Today we have one of our most popular posts of all time.
Since it was originally published on December 12, 2014, it has been viewed over 3,000 times.
In May 1987, new management at KUNM, Albuquerque [link] decided to make major programming changes. At that time, KUNM was airing eclectic freeform music between Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Volunteers did most of the air shifts. The proposed programming changes called for cancelling the hours of freeform and replacing them with jazz and news programming.
The freeform hosts did not want the changes to happen and called for “drastic action.” The management of KUNM made the mistake of letting freeform hosts do final shows, knowing they were about to become toast.
On May 14, 1987, one freeform host took his complaints directly to KUNM’s listeners prompting then-PD Patrick Conley to take the volunteer off the air. When Conley entered the booth, the volunteer turned on the studio microphone. Listeners heard the verbal and physical altercation. Someone was taping KUNM at the time.
Craig Oliver, who had recently become president of the Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) interviewed Conley for an in-house feed. You can hear what happened in today’s video:
Freeform music wasn’t cancelled. In fact you can hear it today – 30 years later – from 1:00pm to 4:00pm every weekday and during overnights on KUNM. The image on the right comes from the current KUNM schedule.
So, a lesson is, once you tell a host their show is being cancelled, don’t let them go back on the air.