Friday, January 12, 2018


During the past few days we have published Case Studies of three very different public radio stations: KBCS in the Seattle area, KUVO in Denver and Delmarva Public Radio in Salisbury, Maryland. Our analysis of the stations apparently has touched a chord with folks in the biz and we have plans to publish more Case Studies next week.

On Wednesday (1/10) we looked at Delmarva Public Radio (DPR) and found they are performing poorly and are not in compliance with CPB guidelines requiring financial data to be posted on the station’s website. We contacted the management at DPR [link] for comments. They did not respond.


An anonymous reader feels that the economics of Delmarva play a big role in DPR’s problems:

Without condemning nor condoning DPR's actions, it's worth pointing out that the Delmarva peninsula is an interesting (albeit depressing) case study in income inequality. There is a large population of the peninsula that is very poor, and then there's populations...mostly at the coasts...that are extremely wealthy. There's not a whole lot in between. From the outside looking in they sure are in a hard spot.

KEN SAYS: I appreciate the reader’s point about the economic disparities of Delmarva. But this does not excuse poor management and a lack of purpose by any public radio station.

There are lots noncommercial stations that are financially sustainable and provide excellent local public service in areas with challenging economies. Examples include KRTS Marfa Public Radio [link] in rural west Texas, WVMR Allegheny Mountain Radio [link] in West Virginia and WOJB [link] on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in northern Wisconsin.


Thanks for the terrific piece on the problems at Delmarva. I can sum up their problems in one word: LAZINESS.

On Monday (1/8) we published a Case Study about KBCS in Bellevue, Washington [link] a suburb of Seattle. We wondered whether KBCS’s programming format should be called “Political Talk” and how this heritage community station keeps things fresh.


We heard from Dave Taylor former GM of KDHX, St. Louis and several other stations:

A minor quibble: Based on your [program schedule] chart, I would not consider the Thom Hartmann show to be the station's featured program.  His show doesn't even run until after morning drive is essentially over.  If you consider when the most ears are tuned to radios, then Democracy Now is certainly the station's flagship program, running in two out of three of the most important hours of morning drive. 

KEN SAYS: Dave may be correct, however I am not certain if “morning drive” means as much at a community station as it does to a station carrying Morning Edition. I recommend looking at whole daypart as the defining characteristic of the station.  On weekdays between 6am and Noon, KBCS has two hours of Democracy Now!, three hours of Thom Hartmann and an hour of local news. I’d call the KBCS brand “Political Talk.”


We received this comment from Patrick Whalen, Program Director of KBCS:

Hi Ken, thanks for taking the time to explore KBCS. It’s great to read a fresh viewpoint. All the best, Patrick.

KEN SAYS: Good to hear from you! I intend these Case Studies to be a fresh viewpoint, an informed outside perspective, so to speak.  If I am negative about something, it reflects my Prime Directive: If terrestrial noncom radio is to survive and prosper, it needs to be as good as possible every hour of every day.

On Tuesday (1/9) we published a Case Study about KUVO, the Jazz voice of Denver [link]. In the post we praised the work of KUVO GM Carlos Lando.

An anonymous reader wrote:

I am in Colorado Springs and have listened to KUVO for quite awhile. I agree that they are a great station. I tried KCME’s new Jazz station and I went back to KUVO because they are one of the best, if not the best, Jazz station in the country.

For the record KUVO does air hourly news from NPR, and does air WFMT’s Jazz programming overnights. They are about Denver and serving the Jazz musicians and fans of the Mile High city.

KEN SAYS: Thank you for the kind comment and additional information. I heard several nice comments from Carlos Lando's friends and competitors, though I didn't hear from Carlos himself.

1 comment:

  1. Correction:

    I have listened to KUVO, and they are a great station. I was giving them a good listen before KCME signed on their Jazz translator station, and KUVO is one of the best if not the best Jazz station in the country.

    I did not imply that KCME's jazz station sucks, but I would prefer KUVO. Their are some features I like what 93.5 is doing like Smooth Jazz with Tony Exum Jr. He also does and expanded show that will including other contemporary jazz styles.

    KCME wanted to finally give the Jazz fans back their music after dropping jazz features from the station over 11 years ago. For many years KCME did Jazz programming on Saturday Mornings and Evenings. The Jazz community in CS got ticked off when those few hours were taken away.