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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: August 2, 2009 - October 22, 2009.

8/02/2009 07:41 PM
To Program Managers: KBCS is one of the most unique radio stations around. There is an exceptional diversity of areas covered, and the hosts seem particularly knowledgeable about their areas.
Not all the venues appeal to me, but I do find several extremely fun. I would also listen to some music types that I might otherwise miss: 30-40's music, celtic music.
I would dearly miss some of these programs. Most notably, I would miss Lunch with Folks - that would be an exceptional loss in my opinion. I also listen to Sunday Folks and Sunday Hornpipe - easier for me on the weekends. Since I am work regular hours, I had often missed many good programs. Yet I would listen to Lunch w/Folks with Ginger every chance I got. I recently discovered that this is now available to play on a computer after hours, and have been listening to it for the last 2 weeks now after work. Now as this program is being discontinued, I am disappointed.
Please do not discontinue Ginger's Lunch with Folks program. If I begin listening to this program regularly then I would also consider making KBCS part of my donations this year. I had not done so previously since I listened only sporadically.
8/03/2009 08:46 AM
I cant believe it's true, how could long-time volunteers be replaced by paid staff at a non-profit community supported radio station? Were these volunteers offered a chance at the positions they labored at for years with no pay? The roster of shows they are cutting and the list of their replacements reads like a "how to destroy something great" guide book, most certainly brought to you by the "For Dummies" series. Please let us know who is personally in charge of this travesty so that the campaign to destroy them can begin.
8/03/2009 10:32 AM
I am appalled at the changes the KBCS management has 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 music, etc.
If the managers are permitted to make the changes they'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.
The only constituency for management's changes in programming is - the managers! 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! The managers have not released any figures to the public, nor have they 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 on the part of the managers. The changes will result in the loss of hundreds, perhaps thousands of member-listeners. Mangement has presented no evidence to support its view that the new programming will attract a large number of new listeners and result in more revenue from contributors.
Please reconsider your support for the program changes.The management has threatened to fire DJs who would speak against the programming changes on the air. Steve Ramsey and his employees sent one self-serving, misleading letter to members last week, months after they'd made plans to gut the station. We listeners provide 80% of the funds necessary to keep the station going. Why were we not consulted? Why the rush in making these changes? We need a community meeting, at which those of us opposing the changes can present our points of view.
The station may be licensed to Bellevue College, but it is a public good and it belongs to the public. If you allow the programming changes to be made, you are violating your FCC license to operate a COMMUNITY radio station and risk potential litigation from disgruntled listeners.
8/03/2009 01:14 PM
I support KBCS every year. What makes it my favorite radio station is the diverse programming that they offer. Mostly I can only listen on weekends while I'm not at work, but while I'm off for the summer (I'm a teacher), I love the Vintage Jazz shows on Wed and Thursday mornings. As far as I know, this station is the only place to hear music like this. This might affect my willingness to contribute in the future.
8/03/2009 08:57 PM
Sorry that it's taken me a while to get around to responding. I to some extent taking a wait-and-see attitude, as some of what KBCS management has stated in their official announcement didn't sound obviously bad. My two chief concerns are that John Sincock is, I'm told (but not by KBCS nor personally by himself), being dismissed from the station, and that the weekend and Tuesday evening folk programming will eventually be downgraded.
8/04/2009 02:31 PM
I had a very pleasant, if not productive, conversation with Steve Ramsey a week ago. I had a day off from work and had about an hour of absolute free time, so figured it might be a good time to just call and leave a voice mail for him (not many people actually pick up their phones anymore it seems). Well, not only did he pick up his phone, we talked for over a half hour. He was very quick to point out that the listeners have steadily declined over the past 3 years (at least) and there is hard data to confirm this. It is his (and the rest of station management) hope that their increasing the "community" broadcasting will increase their base.
I, of course, pointed out to Mr. Ramsey that I don't need an additional four hours of left wing news broadcast and spin any more than I need four hours of FOX. There are plenty of resources for this. What I DO need, and perhaps not as often as at times in the past right now, but still on a fairly regular basis, is music that I don't get elsewhere, news about what is going on in my local music and dance community and what is going on in the greater arena of music and folk arts, locally and around the world. I could switch to KPLU or KUOW if I wanted 4 hours of drive time news every day.
Because I quit driving to work every morning and evening between Beacon Hill and Lynnwood, trading in my car for a bicycle to commute into downtown Seattle, I don't get my drive time jazz anymore, but the few days I do manage to have to drive, it is the first thing I put on the radio. Sometimes, I break company rules and go for the streaming audio on KBCS at lunch time (I used to be able to do this all the time but my company frowns on it now). And on weekends, when I'm around the house, I'm tuned into KBCS -either via streaming or broadcast.
I will miss the programming and "local feel" of this radio station far more than KBCS will miss my paltry $240/yr in donations. What I tried to point out to Mr. Ramsey was my thoughts about the difference in gaining small potatoes (sounds like a great name for a band) donors such as me and the larger corporate sponsors who want their name in lights and demand a say in what gets aired. OK, I'll admit, for my little donations, I, too, want to have a small say in what gets on the radio. And by withdrawing my donations to KBCS and diverting that small amount to worthy charities in my local neighborhood, I will have had my say. You take my programs away and force me to look elsewhere, I'll look elsewhere with my checkbook, as well. Simple formula. I simply won't participate in the politicizing of yet another radio station that has deep forged roots in the music and dance community in the greater Seattle area.
I wish you folks well in your efforts, though in my discussions with Mr. Ramsey, I came away with his assurances that the station was fully engaged in making the proposed changes, changes which he supports and will actively advocate for, and that there would be more coming down the line.
Not a great day for folk music in Seattle. Let me know where the "next station" is. I'll throw whatever resources I can at it, the same way I've contributed to help get KBCS built up over the past 20 or so years.
8/04/2009 09:52 PM
The following is in response to the proposed changes to KBCS programing which were outlined in a letter from you dated July 16, 2009. My opinion about these changes was not sought prior to the announcement and may be irrelevant now. But I would like you to know that I think you are destroying a unique listening experience by exchanging the richness of the programming produced by your community of volunteer hosts for the limitations of one paid host.
I hope that KBCS thinks better of this before these unwelcome changes are implemented. If not please remove my address from your data base.
8/05/2009 10:16 AM
I'm a supporter of Save KBCS and have written to Jean Floten and to "KBCS listener comments" to express my concern over the proposed changes to programming. I hope we can budge management to reconsider their new plan.
Best of luck to you in your efforts.
8/05/2009 07:14 PM
I think I will be tuning in less because of the changes - if I want news, I'll will listen to NPR as I do now. The loss of the diversity of programming and programmers will greatly affect the appeal of KBCS, I don't see how switching to paid programmers from volunteers will result in a cost savings or increase appeal. Steve Ramsey's asking for final judgment is like "we are going to do it and you will like it!!! " Somehow I think that a major mistake has been made.
8/06/2009 10:36 AM
I discovered your station about five years ago while searching the Internet for the music that I enjoy. That’s when I found Al Barnes’ “Vintage Jazz” and Joanie Nelson’s “20th Century Jazz” on your airwaves. They quickly became my favorite shows and I have listened to them every single week ever since. I am writing to urge... no... to BEG you not to cast them aside.
Please consider, I live in Los Angeles, one of he supposed cultural hubs of the United States. We have six or seven local public radio stations. And none of them, not a single one, has live DJs playing this kind of music. So no matter what your surveys say, no matter how many targeted demographics of teen kids and upwardly mobile Gen-Xers you asked about their interest in this truly American music, I can assure you that Seattle is no different than my town, and that there are thousands of listeners and potential listeners of Al and Joanie right in you back yard.
Instead of hiring a DJ to fill their volunteer slots (or even worse, subscribing to a canned music show), why not take just a small portion of that money and advertise their presence? Present them to your community as the valuable historical resources that they are. Please, I BEG you not to contribute to the cultural homogenization of our country by subscribing to a corporate music package or pumping out even more of the ubiquitous contemporary world music that dominates the public stations of today (and yes, it's “world music” even if it's made in America).
I wish you had let us know this was all being considered before the last pledge drive. If I’d known things were so dire, I would have donated $100, and I am scratching to make a living. I am willing to pay for a live Internet stream. Would any of this help? I doubt it. I am just one person who doesn't live in your neighborhood. I don't know if I even count in your vaunted Arbitron ratings. I can’t fight your focus groups and your outside consultant. Please note, when you hire an outside consultant, the fates are sealed. Of course they are going to suggest radical change. You wouldn’t pay them any money if all they told you to do was to stay the course.
If you are really committed to our global community, you will let Al and Joanie be heard live on the air. It's not the same as the Internet show you’ve offered them, and I can understand why they aren’t interested in that. It’s not as immediate, it’s not as visceral, and it doesn’t connect them to the community—which is what this is all about. So I urge you not to turn you back on our shared American musical heritage. Al and Joanie are treasures, and if you are committed to the community, if you are truly committed to our American community, you will find a place for them on the air. “With great power comes great responsibility.” It’s never too late to have a change of heart.
8/06/2009 08:46 PM
I have e-mailed KBCS to let them know I don't approve of these changes. I have been a supporter of KBCS for 19 years, However, I will not be donating money in the future.
It is quite obvious that KBCS needs a change in management not a change in programing. Money should be spend on promotion of the station. not on consultants and paid DJ's.
The loss of quality programs and music on KBCS will leave a large hole in the cultural community of the Puget Sound.
I will move on to KSER (90.7 FM) and the CBC (92.1 FM & 690 AM). Although both of them are very hard to pick up in Seattle, I will advise others to try a better radio and take the money they will save from KBCS and buy an externial antenna.
Thank you for your effort (even if it is already a lost cause.)
8/07/2009 07:38 AM
Since when is a PAID DJ saving $ over a volunteer DJ? Some moneyed concern is co-opting public options and preferences. This is happening a lot these days.
An individual protest is a body in front of a moving train.
8/07/2009 09:01 PM
As a 33+ year listener of KBCS, I’m replying to Peter Graf's response (which follows below) by asking you that the proposed August 24 Program changes be at least postponed if not cancelled.
For a Community Radio Station to make such wholesale changes that affect over 1/3 of daily programming, three criteria should be present: 1. Significant Listener dissatisfaction with current programming must be apparent. 2. Listener and Staff input needs to be solicited and considered before changes are proposed. 3. Listeners need to have the final say in major Program changes. After all, isn't it the Listeners who are the "Customers" of a Radio Station?
Thus far, KBCS Management has not shown that any of the three criteria have been met! As we say, I want my “Democracy NOW”. It is time to thoroughly air this issue and let the Listeners decide what, if anything, needs to be changed. Until properly aired, such changes are at best unwise, and beg the question: Who will be given the task of picking up the pieces when the Listeners reject the Homogenization of programming at KBCS which is currently a model of Diversity?
Personally, I would be pleased to participate in an on-air discussion of the proposed changes if one is held before August 24.
The price of both Democracy and Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.
8/10/2009 01:43 PM
Dear KBCS,
I've been a listener and donor for many, many years. The news of the changes came as a shock.
For one, nobody asked me about what changes I'd like to see. Since I give money (in the low three figures) every year it would seem to me that my opinion would be important. Guess not.
For another, if Lunch with Folks disappears along with my favorite weekend folk shows (Sunday Folks, Walkin' the Floor, and Our Saturday Tradition) I probably won't be listening to KBCS anymore.
I don't listen to evening programs very often but I really enjoy their mix when I do. I won't miss the morning jazz programs but will find a musical alternative to talk.
I want more and more music on the radio, not more and more talk. I appreciate Pacifica News and Democracy Now but would rather have more Daily Planet than more talk.
8/11/2009 07:18 PM
I have been a listener since moving to Seattle from San Francisco in 1999. I have contributed $10/month almost that whole period.
I am disappointed in the changes (Al Barnes!!) but understand that listeners and contributions are tailing off.
Perhaps engaging the listening community in a solution would be better (everyone contribute more, etc).
KBCS serves a niche market – a well educated audience with a well tempered ear. While additional news programming seems attractive, at the expense of the breadth of the music it is a detriment to your overall quality.
I hope management reconsiders this decision and direction it is taking the station.
8/11/2009 08:09 PM
I'm still appalled, weeks later at such news. I'd like to write a vitriol-y missive, still, if it makes any sense to do so.
8/11/2009 09:49 PM
Dean Talbott: You think the decline in membership is bad now, wait until the station kills Lunch with Folks, Daily Planet and the vintage jazz shows, and substitutes talk radio and Clear Channel programming.
You & President Floten have allowed the station managers to ignore the wishes of hundreds of long-time listeners by presenting us with a fait accompli. You are complicit in destroying a beloved institution - the best community radio station in the Northwest.
Good luck using the new programming to attract loyal listeners. You better hope there is a BIG constituency for talk radio and Clear Channel-type programing. We long-time members will stop giving money to KBCS. It's not our station anymore.
When Steve Ramsey and his colleagues eventually kill our favorite weekend programs, we'll stop listening altogether and start streaming KBOO and KAOS.
8/11/2009 11:24 PM
Bummer////>>>. Big fan of "lunch with folks ", I learned and appreciated the music but : please, oh please, tell me that they are NOT going to take out the Tuesday's :Folksongs and "Road Songs"
I submitted my "protest" when these changes come out but, guess it did not matter. Irritates me, that the "powers' that "be" want to have us, the public, support the station, financially. So, we give out money, without any input from us, that support the station. So...less inclined to give financial again.
When you make contributions, it is always for a "worthy cause"; knowing that the money will enhance the "cause". in this case, they are just taking the money and doing what they want but it is NOT their money, it is OURS, the public.
Great station heading in the wrong direction....I can get public news/programming from 94.9; why would I want to listen to KBCS, other than music?
8/12/2009 06:07 PM
Spent a little time at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA a few days ago. Found this quote from Travels With Charley, ca. 1964:
" We've listened to local radio . . . the mental fare has been as generalized, as packaged, and as undistinguished as the food."
8/13/2009 12:35 PM
Hi There,
Must say I was a little dismayed to here that "Lunch with Folks" is going away, to be replaced with a "contemporary" Americana program ? Not sure what that is, but it sounds rather restrictive in venue to me. I have really enjoyed this program because it plays a good variety of music, including my favorites (bluegrass and folk), and mixes the traditional with the new, showcasing many of our local artists here in the PNW along with those visiting.
I read the news update on your website and it struck me as odd that if the management is concerned about the bottom line ($$$), they would replace locally generated programs with ones they must pay for, and replace their volunteers with paid broadcasters. Kind of fails the common sense test. When you have enthusiastic, motivated volunteers who are passionate about the music (many are musicians/songwriters) and have a wealth of experience in the program they are doing, how is a paid generic broadcaster going to do better ?
I am also surprised that a survey was not conducted. Maybe too hard to do one for the entire audience, but at least the paying (donating) membership should have had the opportunity to provide comment before a major shift like this was implemented.
So what does this mean for me. I'll probably just turn off the radio and plug in a CD.
8/14/2009 10:17 PM
I hope there is a way to save the music on KBCS 91.3. I listen to all the shows that KBCS plans to cut. If KBCS stops playing good jazz and world music, I will stop listening to KBCS and I will to listen to music elsewhere. Music like this is hard to find so there will be a big void in Seattle if KBCS makes the drastic changes that are planned.
My husband and I have given money to KBCS for several years due to its excellent music. We will not support talk radio though.
8/15/2009 12:55 PM
I do not support the changes being made to KBCS and expect that I will be listening much less often. I've been a supporter for a couple of decades now and usually send several hundred dollars a year in recent years.
I typically listen live to Lunch with Folks everyday, Our Saturday Tradition, Sunday Folks, and Bluegrass Ramble. I listen frequently, either live or via streaming archive, to Folksounds and Walkin' the Floor. I enjoy occasionally Sabor and A Lado Latino and The Old Country. I love listening occasionally to various other programs.
I think KBCS is headed in the wrong direction. I think you should emphasize music, not talk, and should encourage even more talented amateur DJs. Perhaps there are other similar radio stations around the country/world with whom you could share programming.
I feel like one of my best friends is dying and find it hard to believe that KBCS is tone deaf to what to makes it special.
8/16/2009 01:33 PM
Hello I am a member/volunteer.I am very concerned.This is a community supported radio station?I do not feel like I was made aware of these changes.Yes I have answered questions over the few years I have been involved,nothing was anounced about proposed changes,I know nothing of meetings?Why was I not informed via E mail-like I am when there is a pledge drive. KBCS has opened a world of music.Nowhere else have I enjoyed such musical art and it truly has brought me many hours of wonderful listening.I say don't fix something that is not broken!Who did this,who made these choices?I did not pledge my hard earned money to listen to talk radio.The format was great,the dj's are awsome,where is DeCarlo I noticed her name missing I hope she stays involved.Sorry about the long email I will support the save KBCS family.Let me know how I can help
8/17/2009 10:37 AM
I'll tell you what- these changes are troubling. I can only listen to KBCS while I work on most days, and that means "Lunch With Folks", "Daily Planet", "Bebop Spoken Here", "Bluegrass Ramble", "Eh Toi", "Folksounds", "Our Saturday Tradition", "Road Songs", "Sunday Folk", "Hawaii Musical Connection", and "Sunday's Hornpipe". I wish I could hear "The Spice Route", but can't at this time. My point is while I spend a lot of my radio time listening to other stations, KBCS is my refuge and reward. I know I'll hear wonderful stuff there, and warm, local people, too. I'd hate for any of them to go away, and yes, the shows' loss would probably lose my ear. I've read the station's essay on this, and I get it to some degree, but keep in mind that a community radio station, unlike any other broadcast institution, is based on relationships- people from here talking to their friends and fellow citizens. I like the people who put their time, effort, and knowledge into their shows, and if the station's willing to dump the people I want to listen to it's like it's dumping ME.
8/17/2009 10:49 AM
I love KBCS, listen a lot. I quit supporting the station financially because of the relentless editorializing in the news programming. Has anyone questioned whether the political content of the public affairs programming is driving away listers?
For example, do the public affairs programs get pledges to the same degree as the music programs? is anyone asking these questions.
I am politically unaffiliated, I do not belong to a party but I would probably fall somewhere between a conservative democrat and a libertarian. I would object if KBCS started a religious-themed programming format and I would object if the Ayn Rand Institute controlled the news. The programming was perfect under Harriet Baskas (spelling?) about ten years ago.
KBCS has the best music programming I have ever heard; it is a fascinating mix and we will lose something big if it goes away.
Best of luck to you and let me know if I can help.
8/17/2009 12:38 PM
What I love about KBCS is:
Your weekly Lunch with Folks shows (especially those featuring Gator Boy)
MOST OF ALL – the Bluegrass Show on Sunday afternoon
Please do not give these up!
8/17/2009 01:36 PM
I don't like the new proposed format. I just joined at the last fundraiser because of the programming that is now going to be cut. Programs like Daily Planet, which appear everyday, are a unique and important artistic contribution to the community.
8/17/2009 09:24 PM
I don't like the proposed changes to KBCS. I lived in the Bay Area when KPFA lost its unique offerings, and those special shows never came back. Now I never listen. KBCS is being destroyed by the same kind of corporate thinking. We don't need more PBS style talk shows and we don't need generic contemporary music. We need the diverse styles of music that we hear on KCBS and just about nowhere else. WHAT A SHAME!
8/17/2009 11:34 PM
I'm a long-time listener to KBCS, especially in the morning. Is there a way to help protest these changes or is it a done deal?
Two points: 1) I would be willing to make a contribution just to save the a.m. shows 2) Please forward a message to BCC's president: if these changes are made, I can promise that your Arbitron ratings will be even lower than they are now.
Please let me know if I can help in any way. Your current morning shows are the best in America!
8/18/2009 07:54 AM
Hey All,
Are you filing for a court injunction against Bellevue College to stop the changes from taking effect (or to reverse them once they have)? Seems to me that is our only hope now.
8/18/2009 09:15 AM
I am a 5-year donator of three figures to KBCS. I refuse to donate another cent. I listened to Al and Joanie. Joanie made life so sweet with her buoyant attitude. You are the reason I own a radio still. Please - ALL of you KBCS DJs - don't stop what you're doing. I didn't realize how important you were to me until it was too late, although I listened nearly every week. I don't understand how killing off mainstay personalities of Seattle life is going to do anything but harm. I once made a mix-tape for a lady using Joanie's show. I removed all traces of Joanie, Earth & Sky, and Voices To Remember and claimed it was my own. I'm sorry Joanie - but it was a big hit. If KBCS won't support the genius that is all of you, I pray that you start a low-powered FM station or Internet radio station and keep em coming. I would gladly help in any way and would keep donating to you.
8/18/2009 10:17 AM
where is your thinking 2 other stations have NPR news and BBC no one has these great jazz and local music.. BUT you.
8/18/2009 11:15 AM
There are only two weekly radio shows on the dial in all of Seattle that I make a concerted effort to listen to each week. One is Al Barnes' Thursday Vintage Jazz show. Where else will I find a concentrated collection of historical and great music from this era - presented by a knowledgeable host? iTunes? ha, ha, ha.................
Maybe there will be a rare cut scattered around in the new homogenized programming - but I'll bet not frequent enough for me to be the KBCS listener that I (and my wife) have been.
The more we change the more we become the same.
8/18/2009 12:29 PM
I learned of from the Seattle Times newspaper article -- I'm glad you're there, even though today (18-Aug) it seems the battle is lost.
I'm a long-time KBCS fan, and am opposed to the planned changes. I discovered KBCS in 1982, and have been contributing annually since about that time -- I've contributed to the jazz speciality programs. I remember fondly John Elwood, Norm Bobrow, Chuck Smart, Josef Anton Zimbabwe -- these folks we lost due to unavoidable circumstances. The oncoming change is not necessary or even appropriate. I firmly believe that KBCS is about to suicide by driving away many of it's most dedicated listeners.
And you know what's really funny? Right now they're advertising for a new Music Director for KBCS, @ $40k salary.
8/18/2009 12:36 PM
This mail is regarding the recent programming changes at kbcs.
I can't express how dissapointed I am. This move to homogeneity undermines kbcs's very raison d'être . The variety that each host brought was what made kbcs a unique treasure.
I'm a huge fan of John's Caravan show. In fact, his is my favorite show. But as someone who has listened religiously for years, I can say that John's playlist is not unlimited. The variety of the weekday jazz programs was far better than any single host. I can see the logic in moving in the direction of less "niche" jazz programming and more world-influenced music to attract younger listeners, but why the rush to make this change all at once? Why not phase out one or two shows or move them to a different timeslot, and test how that goes.
As far as more news programming, that's the last thing KBCS needs. Democracy Now mostly rehashes the New York Times headlines in accusatory tones, and the more interesting exposes were often previously published in Harpers. I can get loud political voices of every bent on a million websites, but there's only one kbcs in the world. (I get a better angle on the news from the occasional aside Bud Young makes than I do from listening to Amy Goodman everyday.) While I understand the necessity to operate in the black, I have to wonder at what cost. Even though the news programming on kbcs is liberal and ostensibly promotes the values of kbcs, the fact is that it is another voice in the din of homongenized, sensationalist media culture, exactly what kbcs exists to resist.
I once told a friend that kbcs was one of best reasons to live in the Puget Sound region, and I've backed up that sentiment by contributing at every fund drive for the last several years. How sad to hear of these changes.
More than anything, I would like to help. Is there anything I can do to help restore the local variety to kbcs that has been lost in this programming change?
8/18/2009 01:11 PM
“But community radio stations nationwide, particularly urban ones, are losing listeners and changing programming to adapt, said Ginny Berson, vice president and director of federation services for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
" If what you want to hear is jazz, and a particular kind of jazz, mainstream jazz or smooth jazz, you are not dependent on the community radio station that has two hours of jazz on Monday night," Berson said.”
Which direction do you think will entice more listeners? “Canned News?” Please. It’s news I get from alternative online sources (including KCBS), as even NPR has lost any shred of originality.
Music though, I long for from radio. There is no comparison. The Seattle area is woefully deficient in imaginative programming. KBCS revived my day.
Our family is active in the arts and technology communities, and seek out any interesting option. My friends and family from the LA jazz and theater scene find KBCS’ jazz offerings to be the only intelligent option when they are in the Seattle area. You have members from out of state? Kiss ‘em goodbye. The “news” proposed will be the same drivel they can get at home.
Maybe we should revisit our relationship with National Federations.
8/18/2009 02:27 PM
Please know that I am a big fan and modest supporter of KBCS of some years standing. My personal favorites are Bluegrass (does management have any idea of the crowds of people Bluegrass brings?), Folk, and the vintage jazz programs. You DJs are so knowledgeable and provide sort-of a laid-back approach--you are the BEST anywhere.
I am very opposed to the coming changes. "Contemporary" music and news programs are available anywhere at any time--nothing else of your unique style is available.
I support your efforts to SAVE KBCS.
8/18/2009 10:51 PM
I'm very unhappy. I often listen to Daily Planet while working from home in the afternoons. I certainly won't want to listen to a bunch of talk radio, as it will just distract me from my work.
I wish someone had asked me about this. I had planned to increase my annual donation to $500 when my renewal was due in the Fall, but now I'm wondering whether I should even renew. Maybe I'll give $1000 to KEXP instead.
8/19/2009 08:59 AM
A day has gone by since I've absorbed the news of the changes at kbcs.
The thing that hurts the most is the sense of deep betrayal. Not only is KBCS becoming lost in the money jungle, not only did it effectively deny its volunteer DJs and most ardent listeners and contributors of a voice (How did that happen? Who is KBCS if not its DJs?), but it did so while being the one media institution that appeared to be the most thriving example of a viable alternative to consumerist consolidation. That consolidation is so bad for our world. It is destroying the variety of the food we eat, the music we listen to, and the experiences we have. KBCS was a joyous example of an alternative to that reality. And now. And now.... If KBCS can't survive in this lowest common denominator world, what can?
The idea that you are serving your listeners better by offering syndicated talk radio gets it wrong. You had it right with "music for the talented listener." If you let surveys guide you, you will end up like every other media outlet.
I ask you, please, restore happiness to your DJs, your listeners, and your community. Put your DJs back on the air. Try small changes first. Tighten your belt to save money. Let us know what's in store if we don't contribute more. But above all, don't be afraid to stay small. You have a long way to shrink before you are not vital. This is a strong community. Watering it down, while increasing its volume, will eventually make KBCS irrelevant.
Perhaps you already feel that you made the wrong decision, but that now that "cat is out of the bag." Don't believe it. If you choose now to go back to your old format, even if only partially, your DJs and supporters will lovingly come back. We're like that.
8/19/2009 09:40 AM
I was a member of KBCS solely on the strength of Jazz in the 20th Century and Vintage Jazz. I used to listen to KSER's Let the Twenties Roar. I suppose next KUOW will can 'The Swing Years and Beyond.'
KBCS will not get any more membership renewals from me upon their cancellation of my shows. I support only stations I listen to.
8/19/2009 10:42 PM
When I got an email in early July from a long time KBCS volunteer folk DJ, that no one in the KBCS "community" knew about the KBCS Management changes that would be coming in August. I knew the changes would come no matter what people said or did. The decision was made in secret, behind closed doors many years ago by a select and elitist group. The station had been run into the ground on purpose, and a caste system had been created by paid staff, management above Steve Ramsey, and a "selected" few who would buy into it, against the rest of very the dedicated volunteer staff, paying members and listeners.
Please keep the savekbcs site up even after next week's changes happen at KBCS. Comments will dwindle, but keeping the site up can be used for future referencing as to what happens to KBCS with these changes. As to how KBCS paid staff have manipulated and nontransparent handled these changes. Changes Steve Ramsey started when he came to this station. We need to keep the savekbcs alive for history, and continued referencing to assist in the future challenges. This could go Steve Ramsey's way, or it could go down very badly. The savekbcs history is an effective tool even right now for me to share with others to think about what is going on. About how this manipulative "tearing down" of the station by a "selected" group by Steve Ramsey, his "groomed" staff and a small group of others. It's very important right now to share "our" side with a much larger audience; more important then the volunteers, long time listeners and supporters, like myself. This larger audience needs to be made aware of the lack of transparency, and how "forced" these changes were made. Steve Ramsey does not have the courage, the heart and the ethical communication skills to have made this an open process of change including anyone and everyone. This has been true since he arrived. I do not think/believe this KBCS story is over yet!
I have listened since coming up from Oregon in 1987, been giving at least 20 years. The last god knows how many years, I have cut the membership check, the extra double your money check, and my wife cuts her own membership check. 3 checks a year to KBCS! I have for my entire life been a very eclectic music lover, and will not stop now. I must add that Democracy Now speaks the "truth" to me, but I get it by email, can get it by twitter, TV, computer for free. For the last 12 years I have listened to KBCS "daily", 5-7 days a week, 95% of the time, while working out of my car as a professional dog walker/cat sitter. I took the broadcast class 14 years ago hoping to do a more eclectic show, then the "buy-out" guy going to do watered down Caravan 5 days a week, but was unable to complete it as I was near the finish of a very busy 20 year career in non-profit social services. My wife is an OB nurse for over 20 years in a nonprofit health clinic in Seattle. So, we know the good sides of nonprofit organizations and the bad sides of nonprofit organizations; sorry, sorry.... learning what we have learned in the last 2 months; something I have experienced directly in the nonprofit social service world..... KBCS management has created an elitist, manipulative, secret ( staff meetings with only paid staff, no posting of staff minutes, no board, no advisory board, Bellevue College has little interaction with KBCS, etc.) organization, not radio station. It's Bad Karma, and the potential in the long run is for it to fall apart.
I am still active on the saveKBCS edges and will continue to be in the future.
You folks did GOOD for a long time, and Steve Ramsey and Bellevue College owe you many Thanks You's that you have not received. I say THANK YOU one and all!
8/19/2009 11:46 PM
Here's the text of the message I recently posted at the Organissimo online jazz discussion forum.
The link to the full thread is:

Well, roughly a month has passed with no further interest or response here. The changes are going through regardless of what listener/supporters or volunteers think. R.I.P. community radio as we knew it. Bud Young? Bye-bye! Bernie Goldberg? Bye-bye! Trad jazz? Bye-bye! An alternative to KUOW and KPLU? Bye-bye! Regardless of how Bellevue College and KBCS management choose to "spin" it there's no question in my mind that long-time listener/supporters are being betrayed and abandoned.
FWIW, here's my original e-mail message to Station Manager Steve Ramsey in response to the posting for the full-time Music Director position at KBCS:

I find it interesting that the word "community" is missing from the station's description. It's somewhat ironic that I used my little "horror story" about the demise of WCFE on Daily Planet during the recent fund-drive. Deja vu...
My two cents:
I don't understand how Bellevue College can think that the proposed restructuring is going to be more economically viable. Hiring at least two more full-time staff (the music director and John Gilbreath for starters) is obviously a major expense. And it sounds like KBCS would be competing with KPLU and KUOW on ground that they've already pretty well staked out.
So much for "community" radio... I know that you and Pete are obviously stuck between a rock and a hard place in this scenario. But it sounds to me like BC is abandoning the commitment to providing an alternative to pre-digested "public" radio and in the process will likely alienate long-time listener/supporters. Favorite programs slated to disappear... Folks who recently contributed $$$ for - say - Daily Planet or BeBop Spoken Here may very well feel betrayed. Not to mention the fact that long-time volunteers like Bud Young will be given the heave-ho. I find this very sad the more that I think about it. Hopefully some sort of compromise can be worked out.
Thanks for listening.


I've been through some very similar scenarios in over 30 years of involvement with community, college, public and commercial radio stations. Bottom-line is that the bottom-line is what drives management in all of these stations in the U.S., regardless of what they're called. So-called "public" or "community" radio is forced to compete in the marketplace because of how this society is set-up. The days of yore when "public" broadcasting was called "educational" broadcasting are long, long gone. So is any significant government support.
Around 20 years ago, a friend and former colleague, who is a very business-savvy guy, a long-tome professional in development as well as on-air work, told me that, before long, all public radio would be talk - news and public affairs - with no music, not even mainstream classical. That seems to be the wave of the future all right.
When I'm driving around in the car it's looking more and more like the radio dial will be set to KING-FM, the "commercial" classical station now.
By the way, I never received a response to my e-mail.
8/20/2009 09:26 AM
These are stupid changes. This is simple, if you dump this programming, I and those I know who listen and $ support this radio station will dump you. These changes will build support for XM and Sirius Radio. I am sure they love what you are doing.
8/20/2009 09:32 AM
My favorite KBCS programing is Mon - Fri. 9 am to noon. Without these I will no longer listen or support KBCS with my hard earned money.
8/21/2009 08:55 AM
I just returned from a year in Australia to find one of those things I depend on most going, soon gone. KBCS is taking a blunt axe to jazz, and a sledge hammer to the diversity of voices and experiences I've enjoyed on weekday mornings. Jazz has been my great way to start the day without the yapping of voices and news which forms such an onslaught elsewhere in our daily lives. Drivetime jazz would get me started; a different show every day of the week kept things interesting. I found the experience appealing enough to both contribute to the station a number of times and volunteer during those blocks of time during drives (and the Saturday latin programs as well). Such a great start to the day is what kept my hard-to-focus dial set on KBCS. Now I imagine it will start at KPLU - a station I've complained in the past about their repetitiveness in programming - and it might forget to come back. I've enjoyed John Gilbraith's Caravan show, and don't doubt that I will continue to do so when I catch it in the future - but I think five voices trump one any day, and the last thing we need is less music, less jazz. The yammering is always outside the door; the music is not. I hope this change is VERY temporary.
Please share this with KBCS management and all of the great DJs whose voices will soon be silenced on KBCS.
8/21/2009 11:08 AM
To whom it may concern -- and evidently, it doesn't concern anybody, or the membership would have been consulted before these moves were made -- I am appalled by the recent changes. For years, I have contributed to KBCS regularly for one reason above all: Al Barnes's Vintage Jazz. I owe him a lot: exposure to artists I would never have heard of, such as Annette Hanshaw.
I was in Jimmy's produce market in Ballard yesterday morning, where Vintage Jazz was being piped through the store. I said, "You know, they are discontinuing that program." The reaction of the staff was "No!" I said, yes, I guess they think it's only old coots like me who like this music. "Get out!" said the young woman behind the counter, who is probably 18 or 19. "They are so wrong."
If the station is concerned about the falloff in revenues, maybe they should consider that hard economic times, and plummeting stock market values, have hurt non-profits across the board.
I am afraid the station is going to learn the hard way that kicking out the old members to make way for new isn't always a wise move. I now have no further reason to contribute to KBCS, and don't plan to.
8/21/2009 06:00 PM
Hey folks,
Here is a copy of another flame I sent to the station upon reading their FAQ.To whom it may concern,
I hereby revoke my membership to KBCS and no longer believe it is of any value to me or my family (period).
At your request, I have read the faq on the coming changes and make the following observations.
1. With two other NPR stations already offering current events in the morning, switching KBCS to current events effectively eliminates the choice of listening to jazz on the way to work. We don’t need another current events choice in the morning.
2. John Gilbreath has a particular musical point of view which is interesting but by no means well rounded. If you put the entire jazz format in his hands, you will eliminate the diversity you had before with Megan, John Midgely and Gordon Tod in the mix. If you don’t understand this, you should probably take a history of jazz class somewhere.
3. The process you underwent to make these changes was not at all transparent. I just received a “how are we doing” survey from KBCS that asked me about my twittering habits, my television habits, my shopping habits, my cell phone habits etc, but at no time did I ever receive an inquiry about my listening habits. I question the validity of the data you used to drive this decision. Have you published the source/results/methodology anywhere? The time to bring awareness to contemplated changes to a community radio station is early in the process….so it’s not a complete surprise to the people who like things the way they are.
8/22/2009 08:46 PM
Dear Save KBCS:
I just became aware of your efforts from the Seattle Times story about the radio station last week. Tonight was my first chance since then to visit your website. To answer your questions:
- Would these changes make KBCS less valuable to you?
Absolutely. I am much less likely to tune in to 91.3, which I cherished for introducing me to music that I just wouldn't hear anywhere else on the radio. And as cool as internet streaming is, it doesn't work for me as something I can spend a lot of time doing, as explained in the attached email thread which includes my protest email to the station and the response that I received. The majority of my opportunities to hear music on KBCS are during my morning commute so I will dearly miss Drivetime Jazz. Some mornings, the timing of my commute would also include the beginning of "Don and Bud" or "Bebop Spoken Here" so I will miss those shows too.
- Are you a member/supporter/volunteer?
Yes. I have been a supporter for the past 3 years or so, responding to at least one (and this past year two) pledge drives, and prior to 3 years ago I had a sort of "on again, off again" record of contributing to the station, then forgetting when the last time I had contributed was, so skipping a cycle or 2 (OK, or 3) before jumping back on board. On one occasion someone from the station wanted to quote an email I had sent in, gushing about KBCS' unique niche in the Seattle-area radio ecosystem.
- How would these changes affect your participation and support?
Because I am less likely to tune in, which is because the Drivetime Jazz program that I so loved will no longer be available, I am far less likely to feel "invested" in the station, and thus far less likely to contribute when pledge drives roll around--if I even know about them, because I won't be listening as much and I'll have found other stations for the morning commute, or else may be forced to rely more heavily on my car CD player! I know that sometimes the other public radio stations have their pledge drives at the same time as KBCS, so instead of Drivetime Jazz programming interspersed with pleas for support, I may be burying my head in the metaphorical sand of my CD collection.
As noted above, I have attached my email comments AND the response I received from the station.
The station seems to be saying "just listen to podcasts or online content that we will provide", but I say there's nothing like live radio and the convenience of just switching on the radio--as my email explains, my radio reception at home is poor so it's pretty much only in the car that I can hear KBCS--I don't have or even understand how I could have satellite radio or internet streaming of any kind in the car, don't want to be bogged down with figuring out how to download podcasts, then transfer them to my i-pod, then figure out how to play that on my car stereo, then remember to update daily and recharge and reboot and refresh and re-everything to try to get a facsimile of what had easily been provided through live radio broadcasts.
I had not realized that KBCS' unpaid volunteers were being replaced by >paid< on-air presenters--HOW CRAZY IS THAT if the station is crying poverty and asking for donations all the time??
LASTLY--you'll note that my original email (below) refers to other "save jazz radio" campaigns of which I have been a part in the past. Although they all failed, what I do recall learning is that there are (or at least were at the time, I don't know if Bush trashed them when he trashed so much else in this country) FCC regulations that made the >privilege< of having an assigned broadcast frequency contingent upon the >responsibility< of serving a community need and interest. In those old campaigns it always seemed a logical argument that the unique attributes of non-formatted, airtime-deprived creative music that would include the playlists of most KBCS jazz programming (and there's nothing wrong with playing the "classics" once in awhile either, there's a reason they're classics) were reason enough to meet this FCC requirement--it was UNIQUE content that the community could NOT get anywhere else. I have not toured the full extent of your website, so analogous arguments may be found somewhere there, but if not, then this may be an avenue you would want to explore in the form of a petition >to the FCC< stating that the station is not fulfilling the mission for which it was granted a broadcast license.
So thanks for taking all this on and I will spend some more time on your website to learn about this situation.
Good luck, and I hope there's still hope!
8/24/2009 02:23 PM
Once again the almighty dollar kills something beautiful. I had just discovered the wide variety of folk and bluegrass that was available and now this? Far left political talk over distinct content? Paid DJ's over dedicated volunteers? What are their consultants smoking? What ever chance there was of me becoming a contributing member goes away with these changes. Bad form KBCS!
8/24/2009 02:57 PM
Here is what I wrote to KBCS today:
" I listened to all three hours of The Outskirts today. I gave you a chance. Now, go away.
" Lunch With Folks was a precious jewel, with deeply knowledgeable hosts. The replacement for that slot is NOT what I want to listen to. If I'm in the mood for this, I'll go over to KEXP. Or American Roots on KUOW. This programming is already out there. Lunch With Folks was unique. There was nothing else like it.
" I've been giving you money for years. But not again. You're throwing me away. I'm walking."
8/24/2009 09:56 PM
boring another same ol station is born who initiated this someone new or an old power person. between no reception in the car in the south end since the transmitter change and a duplicate npr station i have tuned out most of the time i have been listening since its plug in great programs sorry to see it go. Can npr pull some power and reverse this they still fund kbcs thru grants. Are picket signs being planned or organized protests like the 70s THis was a streamed station any data on its listenership out of the area. The drive time jazz was great but a cast of characters with a wild mix of music and chatter during the morning commute would be more competitive to kmps and the wake up crew pat oday the ollld radio dude should come in and tach radio and trouble shoot programs to liven them up and attract listeners in the kbcs venue.
8/25/2009 09:33 AM
I've been away a few months, and only now have -- at the appropriate time, adjusted for my current time zone -- gone online to hear my favorite show and favorite host, Mssr. Goldberg.
WTF ? ? ? ? ? ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
This can't be about saving money. You replaced all your knowledgable, dedicated and invaluable volunteer hosts with one, full-time, paid host? Worthy as John may be, this is just unbelievable bullshit.
You do this to Bud, after all he's gone through, and all he's given you?
W. T. F. ?
8/25/2009 12:35 PM
Yesterday afternoon I was listening to KBCS at home at 4 pm and some man was talking about a "heinous sex crime that occurred in West Palm Beach - turn down the radio if you are sensitive". This morning, my alarm clock went off at 8:15 and instead of listening to some soft Jazz as in the past I hear the news. Needless to say, I was bummed and a bit perturbed by both of these developments. The last thing I or we need is more talking heads - who made the decision to dump the music in favor of talk radio and why? Bring back the music I say!
A disappointed member and listener
8/27/2009 02:09 PM
Is there any way to keep the jazz shows on?
They are really great resources!
8/29/2009 09:22 AM
I miss Vintage Jazz! The best music program in Seattle!!
8/29/2009 11:53 AM
KBCS Powers that be:
It seems unfathomable to me that the station is willing to abandon listeners acquired through years of quality programing that so appealed to their entertainment and educational needs. Some of the most supported programs (as witnessed by contribution responses) have been swept from the airwaves to destroy the individuality of KBCS. Nowhere else was programing of this nature available and now KBCS has disappeared into the lackluster sameness of the rest of the radio dial. Current programing is to be found in nauseating multiplicity across the dial and now you have chosen to join the featureless masses. You have betrayed your loyal programmers as well as your loyal listeners. It is with regret that I remove KBCS from my listening schedule and from any future monetary support.
A former 15 year listener
8/29/2009 04:42 PM
I have just written the station managers to complain about the changes at KBCS and the way in which they were instituted---and to say I'm through contributing and would like a refund on my most recent contribution--if these changes remain. 3 pm is not a time for working people to listen to Democracy Now, Hard Knock radio is not investigative journalism, the world music is mostly gone, as are volunteers and community spirit. Count me in on any attention you plan to try to take the station back.
8/30/2009 10:26 AM
Comment on Seattle Weekly blog at
Until August 24, 2009 KBCS was a refuge from the Puget Sound region's radio equivalent of last week's oatmeal. Yes, I had my preferences and didn't listen to all their programming all the time, but it was refreshing just to know that, whatever the toxic influences of big-money foundations elsewhere, we could still count on one station--backed by endless hours put in by tireless volunteers--to provide essential diversity and listening choices.
I'm not sure where the KBCS management think they are going with their new, homogenized audience and experiments in non-democratic decision-making; but I hope those to whom listening diversity has meant something will make it known that stale oatmeal doesn't have to be our future. Save KBCS!
8/31/2009 10:10 AM
Following is a letter I sent to various managers at KBCS a few days ago. So far no response -- if anything of interest shows up I'll send it on.
Dear KBCS Directors:
I was ok with the idea of having more public affairs type programming at breakfast time.
But it's what I was afraid of -- you are serving us decaf NPR followed by warmed over Sixties, and I don't find either very appetizing.
I don't even like the real Morning Edition that much, much less your watery "Takeaway." And Amy Goodman has fallen into the trap of most advocacy programs: what used to be a passion has turned into a meal-ticket.
(It is interesting that this happens to both left- and right-wing partisans equally. I give Goodman & Co. credit that they would really be happy if Leonard Peltier was freed; while the National Right to Life Committee and such would be in a total panic if they thought abortion were really going to be banned. But at least they have cultivated anti-gay-marriage as a fallback.)
As for your 9-12 guy I have no opinion yet. Except to say that I have a hard time believing that any one person can be interesting every day. We'll see.
9/01/2009 12:40 PM
To KBCS: First of all I want to thank KBCS for the fine morning music programming they have provided over some fifteen years. I'm sorry I never told them so. The offerings were abundantly appropriate for a college radio station. Not only were they enjoyable to thousands of listeners already "in tune" with the various musical niches but they were available to a growing new audience and educational. I have read but still don't understand the thinking that went into the change that has taken place in your programming. Why does offering the same thing that other stations offer increase your listening audience? How does paying disc jockeys and news readers equate to saving money? I'm sure that there is a purchase price involved for the programs you will broadcast. If radio stations seem to be rushing headlong into competition for the air waves, you'd think that the plan of action would be to offer something different, not more of the same. All we need is one more news/opinion program, one more generic music program. But seriously I don't think it's about the money or any of the reasons given. I think it's about the fallacy that only the latest fashion, the latest thought can attract new college enrollees. And that's a sad commentary on your educational standards. I will miss the volunteers who hosted their shows in a professional manner while offering tidbits of interesting information in a personable manner. They were real people writing their own script. I sincerely hope that after a time the college/station powers will come to realize that this structural change was unnecessary and flawed and bring back the delightful and unique programming they have thrown away.
9/03/2009 10:58 AM
We are a little late on the draw, but wanted to add our voices to the concerns about the programming changes at KBCS. We have always raved to our friends still living in the Midwest about the wonderful diversity and fullness of folk music programming with KBCS. The strength and uniqueness of KBCS has been in the amazing generosity, knowledge and capabilities of the myriad of volunteer hosts at the station. What a serious loss it is to send those talented people packing, making this station just like many others in its programming. The variety of music programs is the main reason, besides Democracy Now, that we tune to KBCS rather than other stations.
We will try to keep an open mind for the new programming, especially any progressive news programs, but have already started tuning away when the great afternoon music is not on. We have been members for at least 10 years and understand the pragmatic decision involved in dropping revenues. I don't feel that we were informed of the gravity of the situation, although we may have missed it in our busy daily lives. I can't imagine we are alone in being willing to step up to the plate with increased donations if that would make the difference. Did the surveying you did include the likelihood of the new possible listeners being willing to donate to the station?
9/03/2009 10:42 PM
Hello, I listened to a lot of the programming that has just been cancelled. Specifically I listenened to Daily Planet. I very much appreciate Music of Africa, Spice Route, Dead Hour & Back Tracks. I have been a supporting member for years. Thanks for your consideration.
9/05/2009 03:08 PM
A couple of days ago I received an e-mail plea to help with the upcoming pledge drive. I searched the website to determine when Joanie Nelson's show was on. Although I haven't listened to it recently, I have always enjoyed her charm and choice of music. Because her show is no longer listed, I will not be volunteering. I thank you for getting the word out on this situation and I will be e-mailing the station directly to let them know of my disappointment.
9/06/2009 10:23 AM
I am both a member and a long time listener, who boasted when taking phone surveys (of what radio stations I listened to) that I only listen to KBCS. I recently returned from vacation abroad to learn that all the programs that I had absolutely loved were canceled. There is now deafening silence in my home and I am not use to it. Please bring the programs back, this radio station is one of a kind.
9/06/2009 12:23 PM
I hate these changes. I feel like my radio station has abandoned me. I'm not interested in replacing programming produced by dedidcated volunteers with nationalized, commercialized programming. I want my Lunch with Folks kept the same! I want Jonie, Bernie and Al back!
I used to live in the Seattle area. Now I listen on-line, but I still contribute. If these changes become permanent, you can kiss my contributions goodbye. I'll spend my radio money on stations that care about their loyal audiences.
The idea of subsuming commmunity radio to crass commercial interests is noxious.
9/06/2009 03:25 PM
I am both grieved and extremely angry at the loss of the weekday programming on KBCS since August 24, 2009.
I have honestly tried to like the new weekday format but it took me only a couple of days to simply stop listening to KBCS during the week. Both "Caravan" and "Outskirts", although having an occasional piece of interest, don't have much of interest or of much note. The majority of the stuff is bland and boring. I have found that both shows are too schizophrenic to be able to hold my interest as there is no focus.
" Caravan" is the more annoying show and can never hope to replace the fine quality of music that was found on " Be-Bop Spoken Here", "Vintage Jazz", and "Twentieth Century Jazz: The First Half". There is very little of interest on this new show and certainly nothing that can't be found in other places. The morning jazz shows so foolishly and quickly dumped played music that is quite hard to find in one place on a regular (or perhaps even on an irregular) basis. The music was very unique, excellent, and engaging. KBCS was the only place in this market to offer this music which made it special. "Drive Time Jazz" provided a wonderful alternative to those needing a respite from the ubiquitous drive time news.
Listeners eagerly awaited these shows at their well known time slots for a number of reasons. These shows had well known themes and had loyal followers. Actually, very many listened to all or most of these programs. In addition to the wonderful selections chosen by Bud Young, Bernie Goldberg, Joanie Nelson, and Al Barnes, local people we felt we all knew, there was a wealth of information dispensed by these warm, talented, knowledgeable people about the music and also about local Seattle color and performances related to the music. Their own collections plus the extensive KBCS music library made for exciting radio. These four engaging shows with such wonderful hosts brought loyal listeners to KBCS all week long because of their engaging personalities, deep knowledge of the music, and wonderful selections. Now they are gone along with flocks of listeners (many with whom I have spoken).
So, except for an occasional listen to Democracy now for a short time ( I still prefer NPR's "All Things Considered") and another futile try with the music, I do not listen to KBCS on weekday mornings.
As for the loss of "Lunch With Folks" and it's stalwart hosts (now virtually all gone now) I have found "Outskirts", too unfocused and "all over the map" and containing too much music that I have no interest in. There is more here for me than in "Caravan" but not enough to keep me waiting for the hope of engagement.
So, my wife and I have stopped listening to KBCS during the week.
As for the weekend, I still have Sunday. Saturdays are OK but I listen to little radio on Saturday but I'm glad the great minds at KBCS haven't changed that yet.
Ah, Sunday! I have had KBCS on since around 9:00 A.M. and it is now 3:05 P.M. I will likely keep "Sunday's Hornpipe on in the car when we go out later this afternoon. I enjoy most of Sunday but my two favorite's are "Bluegrass Ramble" and "Sunday's Hornpipe" (I do also really enjoy the morning folk show).
So, now I really only listen to KBCS on Sunday. Too bad, It used to be a really great station.
As long as Sunday's programming remains (yes, this also includes the Grateful Dead ) I will continue to listen to KBCS on Sunday and will probably continue to support the station financially at some, most likely quite reduced, level. I was about to send in my member contribution the very day that I got the e-mail from KBCS outlining the proposed program changes. I immediately replied with great concern and criticism. I also spoke with the general manager and the membership director and made it clear how I felt. Of course, they "appreciated my input" but assured me this was necessary and the result of serious market research.
My wife doesn't listen to KBCS most of Sunday as the only show she really loves is "Sunday's Hornpipe". So although she listened most mornings to the Jazz programs and was especially in love with Joanie's show, she's pretty much written KBCS off her list. She's awaiting Joan's on line show to appear.
Except for the weekend, and especially Sunday, KBCS is no longer special.
I hope this helps.
9/07/2009 11:24 AM
I have been a steady listener to KBCS since I moved here in 1990. I have been a paying member for 8-10 years or so.
The recent programming changes are an unhappy development for me.
1) I can no longer listen to Democracy Now since I have a paying job which requires my attention during the 8-9 and 3-4 hours of the day.
2) The take away is already on the air in this market and is a pretty lame show either way.
3) While I like the Outskirts, on balance it is not an improvement on lunch with folks
4) Drive time programming is weak all around.
5) Volunteer hosts always have more interesting musical tastes than paid ones.
9/10/2009 02:40 PM
I have never subscribed to KBCS, however, I have donated lots of old records and a couple of old record history books to Al Barnes. (As sort of payment and supplies for his efforts.)
I have no other reason to listen to KBCS, and although I realize that recent changes at your station are based on economics, without Al on the programming, I have no reason to listen.
9/11/2009 06:51 AM
I am a listener of KUT Austin public radio. If you haven't already, I suggest you contact the steering committee for Save KUT Austin, who are experience the same thing you are. They are very organized and can suggest some tactics. Their website is
9/16/2009 08:18 PM
Hi, I did listen closely to the new programs for a couple of weeks, so I have a good sense of what the station is doing. Most of the programs are terrible. I will contact KBCS with my comments.
9/16/2009 09:03 PM
I listen to KBCS about 50% of what I used to. Morning Jazz is okay but not near as interesting as it was with many different opinions and selections of music by the different individuals. Perhaps I will get use to the new format. But there is other jazz easily found. I still listen to noon to 3 lunch by the many folks that develope music. Not sure where someone came up with the name "Out Skirts" In my final years of work I spent much time trying to figure how to solve varies problems on the "out skirts" of Cities around the world. It usually ment visiting the slums or the least desirerable parts of each of the places. The drags or pits of society, usually a real mess. Why would anyone place such an undesirable name on program! And I hope you do not pay much for tithe opinionated BS after 3pm as it is a waste of one time. That's when I switch stations. Perhaps it will soon be easier to just remain with the switch. Lets hope your ideas are paying off for the station. Been my experience if you want a major change in direction of any operation, it requires a change in management!
9/16/2009 09:42 PM
~~~ You've lost me and many of my friends --- plus fellow members of the Puget Sound Traditional Jazz Society. None of us even bother to tune to KBCS any longer What a shame !
9/16/2009 09:45 PM
Hi Folks, Your doing good work, but you must wake up and be much more active. Tell us you former volunteer DJ's care about the KBCS community you just got dumped from. Seek out others in this country and the world of community radio music that have gone through or are going through what KBCS is going through. Try and join up with them. Big Picture evidence is much more coordinated, and speaks the truth then getting paid members to respond. Austin's KUT, seems pretty different than KBCS. But it is a long time college radio station that is going through the same thing as KBCS. Go . Join up with them and others who have gone thru this in the past, how did it go? And those that are currently going thru it like savekbcs. "Private" KBCS is very connected to a much larger Pacifica network that supports them, and that they support. This larger group seems to be saying, yes, make these changes, we will continue to support you. However, the "big" Pacifica stations are dying compared to national NPR stations, whose audiences are stable. So, music is King/Queen on Pacifica stations, if you all can join together, and challenge news talk and watered down music radio.
Talk to me, if you want to learn more!
9/16/2009 10:35 PM
I have been trying to give "Outskirts" a chance, but somehow I find myself no longer tuning into KBCS on streaming audio like I used to do every weekday while I worked. I so much enjoyed the breadth of awareness about folk music “Lunch with Folks” used to have. I now listen to “Radio Heartland” from MPR instead. I will not be subscribing to KBCS anymore unless I hear that “Lunch with Folks,” or something like it, is back.
9/16/2009 11:48 PM
Since KCBS has made these drastic and unsatisfactory changes, I have asked them to remove me from their mailing list. I have instucted friends to do the same.
KBCS is not what it was meant to be now, nor what it has been in the past. I will no longer support KBCS until, if ever, it reverts back to what it was originally intended to be.
9/17/2009 02:58 AM
My thoughts and feelings have already been ignored.
9/17/2009 08:14 AM
Dear Friends,
I am a long-time, consistent, listener and supporter. I am not a wealthy person, so my support tends not to be large, but I have always appreciated and felt responsible for the community radio I enjoyed. For many years, KBCS was my favorite station. I have no TV so I listen to the radio a lot.
Over the years, KBCS has been gradually losing my attention, though I still listened often and continued to contribute. WomenNotes (sp?) became not Women's Music in the old definition of that and more "World music", only by women. I still miss the Thistle and Shamrock, I never liked Daily Planet (which shortened Lunch with Folks). Overall, there was too much "World". I do like music from some other places besides the US. For instance, I like the Music of Africa show. But programs which are very diverse, like Daily Planet, will inevitably include music I don't like. I've learned not to tune them in. Additionally, there was too much "talk"--the Public Affairs went too long for my taste, so I often tired of it and turned the radio off altogether. At that point, I started sending $35 to KBCS and $35 to KSER, rather than sending it all to KBCS.
I find the recent changes to be changes even further in that direction. I tried listening to Outskirts, but find the format as confusing and undefined as the name (Outskirts of what?). Almost always, something is played that I don't like in the course of the show. Know that I have quite wide tastes--almost any music out of any of the traditions of the US works for me--blues, country, old-time, bluegrass, modern singer-songwriter stuff, almost anything like that. The other day, somebody played something which sounded to me like a techno-pop version of Lawrence Welk. I leapt to the radio to change the channel. As to public affairs, I like Michael Eric Tyson's show, though about half an hour would be plenty. I miss Democracy Now (why would the premier public affairs show be moved to a time when nobody's home?).
At this point, I make it a point to tune in KBCS on Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons. Otherwise, generally not. I find KSER more to my taste most of the time--and I'd rather enjoy silence in my house than folks talking to me (after a point) or music I don't like. The right thing to do is probably to divert most of my funds to the station I listen to most of the time.
9/17/2009 09:15 AM
Dear KBCS folks:
I'm still listening, but I don't really like the new format. Because I'm at work all day I cannot listen to Democracy Now during the times I work (8:00-5:00) - it takes some concentration & thought to listen to that show & I always liked hearing it on my drive home at 5:00 pm. And while I like the Caravan show, I get tired of hearing it every day. I REALLY miss the old jazz shows that used to be on Wed. & Thurs. mornings at 9:00. I do wish you'd consider bringing those shows back. You could return them on Wed. & Thurs. & have Caravan the other days.
Thanks for considering these comments.
9/17/2009 10:04 AM
I have already made my adjustment to the changes on KBCS. I subscribed to Pandora music to listen to while I work. And I will no longer support KBCS. A couple of us old time listeners are advising our friends to do the same. Loyalty is a two way street.
9/17/2009 12:17 PM
Hi, I've been a listener and member of KBCS since 1982. I am writing to comment on your programming changes I listened closely to the new programs for the first few weeks.
1. I like the "Caravan" programs better than the bland modern jazz you used to play in the morning.
2. However, the vintage jazz presented by Al Barnes and Joni, was much more interesting. I miss those programs and would like to have them restored.
3. "Outskirts" is much too eclectic. It is unfocused, lacking any cohesion or theme. Amid the untalented young singer-songwriters, there is an occasional good folk or blues song. Most of the young people have nothing signficant to say, but they go on at great tedious length. The "Outskirts" programmers seem more interested in novelty and quirkiness than they do in playing high quality folk music. I find myself turning it on, hoping to hear somebody I recognize. Often I am bathed in crappy sentimental music, so I turn off KBCS in disgust.
Here's who I want to hear: Greg Brown, Dan Byrne, Michelle Shocked, John McCutcheon, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Molsky, Alistair Fraser, The Waterstons, Steve Earle, Dave Carter & Tracey Grammar, Stan Rogers, Pete Seeger, Dougie MacLean, Dick Gaughin, Jim Page, Kate Wolf, Cindy Kallet, Utah Phillips, Allison Krause (without Robert Plant, please - their album is terrible;) Nickel Creek, Ricky Skaggs, David Grishman, Ry Cooder, The Buena Vista Social Club, The Chieftans, Cherish the Ladies, Mark Graham & Orville Johnson, Peter Oshtrusko, The Horseflies, Wolfstone, Silly Wizard, The Old Blind Dogs, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Darol Anger, Barbara Higbie, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Sacred Harp music,
Rodney Miller, Alain Stivell, Gordon Bok, Anne Mayo Muir & Ed Trickett, Bella Fleck, Dave Rovics, Chris Smither, The Persuasions, Laura Nyro, Billie Holiday, Big Mama Thornton, Harmonica George Smith, Koerner, Ray & Glover, John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan, The Bothey Band, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Sippie Wallace, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Bob Franke, Cephas and Wiggens, Robert Cray, Maxx Cabello, Jr. (the hottest young up-and-coming blues player in the field); Susan Tedeschi, Joan Baez, Odetta, Guy Davis, Bill Morrissey, Relativity, Night Noise, Ralph Stanley, Flatt & Scruggs, Johnny Cash & June Carter, the Carter Family, Hank Williams the I, II and III;
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstad, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel; Rory Block, Louden Wainwright III, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Bryan Bowers; Alice Gerrard, The Harmony Sisters, David Bromberg, Rosalie Sorrels, Bill Staines, David Francey, Great Big Sea, Natalie McMaster, Jody Steckert and Kate, The Austin Lounge Lizards, Raye Wylie Hubbard, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, James Keeleghan, Kevin Burke, Dana Lyons, Inti Illimanti, Meg Christian, Ferron, Rugus Wainwright, the Mammals, Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, etc.
I want HIGH QUALITY FOLK MUSIC - roots music, blues, country, bluegrass, Celtic, American, British Isles, Canadian, South African, Cuban, South American, European; intelligent singer-songwriters, old artists, new artists. Please spare me the sticky pop music of young people who don't have two ideas to rub together. Skip the rap and hip-hop.
4. Thanks for keeping Amy Goodman's show, "Democracy Now." But why did you move her from 5-6 p.m. to 3-4 p.m.? It is an insult to her excellent reporting to stick her in that dead slot. It is not a time that I am usually on the road or otherwise listening to KBCS. Please restore the show to its former slot of 5-6, when those commuting can hear her. ;
5. The two new talk shows are both annoying and uninteresting. They pale in comparison to "Democracy Now." There's far too much blather. Replace those shows with music, or at least find somebody local to report on local issues.
6. Please bring back "Lunch with Folks." I miss it so much. "Outskirts" is a poor replacement for the fine programming and tremendous musical knowledge of people like Ginger Hopper and John Sincock.
7. It appears that the weekend has so far escaped unmolested by your crusade to destroy real folk music and community programming. For God's sake, please leave the weekend programming alone!
8. I haven't had a chance to listen to the weekday evening programming. I am hoping that it is still intact and hasn't been replaced by any of the low-level junk you present during the day.
Since you killed "Lunch with Folks," which I listened to every day, I no longer feel very connected to KBCS. I will not become a member again until the long-time DJS are brought back to present "Lunch with Folks."
PLEASE don't mess with any more of the programs. You've nearly destroyed our only community radio station.
9/17/2009 01:44 PM
Dear KBCS and BCC folks:
I have been a dedicated listener (and I donate, even though I can't afford it) to KBCS. I have to say, that in the last two weeks, my listening pleasure has decreased. I've tuned in to other radio stations more than ever, trying to find music and programming that I like. To my way of thinking, the programming you had was fine. It offered something for everyone and the timing of your programs was excellent.
In the past two weeks, I've had to turn off or turn away from KBCS.
I don't want to listen to rap while I'm driving home from work (M-F, regular working times). I don't want to listen to Democracy Now two or three times a day (I only need to hear it once and I liked it on my way home, even though it was broadcast in the morning. I used to tune into it on my way home from work. Now it seems as if it is on at least 2 times and more like 3 each day! I don't mind that new crazy guy but I think the timing for his program could be better--try morning to wake people up and get them thinking.
Where has my week day folk music gone? Once in a while I can catch a good song but now there is way more music that I don't really want to listen to. I don't want 50's or 60's rock. I want the folk.
Please return the morning jazz to the way it was.
Please return to the old programming. Please put the gospel music back earlier in the morning. It is interfering with my Saturday morning folk music, which is one of the main reasons I turned to KBCS, along with the old Sunday programming, Women Notes, etc. I loved the "World Music" in the evenings and the Hawaiian music grew on me. I like the Raizes and Sabor on Saturdays. I loved the good music you had on Friday and Saturday evenings and the timing of it.
Mary Travers died. Why aren't you having a Peter, Paul & Mary show? The lunch with folks people would have done something.
I grew up with folk music--Carol Langstaff, John Langstaff's daughter was my teacher. I need music for my soul and I thought KBCS was it. Please return things to normal.
9/17/2009 08:14 PM
Hi, all,
I have been listening to the changed format you have adopted, off and on, and I am sorry to say I have been turning you off more. Instead of music in the afternoon, I am hearing syndicated talk shows, some of which are OK, but others sound like the garbage that you hear on NPR now. (For instance, I heard someone on one of your purchased shows from the Council on Foreign Relations explaining at length why we need more troops in Afghanistan, with no questions asked. I can get that on NPR or CNN anytime). Democracy Now is no longer on at 5, so I can't listen to it after work. Instead, I'm going to have to listen on the web directly from their website.
We have enough talk. There is a world of talk radio. There is too much information out there. Instead, what we don't have in the Seattle market is a station that plays mostly alternative, folk, and world music that you won't hear on KPLU, KUOW, or KEXP because that kind of music doesn't have a big commercial market. We need a station that supports local artists. I'm saddened that you are moving away from this.
9/18/2009 03:35 PM
I would gladly divert my pledge dollars to this organization during pledge week. Particularly if there could be a process set up to make it very visible to KBCS management. Any plans?
9/19/2009 08:17 AM
A few days ago I received a KBCS pledge mail. I sent it in, but instead of including my annual check, I included a note explaining that as a contributing listener since 1980, I would no longer be contributing to KBCS due to their dropping the morning jazz programming.
9/20/2009 09:13 PM
Greetings I would like to voice my concern that Bluegrass Ramble will remain on the air and in its Saturday traditional spot....!!! Its loss would be deeply felt by the many people who tune in regularly...!!!
9/21/2009 11:29 AM
I haven't had time to listen much, but my husband Todd actually likes the changes so far. The paid DJ is great. Todd is surprised the Greatful Dead Hour remains. It's not really my favorite music either.
9/28/2009 01:29 PM
Hello Just writing today to voice my unhappy thoughts about these changes.When I tune into kbcs most everything has changed,different music,more political talk show,a few of the voices are the same,but that is it.I loved my station.I have volunteered,and contributed money.What should I do now.
9/28/2009 06:16 PM
Hi.As I have been listening to the "new" progaming for a few weeks now.I have to say it is nowewhere near the quality of listening we used to have.I loved my station/now I do not.I have emailed the station several times and spoken my thoughts,what else can I do.I probably will not give this year during the fall pledge drive.I don't recall being asked for input on the changes that have been made,I will be monitering kbcs from now on.
9/30/2009 10:01 PM
just wanted to say thanks for doing what y’all are doing.
i appreciate the meeting and posting the minutes, it helps me to understand where things are at.
i did make a big point of emailing the station to say i would not be volunteering during the fund drive as i have in the past, and got nice responses saying my name would be taken off the lists and i wouldn’t receive any more requests.
10/04/2009 10:03 AM
I support your move but am, at the same time, heartbroken. This is the last straw; I will not listen to KBCS anymore after your show. I've been listening to you for almost as long as you've been on the air and looked forward to every show because I knew I would hear a beautiful selection of music. I don't know how many transcendent moments I've had! Or how many CDs I bought because you introduced me to some wonderful music.
I've written to KBCS about the changes but I'll do it again. I used to listen to Lunch With Folks all the time but now find it an annoying, nearly random selection of dippy music. In my opinion, KBCS has gone entirely in the wrong direction. KBCS could have become an oasis, a treasure of personally programed music.
I will continue to follow events through the Folklore Society. I hope we'll have the chance to create that oasis again!
10/04/2009 10:23 AM
Hi at SaveKBCS:
I sent the email below to
Thanks for working to reinstate the former programming.
Let me know if a financial contribution to your effort will help.
I have $50 that I will not be spending on the pledge drive.
I have listend to KBCS for 20 years and contributed for about the last 10.
I do not like the programming changes.
Sorry, please find a way to re-instate the dropped programming.
You need to compromise. Negotiate. Find a blend.
Diverse programming rather than consistency is why I listened.
If your station wants talk radio please tune to KUOW (which I avoid).
I will not be contributing to the fall pledge drive (not that my once or twice a year $50 will make a difference).
Please reply with any rational argument for discontinuing jazz, folk.
And thanks for asking (may sarcasm have its intended bite).
10/04/2009 11:52 AM
I love "Lunch with Folks", and I've listened for years. KBCS has been one of my favorite stations for a long time.
I'm very sad to see that the station is/may be changing to a plain-vanilla format.
If it's not to late, please keep the old, perhaps you should try surveying the listeners first.
10/04/2009 12:05 PM
Susan Madden & Dru just mentioned the idea of starting an Internet radio station. I would contribute financially and with volunteer hours to that project.
10/04/2009 12:21 PM
Hi We are appalled at the program changes KBCS is making. The last round of changes were really upsetting to us as we have so few choices left for bluegrass & folk music on the radio these days. But this time they are totally changing everything we have loved about the station. There are way too many talk shows, news shows, etc. & it is what has ruined some other stations like KBCS. We will not be listening to any of that and further more will no longer monetarily support the station. We are "refugees" from KRAB radio and were very involved with the station in the 1970s until it got screwed up by bad mangement making poor choices. I hate to see this happen with KBCS --but it looks like they are on their way. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. We are on fixed income (Low) and can't afford to donate a lot of money --wish we could, but if there is anything else we can do, please let us know. We are writing the station with our thoughts expressed in the first paragraph of this email. Thank you for the good years of listening that we enjoyed. We will miss our fav DJs as well.
10/05/2009 10:11 AM
I hope you are able to save KBCS. . .
What the management has done to it is criminal. My god, how many MORE canned, talking heads do we need on the air in Seattle?????
I loved many of the mid-day shows, the world music was to die for, and now it’s gone… other than 3 hours a week on KEXP (Wo Pop), world music is dead in seattle.
Don’t even get me started on folk… and then one of the shows they brought in is HIP HOP?? Oh yes… there’s a definite lack of hip hop stations in seattle… Fuckers.
Thank you for doing what you can. It often feels hopeless when going up against this sort of thing, but please don’t give up.
Let’s hope this pledge drive is an utter FAILURE.
10/05/2009 12:02 PM
My name is Patrick and I live in Madison, Wi. I discovered your station while sampling different formats on iTunes. I like the station very much and am quite interested in the recent changes at your station. Similar things were happenning in Madison Community radio several years ago (WORT). I think the management was eventually removed after trying to take over certain aspects of the station.
What I can't seem to find at your website or the website of KBCS just who the management is. Where can I get more information on how your management is hired and who they are accountable to. Is there not a board of directors?
10/06/2009 09:38 PM
Hello Steve - I'm writing as a longtime KBCS supporter regarding the recent changes at the station and the upcoming pledge drive. I shared a number of my thoughts with you and Peter over the last few months, always with an interest in being thoughtful and constructive, and I hope that you both (as well as any others integrated into station management) understand and appreciate that. With the pledge drive ahead, I think it is important that you receive input from individuals like myself, who are concerned about where the station's current direction leaves us.
First of all, let me say that for the past several years, going back at least to 1999, KBCS listening has made up at least 90% of my radio time. Certainly there have been some shows that I liked more than others, and some which did not particularly appeal to me, but I pretty much was comfortable leaving my dial (or digital display) set at 91.3. I work more or less normal business hours, so much of my listening has been in the early evening (Democracy Now! and other public affairs programs such as CounterSpin) as well as the weekday evening shows and some of the weekend programs. From time to time, I am free during the day, and I always enjoyed listening to the variety of jazz and folk programming on those days as well. As I say, there have been programmers I like better than others, and playlists which had a range of appeal to me, but I truly found that the programming always constituted a musical journey of interest.
Unfortunately, much of the above seems to have now changed fairly dramatically. I am no longer able to listen to Democracy Now! when I arrive home from work, and the programming which has replaced that and other public affairs shows in those time slots is clearly geared to an audience of a different generation and sensibility from mine. Placing the afternoon broadcast of Democracy Now! before 5:00 prevents those working business hours from listening (assuming that those workers have jobs which require their attention). I'm disappointed by this, to say the least.
Even more distressing, however, is the elimination of the very interesting and diverse morning jazz programs and the Lunch with Folks shows. With no disrespect at all toward John Gilbreath, who is both extremely knowledgeable and engaging, I miss the other programmers during the morning. As I say, I work "business hours" for the most part, but I always kept KBCS on when I took days off and stayed at home to do chores, or was in the car doing my errands. I looked forward to Al Barnes' insight, Joanie Nelson's infectious spirit, Bernie Goldberg's erudite approach, and Bud's ability to appreciate and showcase new artists, sometimes only one-quarter his age.
I also enjoyed the Lunch with Folks programmers, who played a number of local artists I know personally while uncovering a few other gems on a regular basis. Just as I am sorry to see the volunteer jazz programmers replaced, I am very sad that the LWF folks have mostly been dismissed.
It seems to me that station management has determined that listeners like myself, who contribute steadily if not at high levels, are no longer the target market for KBCS. The programming changes have significantly reduced the percentage of accessible shows which appeal to me. In addition, management has implied (according to the article in City Arts magazine) the likelihood that shows will become more homogeneous and feature the same artists on several occasions during the week. Frankly, this is not what has appealed to me about KBCS over the years. That's a KPLU mechanism, as well as a commercial radio approach. It has always seemed important to me that the shows were very individual in nature, because each had its supporters and the station had a true community "feel" (intangible, but no less real). I am very concerned to witness that slipping away.
To be honest, once I heard Neil Diamond (Neil Diamond!!) on the Labor Day show The Outskirts, I assumed KBCS had given up on interesting music completely. I even heard that the Bee Gees made it onto a show, perhaps the same one. Frankly, the suggestion that those two acts could mesh with a "community" station is just about impossible to reconcile.
In any case, since I still appreciate a few of the shows which have not yet been abbreviated or canceled, I am going to provide a contribution to the station by mail, although it will be only a small percentage of what I would normally contribute since management has retained only a small percentage of what I have supported about the station. I hope that management will listen to those who have supported KBCS for years and years, and address their concerns and interests. I completed surveys over the years and generally expressed favorable opinions about the station and its programming; as a financial supporter, I'd have hoped that my input meant something to management, but it does not feel that way right now. In fact, it feels as though the surveys of supporters were ignored as the programming changes were implemented.
I asked for input about this in my email of July 12, 2009, to which I received no response.
As I say, I offer these comments with obvious disappointment, but with the hope that dialogue with KBCS supporters can at some point be reinstated, and that the station might ultimately return to what has made it successful - its strong connection with the community and the volunteers who have made it such a unique radio experience. Thanks for considering these comments.
10/07/2009 11:34 AM
You probably don't want to hear this but...
I was an excited and happy listener of KBCS, everyday, all programs because it exposed me to all sorts of music and ideas that I don't have access to otherwise. My very favorite part was all the people who played the music. Each radio person had their own passions and styles and they came though so strong in the music that they chose to play. I am sad you have taken away the people I looked forward to hearing each day. Now there is some bland dj with that forced radio-personality way of speaking that makes me feel isolated. I've heard the same songs played two days in a row and that never happened before. I even liked listening to KBCS's pledge drives! I wanted to give the station money but now I can't because I don't enjoy listening any longer and have been forced to search for a new station. Why did you change? I'm not surprised that someone who thinks they know best got ahold of this great radio station and messed it up so that it now has a conventional and boring shape. I wish I had a lot of money so I could round up the amazing group of people KBCS had and keep their values alive. That's what I thought KBCS stood for, but I was mistaken. Authority? Jerks! Jerking everything around.
I don't normally write these sorts of letters but I don't know what else to do. Out of desperation and frustration I am left with no power, no voice, no choice in the matter. That sucks! My favorite radio station is gone. What do I do now?
What you should do now is give the station back to the dj's that made it great. You owe them a huge apology. And I don't even know who "you" are!
If any of this matters...
10/08/2009 12:50 PM
I have been a long time listener and only an occasional supporter of KBCS as my income has always been modest to put it generously. Fortune has turned in my favor in the last year as I have opened a successful small neighborhood grocery store. Underwriting has been on my mind as a good way to both make up for weak past contributions and to toot the horn for my new business.
I always played KBCS in my store during business hours (8:00am-9:00pm) and set my clock to Democracy Now to wake up at 6:00am. Customers would often ask me what I was listening to so they could dial it in when they left. For me KBCS was the perfect station because the programming shifted gears often enough that I didn't tire of any one musical genre while at the same time I was completely immersed in the varieties of music played throughout the week.
Was/is KBCS living up to it's potential? Potential to do what? I suspect the potential put forth by Management is the potential to generate revenue. But that sounds so crass it's best to let listeners make up their own minds what is meant by "potential".
In the long run I expect revenue will be higher. Perhaps the number of local listener contributors will be lower but in the end I suspect total revenue is the number that is being pushed. Perhaps by opening the airwaves to more national news programming the station can count on more CPB grant money thereby insuring a more predictable revenue stream into the future. Sacrifices must be made if the station is to survive.
I will be joining the other old farts looking back nostalgically to the days when KBCS was great. Great at what? Best to let listeners make up their own minds what is meant by "great".
Unless someone figures out a way to stuff this Genie back into the bottle cannot support KBCS.
10/09/2009 11:36 AM
I heard from a friend that Dru Druzanich and perhaps two other veteran DJs will be leaving KBCS. This is such sad news. Dru has been a DJ at KBCS for 25 years. I can't imagine KBCS without his voice and incredible musical knowledge about folk and bluegrass music.
It appears that we really are losing our beloved community radio station. KBCS is so much more than the sum of its parts. For us long-time listeners, the station is Susan Madden, Dru, Sandy, Ginger Hopper,Eric Hardee, John Sincock, Larry Lewin, Joni, Al Barnes and all the other dear familiar voices behind the shows. For years, they have educated us about the fine music they play, played our requests, promoted sometimes obscure but wonderful performers, and have given their shows the stamp of their varied and interesting personalities. The programmers you have replaced or driven away are the living history of KBCS. They ARE KBCS. They are irreplaceable, unique and talented DJs. Without them, there is little reason to listen to KBCS.
I fear we will no longer hear skillful interviews of musicians, intelligent commentary about the history and tradition of many different musical genres; tributes to folk icons like Pete Seeger on his 90th birthday. We are losing a shared sense of mission and values and an emphasis on America roots music; REAL folk music, not the watered-down junk you now broadcast on "Outskirts."
Through your actions, KBCS has broken trust with the community. How can I convey to you our anguish at losing one of the best community radio station in the country? We feel betrayed. Many of us will boycott this month's pledge drive. For the first time in 27 years, I will not renew my membership. This makes me very sad, but I have no other way to express my deep disappointment about the direction you are taking KBCS.
Please think about restoring the true nature of KBCS. Otherwise, I predict, you will lose the long-time, intensely loyal members. I doubt that the younger demographic you seek is going to join up in great numbers and donate as much money as long-time listeners have. The soul of of KBCS is at stake. Please don't kill our station.
10/13/2009 11:02 AM
Peter Graf was on the air this morning pitching with John Gilbreath. I could not listen. Here is a comment I sent to
“I shouldn’t do this, but just wanted to say that John is great but there is a special place in hell for Peter Graf and Steve Ramsey. I am turning off the radio now. Thanks.”
10/13/2009 12:11 PM
I feel slightly tortured! This will be the first pledge drives in a lot of years that I have not been out to the station to answer phones, unfortunately I can't figure out a way to support the station without having it seem like an endorsement for the recent changes.
Dose anyone have a suggestion for action during the pledge drive?
10/15/2009 04:28 PM
The stated intent of these changes is to create a more consistent sound so that listeners will stay tuned longer throughout the day.
- Are they succeeding?
No- I find myself simply not turning on the station in the am on weekdays (used to listen to drive time jazz) and turn it on less frequently early evening. The reduction in variety has become less interesting.
- Do you agree with these changes?
No-- some good music is being lost, and who wants to listen to that much yapping first thing in the morning before coffee's even ready? A little BBC news followed by some jazz was just right for weekday mornings.
- Do these changes make KBCS less valuable to you?
Yes-- I have been listening less frequently since the changes
- Are you a member/supporter/volunteer?
member-- but intend to indicate that if this kind of programming shift continues, it may not be worth it to continue... it's too bad
- How will these changes affect your participation and support?
See note above. I'll re-up this time, but if these changes remain, and more are implemented, there will be quite a bit less left to support-- I'll have to reassess next time.
thanks, just adding a voice to your efforts
10/22/2009 11:16 PM
Well, things are pretty quiet here so maybe I am the last voice crying in the wilderness, but I didn’t want my last post (see above [10/13/2009 11:02 AM]) to be a bitter, angry one, even though that is how I was feeling during much of the pledge drive. Here is a somewhat more measured one, tucked finally into the pledge envelope I received before the drive began:
“I have been a regular donor and evangelist for the station in the past but cannot support the recent changes, made without a plan or outreach to the community of listeners. Too many treasures cast aside, with a feeling left of betrayal and disrespect. There had to have been a better way. It has made me lose faith in the management of the station. I know the changes were well-meaning, and the people on the air are doing the best they can, but I question the competence of this management team and cannot support it.”
We’ll see how things unfold. Life goes on… and karma balances… thanks for listening and providing a forum for those of us who have loved this station.

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