COMMENT ONE: THE TWO FACES OF MORMON MEDIA
Our story this past Wednesday [link] about the failing performance of BYU Radio, the new Mormon-oriented format the airs on KUMT-FM in Salt Lake City prompted this comment from a retired Utah broadcast who requested confidentiality.
CONFIDENTIAL: “I don't believe most Mormons have any more interest in listening to "religious radio" than do most Catholics ... unlike those on the Protestant/Evangelical side of the fence.
Years ago, there was a Mormon-programmed AM station in Salt Lake which played Mormon music/artists and some talk ... it never got any ratings.
In the 1960's, the Church bought WRUL (re-named WNYW) Shortwave in NYC to use as a worldwide proselytizing tool. However, the day they took ownership, they handed it to Bonneville and said, "make it pay for itself."
KEN SAYS: There are two groups of Mormons involved in broadcasting and other media. The first group, Bonneville (mentioned above), is a for-profit business that is wholly owned by the LDS Church. Bonneville is a highly regarded broadcaster that own around two-dozen radio and television stations including KSL in Salt Lake City and KIRO is Seattle.
The second group, BYU Radio, is cloistered at Brigham Young University. This group was responsible for trying to cancel Classical music on KBYU and is responsible for the Up With Mormon format that was discussed in our story. The second group believes they are doing God’s Work, but they actually are only talking only to themselves.
COMMENT TWO: THE BOTTOM LINE ON WCBU
Last Monday’s story about the fate of WCBU in Peoria [link] brought a comment from an anonymous reader who questioned our facts and interpretation of the situation.
Anonymous wrote: “Please clarify your statements. You said: ‘One rumor that isn’t true is that WCBU will be leaving Peoria. Neither party has any intension of moving WBCU (sic) away from Peoria.’”
“Since, as you stated, the operations, programming and fundraising will be folded into WGLT, and, since Bradley will not physically house the station, it would seem that WCBU is, indeed, moving away from Peoria.” As to BU’s funding, please clarify that of the $347,000 provided to WCBU, only $175,000 is an actual cash contribution.
[Your ratings] chart indicates that WCBU exceeds WGLT’s performance in weekly listeners and metro AQH share. [You said] WCBU has already lost significant listening in Peoria to WGLT. Am I missing something? Your chart shows the opposite.”
KEN SAYS: We stand by our reporting. What matters moving forward is that Bradley University has made a strategic decision to get out of the radio business so they can focus time and money on other priorities. Some people in Peoria don’t like this decision but it is time to respect BU’s decision.
According to a report in Tuesday’s (1/8) Peoria Journal Star [link] BU President Gary Roberts said:
Bradley’s primary mission is to educate students and we need to make decisions on how to spend those students’ tuition dollars laser-focused on that primary mission.
Then on Wednesday (1/9), the Journal Star reported [link] the following comments that were made by BU and WGLT officials at a WCBU Advisory Group meeting:
Bradley University’s Zach Gorman, the school’s chief information officer, and spokeswoman Renee Charles along with R.C. McBride, general manager of Bloomington’s WGLT-FM (89.1), answered questions from the board as well from members of the public at a meeting held on the Bradley campus.
Although the partnership has not been finalized, some details were furnished. “The call letters, the tower — will all stick around. We’ve identified space on the (Bradley) campus for a studio,” said Gorman. “Peoria public radio is not going anywhere,” he said.
McBride, a former program director at WJBC in Bloomington, a station he described as “one of the last great public service stations,” was upbeat about the Peoria station’s future. “We’re not just planning to maintain WCBU but grow it. I’d like to see a Peoria ‘Sound Ideas’ once we have the staff to sustain it,” he said, referring to a local news program aired on WGLT.
COMMENT THREE: “What is this all about, Maxie?”
|KPFK, Los Angeles Coverage Area|
Regarding our ongoing coverage Pacifica, we received this comment from an anonymous reader in Los Angeles:
Anonymous: "KPFK has the largest [coverage area] west of the Mississippi. It is huge and reaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara - somewhere north of 15 million potential listeners.
On the other hand, KPFK’s engineer told me that KPCC’s [coverage area] is “tiny” - and its listenership is about six times as large as KPFK’s."
"The last time I looked, [KPCC’s] budget was about eight times as large [as KPFK’s). Relative to how many people KPFK can reach, its numbers are terrible. But at least KPFK is no longer last [in the Nielsen PPM ratings]. It is bigger than an AM Catholic Talk station."
KEN SAYS: We keep monitoring the situation at Pacifica but there hasn’t been much new to report.
It appears that Maxie Jackson has bought into Pacifica’s toxic governance process.
In a recent recorded Pacifica Board meeting, we heard Jackson voice frustration about Pacifica’s ongoing internal elections:
“At the end of the day…”What is this about...?' What is this all about...?'
COMMENT FOUR: “THE NEW YORK STATE OF MIND”
We were pleased to hear from our friend Gregg McVicker about our coverage of the Podtrac podcast publisher rankings on December 17, 2018 [link]. After looking at the top publishers, McVicker observed:
9 of the top-10 publishers on this list are concentrated along the Amtrak line from Grand Central Station to Boston. Please tell me I’m wrong, but it *feels* like podcasting is taking the place of paperbacks and magazines, both very much NYC-focused enterprises. Just wondering if this is the same old Seaboard-centric publishing mindset with a new set of groovy clothes.
KEN SAYS: We are surprised that more of the publishers aren’t in Los Angeles, the hub of the TV and movie industries.
FYI, Readers, Gregg McVicker is part of the group behind the PBS/Independent Lens film "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World."
It airs Monday, January 21 at 10pm on many PBS stations.
McVicker is writing a companion blog for the broadcast. You can read it here.