Financial worries lead public and community radio stationsto contemplate format changes

by Karen Everhart, Current

It happened yesterday in Santa Cruz, Calif., and last month in St. Louis and Oxford, Ohio. Next week, it will happen again in Fort Myers, Fla., and, later this fall, in Portland, Ore.

In these and other cities, listeners of public radio and community radio stations will be surprised to find favorite programs missing and something else in their place — even though they’ve been told in advance that change is a-comin’.

Stations in these cities are revamping dual-format schedules in attempts to serve more listeners, and most are reducing music while adding hours of news, in line with a longstanding trend in public radio. Two mainstream NPR stations, WMUB in Oxford and WGCU in Fort Myers, are going all-news and moving music to less-used HD Radio channels and online streams.

For community stations such as KUSP in Santa Cruz, KDHX in St. Louis and KBOO in Portland, with long traditions of eclectic, volunteer-driven programming, format changes are potential powder kegs, but they’re feeling economic counter-forces to revise their formats.

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article originally published at Current.

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