7/21/2009 12:31 PM
As an avid listener to the diverse range of jazz, folk, and world music shows expertly hosted by the wonderful volunteer programmers at KBCS, I was dismayed to learn of all the upcoming program changes proposed for the station. However, the demise of Drivetime Jazz, which consistently starts my mornings, is the greatest loss for me, as it will be impossible to find a comparable musical equivalent for morning radio listening.
This longtime supporter urges the KBCS management to please reconsider these changes. Real community radio should not be about “growth,” more money, bigger CPB grants, the latest technology, or managerial control—rather it is about respecting your listeners by providing us with a variety of music we can’t hear on other radio stations, valuing your volunteer programmers for their commitment to and knowledge of this music, and honoring musicians by providing them an outlet for their talents. Thank you.
7/21/2009 02:59 PM
Please do not discontinue the “Lunch With Folks” program.
We have been listener/supporters for about 10 years, and “Lunch” is one of our favorite programs.
7/21/2009 03:13 PM
I am an active musician in Seattle. I can truly say that the music I have heard on Kbcs has completely revitalized and reinspired my musical direction in the last two years. Kbcs has become the only station I listen tofor many reasons. I am in love with all the Sunday programming. Mostly Mydevil and Flotation Device are wonderful shows, as well as Bluegrass Ramble, Sunday’s Hornpipe, and all the others. I also adore the Tuesday night lineup of shows. Road Songs is one of my favorite weekly experiences. I have also come to rely on the public affairs programming as my main source of news and info.
I was quite disheartened to hear of the proposed programming changes for August and beyond. I do not want to see any of the jazz and folk programming change. I am not in favor of replacing Kbcs volenteers with paid staff. I would like to help to preserve the integrity of the station as it is.
During the last pledge drive, I made a pledge of support to the station. I will hold off on donating the money until I know the final outcome of this matter. I do not believe that Kbcs has described these changes to the listenership in a forthright manner. It seems obvious from listening that some changes are slated to come, but obviously the full extent of the change is not being discussed on air.
I would like to do all I can to help preserve Kbcs as it is. I am available to write letters and make phone calls, if that could be helpful. Please contact me if I can be of help in any way. AS stated earlier, I am not in favor of the proposed changes to Kbcs, and I would like to help to stop them.
7/21/2009 07:51 PM
The significance of the proposed changes at KBCS reach far beyond the Pacific Northwest, that's for sure.
7/21/2009 10:05 PM
I am a total devotee of your show, along with Eric's. I reserve Tuesday evening w no interruptions. If KBCS chooses to drop you two, I have to say that I'm dropping my subscription. So you can tell them that- or tell me who to tell. I am on social security disability and don't get around much, either, nor can I afford alot of $$ for membership to a radio station I don't think is as wonderful as KBCS.
7/22/2009 07:04 AM
I am concerned about having donated money to the station with the idea that is was going toward supporting the volunteers. I thought it would be going toward equipment, etc. Now I realize that my money will be going toward paying DJs. I will never donate to the station again.
7/22/2009 08:43 AM
To Whom it may concern,
My wife and I have enjoyed and donated to KBCS for nearly ten years. We dropped our financial support for channel 9 in lieu of KBCS. The station's diversity of programming and community/volunteer nature have won our listening and financial loyalty.
If the proposed programing changes are implemented we will drop our support and not contribute this fall.
Say this isn't so . . . !!!!!!!!
7/22/2009 11:00 AM
I guess I'm one of the last to find out about the KBCS changes (I just received the official "KBCS Program Changes" email).
I am floored that two of my favorite shows (not just on KBCS but on all of radio) - 20th Century Jazz and Vintage jazz - are being discontinued. Actually, depressed might be a more apt description of how I feel.
I will likely not contribute any further money to KBCS after these shows are dropped. There are other KBCS shows that I also love (i.e. Flotation Device) but at this point I don't trust the management.
Is there any word on if the hosts of the killed shows will be going elsewhere (i.e. making podcasts, etc.)?
7/22/2009 12:41 PM
As a past volunteer and longterm donor I would like to believe the station consulted its public/community BEFORE deciding on these changes.
I would like to see any polls or outreach as well as a much fuller plan for all day programming. What reason {research] indicates the station will get more contributions under these changes? I would like to review the research. Do you have a model of a station that has made this very switch?
I think you are running a risk of cancelled contributions, unfortunately, from listeners who gave before this news came out...
7/22/2009 01:35 PM
July 22nd 2009
To whom it may concern: I have given thousands of dollars to KBCS over the years. If these changes are implemented, then I will never give any money to KBCS again! These changes are a BIG mistake! We need local public affairs programs, but not the centrist main-stream BBC nor NPR type of boring or false propaganda! We need the independent and diverse news and music programs. It would be better to cut back on the broadcasts between 1 AM and 6 AM. The current depression is not bottoming out in the near future, if ever, so we must find a sustainable schedule, without advertising, or else simply close the station. Radical ideas are needed. Maybe closing the station will tell the powers that be that they also must think radically. Only firm principles can work. We must swim upstream against the current! Political revolution is coming, in spite of the capitalist dinosaurs around the world! I applaud both open and subtle resistance! If I was still living near the west coast, I would help blockade offices at Bellevue College!
7/22/2009 02:10 PM
I am outraged that KBCS plans to take talented, dedicated radio hosts such as Joanie Nelson and Al Barnes off the air. What are they thinking? These hosts do great work for free, and in doing so provide a great service to the community. I, for one, record their shows because of their excellence. I have no desire to hear generic news in place of the great morning shows. If these changes are made, no longer will I not support KBCS, but I will simply not listen to the station.
7/22/2009 02:15 PM
Hello- I am an avid music lover and musicologist. I would not like to see the proposed changes happen at the radio station. It is one of very few stations that I listen to on the radio since I listen to internet radio so much now. I really enjoy the local flavor that the current programming gives and how it keeps me connected to local musicians and events. I think we need to support our local musicians and events as much as possible.
I would be very disappointed if the news programming was inserted in the 3-5 PM timeframe. Currently, KCBS is the only station I can stand to listen to at that time. I am completely saturated with NPR news & cannot stand to hear it any more. If you do that, I will have to just play my ipod in my car, because there will be nothing on the radio at that time- a big commute time for me, since I am a teacher.
I do hope you reconsider your decision since it will have repercussions that will adversely impact many people's quality of life, for a variety of reasons, in numerous ways. I do not want to belabor the point, but should you wish to hear more about this from me, please contact me. As a recreation therapist and teacher I know a lot about music and its relationship to society, and well-being, which I would be happy to share.
7/22/2009 02:37 PM
" I find the luch with folks show to be a "one and only" on the Air-ways. It is my opinion that the changes will create a Station like many losing the individuallity which presently has. As I see it at this time I will not provide my support and will look to others whom I know who are involved to cancel theirs.
7/22/2009 02:38 PM
Dear People,
I listen to KBCS for (1) the alternative news from 5-7pm, and (2) the interesting music programming.
If I wanted to hear generic music and public affairs programming, I would listen to KUOW and KPLU. But I don't want to hear that stuff, and I do not support those stations and I am instead a longtime member and supporter of KBCS.
If the proposed format changes take effect, I will stop listening, and I will certainly reduce or eliminate my support for KBCS. KBCS and KSER are really the only alternative format stations left in this market. Please do not change the format. If some of the current programs are getting a little tired, rotate in some other knowledgeable volunteers (there are plenty out there, I'm sure).
7/22/2009 04:08 PM
Dear Save KBCS, I was aghast to hear about the plans to eliminate morning jazz and afternoon folk programming in favor of more generic programming that will make KBCS go the way of all good radio stations in the last 15 years. AGHAST. The various morning people, such as Joanie and the fellow with the low, eccentric voice who do old-time jazz, are part of the heart and soul of the station. The surprises they offer, and their incredible erudition regarding the music they play us, have given me great pleasure for a long time. And Lunch with Folks is the lifeblood of the various folk communities of the greater Seattle and Bellevue area for as long as I can remember. What has gotten into the directors of KBCS? If it's a matter of money, as it invariably is, I for one am happy to make a much more substantial contribution to the station than I normally do for membership. When KUOW did this a number of years ago--eliminating their classical, folk, and other musical offerings in favor of nonstop public affairs (don't get me wrong: I'm a news hound and appreciate the public affairs... but not at the expense of great music), it was a profoundly sad passage, but at least I knew we had KBCS. If KBCS goes the way of corporate-type radio policy, Seattle and Bellevue will really be left high and dry for human, live, informed, passionate, idiosyncratic, and always fresh programming. The old-time music community, those who love women's music, those who love vintage jazz and pop, and those who value independent music of all kinds, will be far the worse off for it. You don't often hear from me. But like many thousands of others, I've been a devoted KBCS listener and member for many years. Please let me know what I can do to save KBCS.
7/22/2009 04:35 PM
I like the web pages but how do we get the message to the folks that matter at KBCS that can turn this around?
7/22/2009 04:48 PM
I am a 20+ year listener to the music programming on KBCS, especially during the weekday. I do not listen to the public affairs programs and will not to start doing so now. Instead, at 3:00 each day I will find another community radio station to listen to over the web. I was not asked for input at any point in recent years and was not aware of any surveys, etc.
I am also a long-time donor and will be looking very carefully at any additional programming decisions and on the quality of the new programs when it comes time to consider my next contribution.
Thanks for your work in presenting a broader ranges of listener perspectives to the station's management.
7/22/2009 06:02 PM
I've been a listener and supporter of KBCS for over a decade, and not just because some of the DJs have played music of bands in which I play - KGB, Pangeo, Pasatempo, Bag o'Tricks. I also have appreciated KBCS's quirky and eclectic mix of music, particularly the folk and world music, and the discoveries of interesting bands and genres I've made from listening to KBCS. I am shocked at the changes the station is making. I admit I won't miss the jazz, but losing Lunch with Folks and Daily Planet is a darned shame, and I really don't need more news and talk on the radio, regardless of the political spin. It would be sad to see KBCS turn into KUOW Junior, or Slightly-More-Liberal KUOW. KSER would become the only place to find interesting music on weekdays on the radio. I've had friends and acquaintances who have DJ'ed at KBCS which gives me a personal connection that I would also miss after the changes, but it's more the trend away from community radio to syndicated radio that saddens me.
7/22/2009 07:50 PM
I am a traveling folk musician. Whenever we come through Seattle, we look forward to listening to KBCS. We are so grateful for the variety in their schedule, and for the autonomy that each individual brings to their shows. This is an asset to the station – it’s what makes KBCS unique and a gem among radio stations.
In an age where small businesses are closing in the shadow of Target and Wal Mart, it’s incredibly important to preserve and protect the independent voices that remain. I have read about and seen a movement of people who are recommitting to local control over their food by visiting farmers markets, local control over their schools in charter schools, and local control over their news media by turning to blogs and first hand reporters and away from the Associated Press. KBCS is an example of a station that remains vibrant and diverse in the DJs, and it would be a shame to see KBCS lose its edge.
I would strongly encourage the management at KBCS to consider how changing from a diverse and unique set of community voices to a more traditional, fewer DJs format would impact their core audience. Is it really beneficial for KBCS to sound the same as any other radio station in Seattle? I would argue that it is not beneficial.
As an independent musician, KBCS is a radio station that has given us an opportunity to get our music out to a potential audience. We have done interviews, and people have come to shows as a result. John Sincock has been especially supportive, and without his support, I am certain many musicians would not have come to Seattle or returned after their first visit. I know we would not have.
Thanks for taking the time to read this message.
7/22/2009 08:05 PM
As a member, supporter and daily listener to KBCS I am shocked and horrified to hear of the proposed changes to the format. This is one of the only stations I know of with such a diverse show list. The hosts are excellent and bring passion and knowledge of the local music scene to their work. My favorites: Caravan, vintage jazz, lunch with folk and the Hawaii radio connection. I implore you to leave KBCS programing intact, if the proposed changes take place I will definitely stop my membership and sadly end support for this great local station.
7/22/2009 08:27 PM
This is to register our deep concern at the impending loss of significant local programming at KBCS, particularly the outstanding morning jazz shows :
- The Bud & Don Show - Bebop Spoken Here - 20th Century Jazz - Vintage Jazz - The Caravan
Each of these shows is a treasure of in depth knowledge and outstanding musical taste. To lose these exceptional programs would leave a giant void in the liveliness and diversity of local radio. As longtime subscribers, we would be most reluctant to continue to support a station with so little appreciation for the talent and resources of it's outstanding on-air contributors. We ask you to reconsider this action on behalf of your thousands of faithful listeners, both locally and around the world.
7/22/2009 10:27 PM
I have been supporting KBCS for over 10 years and it upsets me to see these changes happening. This year I donated $500 to help out the station in its time of need.
Tuesday through Friday mornings I listen to: Bebop Spoken Here 20th Century Jazz Vintage Jazz The Caravan Each afternoon I listen to Lunch with Folks, Daily Planet, and Democracy Now.
Except for Democracy now, all the programs I listen to will be replaced, or changed in their format.
I also contribute to KSER in Everett, and KAOS in Olympia. I will have to think very hard about whether to donate to KCBS after the changes take effect. While I want to support community programming, I also want my community to be involved in the station. I also want my contribution, to go towards the programs I listen to, not canned programming. I scraped together a large donation during these hard times, while being unemployed. I feel that my dollar "votes" counted towards nothing.
7/23/2009 01:33 AM
I’ve read the FAQ about these changes on the station’s own website. >From my position as listener and supporter, here is what I see. The general manager (GM – Steve Ramsey) has hired professional staff whose vision for a future KBCS is like his own, not quite like the current KBCS – perhaps nothing at all like the current KBCS. After planning for several years, the GM and his like-minded staff now have sufficient money (brought in by the supporters of the current KBCS) to impose their vision on the station. That money lets them buy the expensive public affairs shows the GM wants. That money also allows the removal of volunteer programmers who have dissenting viewpoints by replacing them with paid staff.
Sure, it makes sense to actually pay someone who’ll be a DJ five days per week, but nothing in the GM’s defense of his changes explains why the unique individual volunteer programmers are such a poor choice that they must be replaced. The clear message is that since those volunteers can’t all be paid to agree with the GM, their many on-air hours will be taken over by one paid (silenced) host.
The morning jazz hosts and midday folk hosts who will be thrown out on their ears after years of volunteer service to the station are a big part of what makes KBCS worthwhile and unique.
I’m also rather mystified by the GM’s pronouncement that "We firmly believe that in the end, programming creates audience, and that we exist to serve that audience." Did anyone actually read this before it was posted on the website? What it actually says is that the GM’s new programming will create an audience – and the station will gladly serve that (new) audience. The message here is that the current audience doesn’t matter – all that matters is whatever audience (however small or homogeneous) is created with the new programming. The opinions of today's listeners don’t matter, because they are part of the current audience.
In the FAQ, the GM repeatedly mentions all the ‘research’ they’ve undertaken for the past three years. The GM would go a long way to regaining our confidence if the research were actually made available for the KBCS community, just as the auditor’s financial statements are made available via the station’s website. The GM says the research led to these changes – but with the research results kept secret, I’m more likely to believe that the GM is simply making the changes he wants regardless of what the research showed. If the GM doesn’t want anyone to think that, he shouldn’t hide the ‘research’.
With the suddenness and likely irreversibility of these changes (lost volunteer programmers would most likely not return if their former time slots were opened back up months or a year from now), the GM has ensured that current KBCS listeners will feel disenfranchised.
Admittedly, I have a negative opinion of Mr. Ramsey, and not only because his handwritten signature includes a large dollar sign. Although he has worked in public radio for decades, his on-air presence is wooden and much less dynamic than the ‘non-professional’ volunteers who program the rest of the music on the station. The volunteer programmers stretch and challenge themselves by putting together unique shows that reveal the depth and the breadth of their musical genre. But each time he hosts the Hawaiian Radio Connection, for example, Mr. Ramsey tells the same stories and airs the same interviews over and over again, and restricts himself to the same narrow range of music each time. Now when I hear Mr. Ramsey on the air, my first impulse is to turn off the radio; after doing so, I remind myself that, whether I like it or not, it is his station, not mine.
7/23/2009 07:26 AM
KBCS is unique and serves a niche population that will be otherwise unserved by syndicated programing, and other mass popular type of programing. We already have KUOW, why do we need another station to compete with that? KBCS will lose listenership, not gain it,by this move.
7/23/2009 08:05 AM
I will monitor the situation, since it seems KBCS is on track to bring about the first phase changes. I will vote with my wallet if these changes are unacceptable. At first glance, the elimination of Lunch with Folks will appears to be a very strong negative gesture that substitutes a local effort with a generic one...not a good sign. If they mess with Sunday Bluegrass...I'm outta there.
7/23/2009 09:32 AM
I am SO tired of "save" groups, whenever ANY programming or staff change is made at a noncomm station.
Better solution: get involved in the programming committees or board, to have input before these decisions are made.
7/23/2009 10:17 AM
Why is this happening? Thanks
7/23/2009 11:44 AM
Dear Save,
We all got the letter from Steve Ramsey yesterday, didn't we? Excerpt with my comments and questions inserted: * Expand weekday public affairs programming from 5 to 9 a.m., offering Public Radio International’s The Takeaway from 5 to 8 a.m., followed by Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now! from 8 to 9 a.m. Both shows will be hosted by local community members trained in the KBCS public affairs department. * Bring on longtime KBCS host John Gilbreath every weekday from 9 a.m. to noon. John’s show, The Caravan, will be a daily musical journey touching on many genres, and focusing on his extensive knowledge of jazz, world, and Americana. (TG: Couldn't this actually be an improvement?) * Feature current veteran KBCS hosts weekdays from 12 noon to 3 p.m., who will present programming spanning the breadth of the American music tradition, from the early days of country, folk, blues, and beyond, to today’s singer-songwriters and local artists crafting new music not heard anywhere else. (TG: What or whom do they mean by "veteran KBCS hosts"?) * Expand weekday public affairs programming by offering a re-broadcast of Democracy Now! at 3 p.m., followed by The Michael Eric Dyson Show at 4 p.m. (TG: Too much of a good thing . . . and none of another good thing, the Daily Planet show that is in this slot now.) * Air locally produced programs Listen Up Northwest, Voices of Diversity, and One World Report weekdays at 5 p.m., as well as syndicated programs Counterspin, Grit Radio, and Sound of Young America. * Round out evening weekday public affairs with Hard Knock Radio from 6 to 7 p.m., with 6 p.m. headlines from Free Speech Radio News. As in the morning, the entire afternoon lineup of public affairs programming will be hosted by local community members.
As with any growth and change, we’ve had to make some tough choices. The programming plan discontinues Drive Time Jazz weekday mornings, Daily Planet weekday afternoons, The Bud & Don Show Monday mornings, BeBop Spoken Here Tuesday mornings, and 20th Century Jazz: The First Half and Vintage Jazz Wednesday and Thursday mornings. While Lunch With Folks is technically being discontinued, its format will form the core of the new music programming we’ll be offering every weekday from noon to 3 pm. Additionally, KBCS is currently exploring ways in which some of these programs can continue to be offered through our streaming audio archive. (TG: This sounds very innocuous, but it smells like a smoke screen. Why do I doubt their sincerity?)
These have been exceedingly difficult decisions to reach, decisions which we do not take lightly, and which were made only after extensive consideration of how we can best serve our audience. We acknowledge and pay tribute to these many talented and dedicated programmers who have added tremendously to the KBCS community for many years, and hope that they continue to be a part of KBCS and its future.
We’re always astounded by the generosity and dedication of our programmers, volunteers, and all of the people who are working together to build KBCS as a community resource. We believe the changes outlined here will have a profoundly positive effect on KBCS, and will deepen our service to the community through the programming we offer.
TG: What do they have in mind for weekends? That's when I listen most.
I liked it when they started adding in a few alternative news/public affairs programs, but this is overdoing it.
Is it not less expensive to produce local programs with volunteers than to pay for canned syndicated programs?
* Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you? (TG: Yes, less valuable)
* Are you a member/supporter/volunteer? (TG: I listen to KUOW more, but I send more money to KBCS because they need it more and use it more effectively . . . or at least they DID.)
* How would these changes affect your participation and support? (TG: If they take away the programs I listen to and replace them with ticky-tacky programs that all sound just the same, I obviously won't be motivated to listen to KBCS.
Good luck folks . . . I am not very optimistic about this. We might have to start our own station. Maybe we could house in the co-op dance hall, restaurant, bar, and performance space we should start also!)
7/23/2009 12:29 PM
I've been a paying member of KBCS for several years and I vow never to contribute a dime to the station if any of the 9-12 jazz programs are cut. It is because of the exceptionally good taste and charisma of hosts like Joni Nelson, Bernie Goldberg, Bud, and Al Barnes that I have felt compelled to donate money during each fund drive. So much of the great music played on these shows can't be heard anywhere else on the radio. While there are a few other KBCS programs I enjoy, any station whose management would even consider taking these shows off the air has no soul and is unworthy of my financial support. I have no doubt that most if not all of my friends who contribute to the station feel exactly the same as myself and will act accordingly. I've found this to be true with those I've so far spoken to. To think that five days a week John Gilbreath, who has been hosting what is by far the worst music program on the station, will be polluting the radio with his "jazz" or whatever he calls it makes the blow all the greater. If these changes do indeed take play, I expect KBCS to have much more trouble raising funds in the future and will likely cease to exist in the near future.
7/23/2009 03:31 PM
7/23/2009 05:33 PM
Hello to all,
This is the email I sent to KBCS... it took a long time! (and it's very long and wordy... that's how I am... I'd be a terrible radio host).
I feel very strongly that these particular changes are a huge mistake for the station! I also feel very strongly that how it all came down is another huge mistake.
Like so many others, I have to express my dismay to the station managers. I have some hope... perhaps, perhaps it's not too late. It could happen....
And I know I might be very disappointed.
Some of you don't know me (and some of you know me by another email address)... but I have a deep appreciation for what you do. And I can't imagine not being able to hear your voices and choices on KBCS. I know there are more of you whose contact info I don't have, please spread the word to all that many of us are feeling a tremendous loss.
7/24/2009 11:06 AM
I am a daily listener to KBCS and have been for close to 20 years, if not more. I am also a financial supporter of KBCS and have been for many years, increasing my donation as my own income has increased over time. I am deeply concerned and angered to learn about the proposed changes to KBCS programming. If these changes continue to go into effect, I will cease listening and supporting KBCS on principle and it will be a very sad day for me and many many others throughout this extended community. Just yesterday I learned that John Midgley is no longer doing his drive time jazz program. I thought there was going to be time for audience feedback and input and suddenly these changes are being made. Please stop this train and turn back!!
I always listen to Lunch with Folks when in my car or at home during the day and the possibility that these many wonderful and knowledgeable volunteer DJ's might be replaced by some canned Americana show with paid DJs is of great concern. Please don't take away these volunteer DJs who are a part of this vibrant music community. Drive Time Jazz is listened to by many people I know and they are more than upset to know that their beloved DJs such as Johny Midgley are to be replaced by one paid host. Earshot Jazz does not represent the diversity of jazz that is represented byt the many great volunteer DJs that are on currently. Other DJs and that I value are Eric Hardee on Folksounds and Rus Thompson on Road Songs as well as Jean and Hal who do these Tuesday night shows. I look forward to these particular shows each week and also try to tune into Womannotes and The Lounge Room as often as I can. I also appreciate the extensive knowledge and playlists of Kevin O'Connor and Dave Long and Dru Druzianich and so many others. To replace any of these volunteer DJs with paid DJs or canned shows made somewhere else would be a crime! I also listen to Saturday Tradition and Sunday Folks and have not heard about changes to these prgrams. But I am worried for their future as well if KBCS continues to go in this direction. Please don't do this to KBCS's devoted listening community. A few years ago when KBCS added Democracy Now I worried, about how this would affect the music programming. But I have appreciated the program and listen to it in the early evening on my way home from work. But I know what I am listening to is a repeat of a show done at another time and often that frustrates me. I can listen to Democracy Now on my computer or find it on one of the education channels of my TV, so having it on KBCS is fine and I know it is well supported and much appreciated, but it's not a necessity for me. The music is a vital part of my life and I can't access the knowledge of these volunteer DJs anywhere else. We can find Democracy Now many other places and we will if KBCS makes these changes to its music programming. I will NOT LISTEN and will NOT SUPPORT the station if it goes in this direction.
Here's what you need to know: KBCS is UNIQUE. It is not and should not be like "all the other stations" that you learn about when your station managers and program directors go to these conferences. To the NEW Station Manager and NEW Program Director: This is not YOUR radio station; it is a Community Based Radio Station. That's what YOU have told us--that this is OUR radio station. So please listent to the feedback you are getting and don't just ignore us. WIthout our support you will lose a valuable audience base and funding support.
To the President of Bellevue College--Please do not let this happen. Please look into the history of this radio station and into what has happened most recently. Look and see how these two new key people were hired and ask yourself whether it was a fair process and whether they have the interests of the KBCS listening community at heart. We have long appreciated that Bellevue College supports this radio station. Please do what is right by it. Thank you for this opportunity.
7/24/2009 12:32 PM
I am writing because the changes scheduled to take effect at KBCS have been brought to my attention.
I will be honest with you - as I live in California I do not listen to KBCS, but as a publicist and promoter of African and world music (and a lover of lots of different kinds of music including jazz and blues), I know stuff I send gets played, and I know that public, community radio that features this kind of diverse programming is a valuable and increasingly threatened resource that should be preserved at all cost.
Especially as you've got volunteers who are willing to keep these programs going, I urge the management of KBCS to spare any cuts to world music or jazz or similar programming.
7/24/2009 01:40 PM
I am a long-time member and listener. I have been dismayed by the direction of KBCS programming for years and, consequently, am one of those who spends, probably, 80% of my time listening to KSER. I am always very distressed by cancelling a unique program in favor of a program already available to me (the Takeaway and Counterspin). While I do sometimes listen to those shows, it reduces my choices to have them available on two different places. Only one is necessary to me. Nonetheless, I have continued to support the station to the best of my ability, financially.
One direction which loses me is making the music programming less specific. For example, Daily Planet really never worked for me (it was a reduction in Lunch with Folks time). Certainly I enjoy some music from other countries--I enjoy the Africa show on Thursdays, for instance). But, the world is a very broad concept. On any given "world" show, there will be music I don't like--so I don't usually start listening to it, or I change the station when the music I don't like comes on.
Along with Daily Planet, the other thing which was carved out of the original Lunch with Folks time was added public affairs. I love Democracy Now (but it was available on KSER before KBCS started running it--again, that duplication does not serve me). At this point, there is so much "talk" that I don't listen to any of it. It goes on and on and on, so recently I've started turning my radio off altogether during that time and playing CD's instead.
Now, as I understand it, all these changes go in the three directions which don't work for me: making music programming even LESS specific, adding "talk", and adding shows already available on other stations. I will give the music shows a listen, but I think KBCS may have finally lost my support altogether. I "paid up" my membership last Fall; whether I do so again remains to be seen. I will listen to "folk Sounds" and the Celtic show as long as they are still on--but I don't see much else I'm likely to be drawn to.
7/24/2009 04:03 PM
Dear Community Radio Advocates, I've been putting off writing my response because I don't know how to articulately express my outrage and severe disappointment with the music programming changes. My radio is frequently tuned to KBCS. Some of my favorite shows are Lunch with Folks, Walkin' the Floor, Sunday Folks, Bluegrass Ramble. I have appreciated the support KBCS has given to local musicians, e.g., interviews, promoting gigs, playing our music. I speak as a 30 yr. veteran of folk music performing in the Seattle area. I frequently tuned in to hear particular DJs...Christine, Sean, Dave Long, Dru, Tracey and many more, including Steve Ramsay when he occasionally hosted the Hawaii Radio program. KBCS will suffer a major loss of their extensive knowledge of and passion for their music and stories. I'm sorry but this literally makes me sick to my stomach and incredibly sad. I don't expect to support KBCS either by tuning in or my small (but important!) yearly contribution if/when the changes take place. I have read the email outlining the programming changes and attempting to explain the reasons. I'm sorry to say I cannot find anything in the letter that will lessen my sadness and outrage.
7/24/2009 05:45 PM
It looks like the suits are taking over yet another unique expression of a community and wanting to install a "sameness" that can be more easily managed and packaged for mass consumption. The demise of said suits can only come too quickly. DON'T FIX IT IF IT AIN'T BROKE! All we need is another "Wallmart of the air". If it goes through, remind me not to kick in any of my green stuff ever again! I've listened to KBCE for over 20 years. It don't need fixing.
7/24/2009 10:40 PM
Since the changes were announced on KBCS I have changed the preset in my car. I have given money to KBCS in the past but now it is like the Seattle PI in my mind, it is gone.
7/24/2009 11:22 PM
I am a monthly contributor to KBCS because I love the programming. Especially, Lunch with Folks. The current format with local hosts is really unique and incredibly enjoyable each day because of the different personalities. Please don't mess with this format!!!!
7/24/2009 11:51 PM
I am a current KBCS fringe listener. I will be listening to KBCS more now that these programming changes are happening and may even contribute money. From what I understand about the programming changes, music will still be played, news will still be delivered, but the hosts will be different. Saying that KBCS can never change is like a third-grader telling his/her teacher that their short story is perfect and can’t be edited.
Community stations are vital institutions. The airwaves are still public properties. If you’ve been doing the same show for five years or more, maybe it’s time for a break. From what I hear on KBCS, radio is not rocket science.
Putting KBCS in the same boat with commercial, corporate stations is terribly inaccurate. Don’t say this, people. Don’t even kid about it.
I agree with a policy of not discussing the Save KBCS website on the air, or using airtime to share personal views on the changes. I would change stations immediately. Play good music, talk about artists, and keep my toes tapping.
7/25/2009 9:51 AM
As a listener-member of KBCS, I am writing to inform you of my strong opposition to the proposed program changes at the station. The wide variety of musical programming and the knowledgeable volunteers are the primary reasons I listen to and support KBCS. There is already too much canned programming and news talk on the radio dial. KBCS should not give up its uniqueness.
My favorite programs, which I listen to regularly are: Sunday's Hornpipe, Lunch with Folks, Daily Planet, and the morning jazz programs -- all staffed with knowledgeable, enthusiastic volunteers.
If the music I love and the volunteers I appreciate are removed from your programming, I will stop listening and I will stop donating to KBCS.
I urge you to maintain the fine programming at KBCS as it is.
7/25/2009 10:56 AM
Lunch with folks is our focus of a day, especially Shawn Donovan, Ginger Hopper and Dave Long. Daily Planet is our afternoon enjoyable time especially when Sharon Stevens is on. We love the music program on 91.3, the rest is garbage as far as we are concern. We much prefer NPR political hours to those of KBCS. It will be really hard for us without our favorite Lunch with Folks and Daily Planet, especially to a handicapped musician who listened to your programs everyday and planned his days accordingly (and by the way used to be a supporter).
7/25/2009 12:15 PM
Hi folks,
Thanks for taking up this cause. The proposed changes at KBCS are an offense to all of the station's listeners, not to mention the devoted volunteers who are giving the Puget Sound region one of its few truly non-commercial broadcast sources. Commercial, autocratic values seem poised to strike another blow at popular culture with these proposed changes.
Please put me on your email list and keep me informed about ways to protest.
7/25/2009 04:25 PM
Please be informed that in response to the changes at KBCS I have removed the station from my preset and will no longer make contributions to the station.
Shame on KBCS for abandoning it's tradition.
7/26/2009 02:56 PM
I'm a regular listener and contributor and very concerned about the changes you're making. KBCS has been an important and fantastic community radio station and exciting place for local diversity. I appreciate your effort to try and improve KBCS'financial sustainability and have read all the info about the changes on your web site.
The reduction in music is too large and the approach that cuts community dj's with great expertise is off the mark. It's something that I look forward to and adds uniqueness and expert diverse credibility to the station. I don't agree with the cutting of Lunch with Folk, Daily Planet and Caravan. The jazz changes are also a loss.
The Sound of Young America show looks a lot less strong than listerner buildup you could probably get with more attention to increasing programming with young Americans in our area. I know you do a bit of that. I also suggest stronger marketing efforts locally and internationally and thru social networks.
Thanks for your commitment to KBCS, but please look for solutions that capitalize on the volunteer and dedicated community, not cut it or the music and diversity that has made KBCS so valued. Right now, I'm a committed contributor and listener, but I am dissappointed that these changes look like they may serve my interests less. I'll listen and watch to see what you do, but these cuts in music programmnig and mushing of the programming isn't tugging at my wallet for the next contribution.
7/27/2009 09:02 AM
I don't like the proposed changes to programming at KBCS. I will especially miss the old jazz programs on Wed. & Thurs. mornings. I think I may actually go through physical withdrawal if I don't get my fix of Joanie with her Gitane music & Al Barnes with the old jazz. I love these shows. I don't want to turn my radio on & just have talk radio. I want music!
All the justifications have been explained to me so I know why it's happening but I'm still not happy about this. The only station that offers this kind of music & it's going away. It's a sad, sad day.
7/27/2009 09:45 AM
The best part of KBCS, that which distinguishes it from every other radio station in the country, is its unique variety of music programming and the volunteer programmers. Even the slowest witted in the ranks of management must realize that replacing volunteers with paid programmers does not cut costs. Quit obviously a diversity of ideas is not to be tolerated. What could these people be thinking?
7/28/2009 02:11 PM
Hopefully this is not "a day late and a dollar short", but here goes.
KBCS has been an important part of my life ever since I moved to Seattle 12 years ago. In that time I have been a listener, supporter, programmer (Lunch With Folks 1998-2002), and musician (whose recordings have received occasional airplay). It is impossible to describe the wonder and excitement I first felt on discovering this local oasis for music. In my hometown several years earlier, I had witnessed a fine community radio station taken over and drastically changed by an "activist" program director who also cited Arbitron statistics to justify his agenda. The current situation feels eerily similar to me.
I believe that the proposed KBCS programming changes are drastic and unnecessary, and would destroy the unique character of our beloved community oasis. The diversity of programming would be dramatically reduced in favor of homogenization and predictability. And to pay some programmers and not others would poison the atmosphere of camaraderie that is part and parcel of the community radio experience. The argument that the station needs these changes to survive is disingenuous. Basically it is a scare tactic. In their letter to supporters, station management has shown no solid evidence to support their claims. Virtually all organizations are suffering in this economic climate...reduced contributions are but a reflection of this, and do not mean that KBCS is doing anything wrong.
I hope that Jean Floten (BCC president) will help us to defend KBCS from a misguided and irresponsible management, and prevent these changes from taking effect.
7/28/2009 03:11 PM
Good Hot Afternoon, SaveKBCS!
I have several anecdotes I wish to share regarding KBCS. These anecdotes touch on how the station has played a very important role in my life and the lives of those I love over the past two years. I hope the telling of these few stories will add weight to the arguments against the impending changes.
First, I have recently reentered the workforce after over fifteen months of forced unemployment. I tried during that period to be as useful around our home as possible. Al Barnes has entertained me while installing sheetrock in a remodeled bathroom. Joanie Nelson was with me when I installed the tile floor. Matrayi kept me company while I pulled electrical cable. All in all, KBCS djs have been my companions while installing a new furnace, rebuilding two bathrooms, insulating the attic, repainting a bedroom, hanging several ceiling fans, reseeding a lawn, two plantings of a garden (yes, I haul a radio out to the deck as several djs have advised), and much, much more. To say nothing about their presence during countless trips to Home Depot! During my search for employment, KBCS was turned on before I brewed my first cup of coffee in the morning until Democracy Now came on at 5 pm.
You see, I use KBCS for its music programming. I find it difficult to concentrate on projects with talk in the background. I get all my news coverage over the internet, from sources such as, the New York Times, and others.
Pandora and other web-based music sources didn’t work for me… I have one computer, a tower, and couldn’t move it from room to room to follow the flow of work around the house. I did, however, have a radio in almost every room, and all of them stayed perpetually on KBCS. When I needed a news break, I sat down at the computer, read up, then returned to the task at hand. Similarly, my cable provider, Comcast, does not have a music channel that can match the diversity nor the folk focus that I love so much.
Another anecdote I’d like to share involves my parents, 87 and 89, living in Erie, PA. They are amazingly computer savvy for their age. One day I called them and talked them through how to find Al’s archived Vintage Jazz program. They became addicts of Al’s and Joanie’s programming. My Mom called one day, nearly in tears, to tell me that for her and Dad, those two shows transported them back to their days as kids, back to the days when they were dating. As more and more of their dear friends depart this world, the chance to touch their youth in this way has proved very therapeutic.
I’d also like to relate that I’ve passed on the link to The Gospel Highway to a dear friend in Maine who loves gospel, whose husband is an ordained pastor… both of them have used the archive repeatedly since I told them about the service.
KBCS has provided my wife and I with new artists to research, new CDs to request at the library; I seriously fear the loss of this source of new ideas, new inspiration in our lives.
Now that I’m gainfully employed again, my opportunities to listen to KBCS are seriously impacted. My employer has a rather small server and has asked us not to stream music. I am left to absorb as much music as possible over the weekend. My greatest fear? That the changes identified are only the beginning, and in the future I will find my weekend listening impacted, too. I can only hope that those fears are never realized!
7/28/2009 04:44 PM
In this era of homogenization, community radio stations, and a very few college radio stations supported by the communities they are situated within, are the only diverse audio media still available without charge to the public, and have not yet been undercut by the ‘lowest common denominator’ mentality. Why would you want to resort to a program schedule that discards that?
Do you really want to lose the vast musical knowledge of your DJs that doggedly show up for their shows and impart a ton of information, especially through the music shows, to your listening audience?
Community radio stations across the U.S. are there mainly for the benefit of the local audience, although web-streaming may contribute to grander ideas. These stations provide outlets for community volunteers to actively participate as broadcasters, bringing their own experiences to the airwaves. Locally produced by non-professionals, on a volunteer basis. Sounds like you’re moving away from that concept. Sounds like you’re becoming a watered-down version of what makes community radio so powerful. Sounds like you want to find that lowest common denominator. Sounds like you’ve given up.
7/29/2009 01:36 PM
is my impression, after recieving a summary letter from station management detailing all the deletions & additions.
Losing the jazz programming is no loss, have 88.5 KPLU daytimes for jazz with alot better signal. Your "homoginized" adjective seems to translate to meaning there will be a paid single programmer, which is not ideal but he is local and claims to keep the same music content as Lunch With Folks.... so is this really all THAT bad? They are proposing to be comparible with much of KSER's news programming, with a few unknowns to me. I'd say, give em a chance.
7/29/2009 03:55 PM
Just found your site. Have to say it -- every single one of these proposals sucks. I'm reasonably certain that I'd stop donating to KBCS fundraisers if they get implemented.
7/29/2009 04:09 PM
I listen because of the programing the way it is now. I would greatly miss lunch with folks, one of my favorite programs. I have been a listener for the past 25 years. If I was better off I would support the programs I listen to the most. The changes proposed would change the special charterer of the station. In this world today KBCS 's progaming has made it the best station in seattle metro area. Music in all of forms is what this station means to me. Plase don't change it.
7/29/2009 07:19 PM
I MIGHT listen for a while to see if I liked it but I might have to regretfully move on. That would make me very sad.
7/29/2009 08:49 PM
Hi there,
My name is Margaret. I moved to Seattle in 2006 and have recently discovered KBCS. When I moved here, I listened almost exclusively to KEXP (I began listening while still living in CT). More & more often now I listen to your radio station. Typically, I will listen to morning jazz on Wednesdays and Thursdays only - I enjoy the "vintage" sets, and I especially enjoy Joannie and her sense of humor (not to mention her gypsy set). I have also been listening to Lunch With Folks every weekday - I enjoy the way that the programming changes a little each day and reflects the differences in the DJ's taste.
I still listen to KEXP and will return there on weekday mornings if the Wed & Thursday Jazz programming changes. I've tried listening on Mon, Tues, & Friday but I'm afraid it's really not "my kind of thing". When it comes to most stations, I can get tired of hearing the same DJ's every single day and I've enjoyed the way that KBCS rotates their personnel. I appreciate a station that values diversity and expresses it not only through their programming, but also through their DJ's. Also, I appreciate a station that offers a large number of music enthusiasts access to the airways and an opportunity to share their knowledge and passion. I am surprised that KBCS would be willing to sacrifice such diversity & access and I wonder why the station would make such a choice.I hope that KBCS will reconsider its planned changes.
7/29/2009 09:52 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.
7/29/2009 10:48 PM
I have been supporting KBCS for over 10 years and it upsets me to see these changes happening. This year I donated $500 to help out the station in its time of need even though I am unemployed and couldn't really afford the donation. What made me donate anyway what that I knew that without my donation, the station would be in a hardship.
Tuesday through Friday mornings I listen to: Bebop Spoken Here 20th Century Jazz Vintage Jazz The Caravan Each afternoon I listen to Lunch with Folks, Daily Planet, and Democracy Now. Except for Democracy now, all the programs I listen to will be replaced, or changed in their format.
I also contribute to KSER in Everett, and KAOS in Olympia. I will have to think very hard about whether to donate to KCBS after the changes take effect. While I want to support community programming, I also want my community to be involved in the station. I also want my contribution, to go towards the programs I listen to, not canned programming. I scraped together a large donation during these hard times and now feel that my donation is not going to the programs I support. I feel that my dollar "votes" counted towards nothing. When these changes go through, I will have no reason to listen to KBCS anymore, and my donations will be sent directly to Democracy now, and the other community radio stations that still include their community in their community radio station.
7/30/2009 12:16 AM
So...your idea to 'save kbcs' is to continue the type of programming that has led to the steady decline of listership for the last few years?
It's interesting that the folks who want to 'save kbcs' want to save it so they can continue their singular shows for their own ego-driven reasons, and have no interest in learning that change is necessary and that we are not currently serving our listeners?
KBCS will not continue as a radio station in its current format. But most of the members of 'save kbcs' rarely listen to the other shows on the station--don't come to regular volunteer meetings, and generally don't participate in radio station functions. They want to continue in their little club and don't really care what the greater listnership desires. There are a handful of avid listeners who complain about the loss of some shows, but they are the vocal minority.
it would be great if 'save kbcs' could report events with actual facts instead of biased opinion.
7/30/2009 06:59 AM
On 7/16/09-7/28/09 Bellevue College responded to "Save KBCS" concerns: "They recognized that they should be more transparent and inclusive in making future changes." That is an obvious understatement but it is good that BC admits there error.
" They are convinced that adding more public affairs programming will increase listener-ship." This may be true but they will lose this listener!" Program Director explained he wants to hand-pick music DJs for a certain “sound.”" I am always struck by the gall of people who know what is "best" for "us", the customer. Did the Director do a survey to determine this view or is he clarivoient? Curious.
7/30/2009 10:16 AM
I recently sent the attached letter to Bellevue College. I hope it does some good.Dear President Floten:
I was saddened to hear that the management a KBCS is planning extensive changes in station programming, and particularly by what seems to be the nature of the changes planned. I wish to voice my opposition to any changes that will alter the fundamental nature of the station, which is currently the best community station I have ever heard.
One of the major problems with the media in the United States is the increasing homogenization of the content. We hear the same news no matter where we live, and the same music. When my wife Dorothy and I discovered KBCS, we were extremely pleased to find a station that reflected so well the Seattle community and to learn that most of the on-air personnel are volunteers. The station struck us as a marvelous community effort.
Although I do not know, of course, the details of what is planned for the station, what we have heard and what management has written strongly suggests that the station is going to be homogenized, with more of the same old music and the same old media news from public radio. We hope we are wrong, of course.
The proposed changes, the station management says, are being made because of recent fund-raising problems. Did they consider that the current fund-raising problems might be at least partly the result of the economic difficulties in this country? Do they have any evidence the proposed changes will encourage listeners to make contributions? The indications would seem to be that you will lose most of your listeners, without offering much to attract new listeners. There is hardly a crying need in Seattle for more NPR programming.
My wife donates considerable money and time to the station. I can assure you that will cease if the changes turn out to be what we fear. Of course, the loss of community support may not be of any real concern to station management since it is likely that it has other sources of funding in mind.
We suggest that you listen to the volunteers and schedule a meeting at which the problems of the station are discussed and possible solutions are evaluated. If you are a public radio station, you owe that much to your volunteers and their supporters.
We strongly request that your reconsider your programming changes and work with the station volunteers, whose work constitutes what is valuable in the station.
7/30/2009 11:28 AM
This is a heartfelt plea from a longtime and avid listener to please leave KBCS programming and DJ system the way it is currently.
I do not agree with the proposed changes as I understand them. KBCS has a unique “sound” or actually, diversity of ‘sounds’ the way it is now set up, the abilities and personalities of the various hosts are wonderful, and very personal. We in the community treasure that. It is rare these days to have that quality in a radio station.
Please consider this in your deliberations.
7/30/2009 11:42 AM
Dear Mr. Graff, I am appalled at the changes that your and your fellow KBCS managers have planned for the station. I've been listening to KBCS since 1981 and contributing money every year since I discovered it. I love the diverse programming, especially the volunteer hosts who present Lunch With Folks, Daily Planet and the vintage jazz programming. Many of the volunteer DJs have been hosting their programs for 10-20 years and have tremendous knowledge about their area of music. There is no where else in Seattle where I can hear new singer-songwriters, bluegrass, the Grateful Dead, Celtic, Balkan, Quebecois, Cuban and African music, blues, Appalachian and other roots music; pre WWII jazz, live on-air interviews with national and international folk musicians, 15th century European music, etc.
If Bellevue College permits you to make the changes you've outlined, we will lose our only community-based radio station. If I want to listen to watered-down jazz, I can tune in to KPLU; if I want 24-hour talk radio, there's KUOW. If I want old rock I can find that on several channels. But ONLY KBCS provides the incredible variety of music and skilled DJs to program that music and put it in contex for the listeners. KBCS managers make up the only constituency for your ill-advised programming changes. There is no groundswell of support, no grass roots begging for these changes. To the contrary, hundreds of listeners have written to KBCS promising to cut off financial support if our favorite DJs are axed and replaced with paid hosts who will play homogenized, impersonal Clear Channel types of shows.
Of course contributions are somewhat lower than usual - we're in a deep recession! You have not released any figures to the public, nor have you explained why PAYING hosts is going to help the station's bottom line. We KBCS listeners are fiercely loyal to our favorite DJs, to the music we love, and to what we thought was OUR community radio station. Mess with the programming, and see how fast we stop sending in money. This is a crackpot scheme. We listeners resent not only the changes you propose but the fact that you presented it as a "done deal" with no input from listeners.
Your changes will result in the loss of hundreds, perhaps thousands of member-listeners. You haven't presented any evidence that anybody but you wants this new programming, or that the new programming and DJs will result in higher revenue. You are abusing your power as station manager to destroy the best radio station in Seattle. You and your colleagues are behaving in a manner that is arrogant, dictatorial and unresponsive to your constituency. You are conducting a virtual coup. You've threatened the DJs who oppose your changes with loss of their jobs if they say anything on the air to oppose the new programming. So much for the First Amendment.What happened to the community aspect of KBCS COMMUNITY RADIO?
Why the rush? We listeners provide 80% of the funds necessary to keep the station going. Why were we not consulted? You must hold a community meeting to get input from the listeners! You are our agent and owe us a duty of transparency and accountability. You may have convinced Dean Talbott and President Floten that your ideas are good ones, but the listeners are in full revolt against your plan. The only notice the listeners received was a self-serving and misleading letter sent out last week. That was insulting.
The station may be licensed to Bellevue College, but it is a public good and it belongs to the public. If you implement the planned programming changes, you are violating the college's FCC license to operate a COMMUNITY radio station and. This will put BC at risk for litigation from disgruntled listeners. At the very least, you will lose tens of thousands of dollars from listeners who will cut off contributions. Count me among the group who will no longer support a Clear Channel destruction of what used to be the best community radio station on the West Coast.
7/30/2009 12:16 PM
I don't agree with what I'm told you are doing to your programming schedule at KBCS. Music is important. Your traditional programming is a welcome breath of fresh air. Shame on you for going the route of too many politicians today eliminating or reducing exposure to the really important things like education, the arts, music, physical education for the sake of a $. If you go down this road you will live to regret this ill placed decision.
7/30/2009 01:44 PM
I am a long time supporter of KBCS and I am appalled that the music programming that is such a big part of the quality of my life is going to be axed. Especially damaging is the complete loss of the Daily Planet. I PROMISE THAT MY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE STATION WILL BE SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED IF THESE CHANGES ARE DONE.
7/31/2009 12:57 PM
Brand image, is that what it's come down to? I was talking to someone at KSER yesterday and they told me their station is run by three people. Why can't KBCS pare back down to the way they started, and keep the integrity of the programming, perhaps adding in one or two of the new programs here and there, and keeping the volunteer hosts and shows? I'm sure if an honest case were put to the loyal listeners (over 500 have commented now), we could cough up enough extra money to keep things running as they have been, in a more economical fashion.
Have you read the comment by the host of "River City Folk" (at 12:00 PM 7/12/2009) on the SaveKBCS comment page? I would seriously consider what he has to say. Why not just get back to basics and keep everyone happy (except perhaps Ramsey & Graff)?
This is a big gamble. You are risking losing the station altogether if you attempt to get more expensive and slick in these tight economic times.
Thank you for reconsidering this risky and unpopular move.
7/31/2009 01:59 PM
8/01/2009 12:10 AM
To all concerned parties:
I don't understand how you can fail to appreciate the wonderful work of your volunteer DJs or to value them enough to keep them on. Shows like Lunch With Folks are exactly what makes KBCS special and the reason that many of us have been listening for a long time. Your excuse that listenership is dropping makes no sense, if you are so willing to lose the loyal listeners you have now. Deciding to take more control over programming by paying a few DJs must be a terrible slap in the face to your excellent volunteers, and make those remaining feel quite insecure about keeping their own programs, and it shows no regard for your audience either. Ultimately the new programming also seems to feature far less actual music.
How can all of you so blatantly ignore the voices raised on behalf of Lunch With Folks, et al? Everyone seems to register our complaints and then disregard the listeners and go right on with your plans. You don't seem to care what your listeners want, and at this rate, I expect you will drive us away to other excellent and varied stations that allow their volunteers a free hand.
I have written a number of times already and begin to feel redundant and ignored. So let me say it one last time. Save the KBCS volunteers and their terrific programs. Don't steamroll them with your new policies and programming. It is grossly unfair to all parties.
8/01/2009 11:02 AM
Dear folks at KBCS,
I am a member of KBCS. I am upset and saddened to hear that you will no longer be airing Lunch with Folks and Daily Planet on weekday afternoons. I listen to these shows regularly while at work and enjoy them very much. It is an opportunity to hear local, national, and international music which is not available anywhere else on the radio. I particularly like the variety of Daily Planet. Democracy Now is a poor substitute, and I will be tuning out KBCS. I listen to music and not news while I am at work. If I want to listen to news, I much prefer NPR for news.
I think KBCS should stick to it's strong The wide variety available on KBCS has broadened my horizons. In particular, Daily Planet and Lunch with Folks are a great outlet and spotlight for local musicians. Please bring back these two programs. I understand that contributions are down, but that is more likely a function of the economy where all charitable contributions have suffered. In my family, my wife has been laid off, so our ability to contribute to a variety of organizations has been reduced.
KBCS does lots of great things. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your consideration.
8/01/2009 11:14 AM
I strongly oppose the proposed changes to KBCS. I recently made a membership pledge. I will not renew my membership if the changes are made.
8/02/2009 09:54 AM
Dear people,
You're right, your process was bad.
Beyond that, trying to homogenize and commercialize your presentation to be more like NPR is awful. We have way way enough of NPR around here with KUOW, Tacoma's 88.5 and KUOW "2" station.........
KUOW's second station has been playing lame morning shows like the TakeAway for most of the last year. This is a terrible, bland, magazine show that gives us nothing substantial that can't be heard on other news shows. Some of your other shows aren't much better that you're adding. We don't need another NPR clone.
Moving your premier Democracy Now show to those time slots kills the ability of working people on regular schedules to hear it either in the a.m. or p.m. either before or after work. terrible.
Givng up so much jazz seems bad, and you're killing the folk center of your culture. There's jazz elsewhere in town but you are the unparalleled number one folk music/culture leader in Puget Sound. You can't get what you offer anywhere else, and its done for free by your volunteers.
No way I'm gonna keep giving you money for this plan. Next time ask first.

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