Update on 'Programming Excellence' project

 

Program Changes/Campaign for Programming Excellence
May 2010 Report
 
Fall 07 – Spring 08 - Evening Music
 
·         Edgier, more contemporary and/or has a younger audience: Electronica, hip-hop, indie, punk, experimental, dj sets and African-American culture, music and politics. 
·         Clarity: How do we make our schedule easier to understand and follow? A goal for each round of changes is to create a schedule that listeners can understand and also put programming in blocks or strips that is likely to attract the same audience.
·         Cancellations: Cancelled more traditional music programming such as Irish music. Cancelled Soul Strip which was often older and more mainstream music and replaced with 7-8pm Hard Knock Radio with Davey D. Consolidated reggae programming to one evening to have hip-hop, electronica, etc. on Friday evening. Moved women’s programming and eclectic shows from Sunday night to replace with world, electronica and hip hop mixes.
 
Summer 08 to Spring 2009 – Morning Public Affairs Scheduling
 
·         How do we get listeners to tune in first thing in the morning? Democracy Now is the one program that can realistically compete with NPR’s Morning Edition, so it’s on at 7am. 
·         How do we keep the Amy Goodman audience listening? Stick with “hard news” and Public Affairs early on and move the arts, culture, health and community programming to the last hour. 
·         Evening Drive time: In March, we began repeating Democracy Now! At 4 pm, to lead into the Evening News and Public Affairs strip.
·         Syndicated programs: Use syndicated programs to offer a predictable schedule with solid content leading into local programming. Amy Goodman now leads into morning talk and evening news. Flashpoints offers an anchor after Cascadia and before our cultural programming. Davey D’s ‘Hard Knock Radio’. transitions from evening public affairs to evening music.
·         Cancellations: Cancelled morning news. Shortened morning talk radio and evening labor show for more focused content.
·         Schedule: 7am Democracy Now, 8am Talk Radio, 9am Public Affairs, 10am Voice of Cascadia (15 minutes or local news and commentary), 10:15 Flashpoints (and on Mondays If You Love This Planet), 11am Arts, culture, health and community. This created a more listenable ‘strip’ where listeners know to expect political shows from 10 – 11, and arts/culture from 11 – 12.
 
March 2009 – Stage 1: Campaign for Programming Excellence
Grant funded project: Brought in a nationally-renowned trainer, Marilyn Pittman, in March 2009 to provide trainings for all our programmers on how to make great radio.
 
June and July 2009 – Morning and Evening Public Affairs Programs
 
·         Talk Radio changes: While we have some excellent Talk shows listeners are asking for new voices. So, two mornings a week will be opened up for new hosts to audition. The Friday slot is now open for applications. Wednesday Talk Radio host Barbara Bernstein will move Locus Focus to Monday at 10:15 am to replace If You Love This Planet with local environmental programming. This will open up Wednesday talk radio in August for try-outs. Kathleen has also been working extensively with existing hosts to improve quality and promotions. A new volunteer position, ‘call screener’, will be created to help the board operator deal with incoming phone calls, and help avoid repeat callers.
·         Improve quality: Cancel selected shows and place new programs on air. The following shows will be cancelled effective July 6th: Boneheads & Bigots, Hole in the Bucket, Proverbial Perspectives and Indian World. All of these shows began with one format or host and have changed into another. Taking them off the air will make room for several new shows:
o       Digital Divide: (Rabia Yeaman and collective) This program attempts to answer questions about how the latest technologies affect our communities through interviews, recordings, and commentary. The show touches upon such issues as open source, privacy, transparency, intellectual property, free speech, accessibility, hacking, net neutrality, file sharing, piracy, social networking, pollution, bioethics and more.
o       Community Grooves: (Natalie Butto) A locally-focused program featuring diverse cultural organizations, events and guests.
o       It Takes A Village: (Shaheed Hamid) Veteran KBOO host Shaheed Hamid brings in local organizations and individuals who are carrying out the vision of empowering the disenfranchised.
o       Behind the Screen: (SW Conser) Program on film in Portland, looking behind the screen to expose the process of producing independent films.
o       Fight the Empire: (Per Fagering) We live in an empire that began 500 years ago with the European conquest of the Americas. This program looks at how the empire permeates our lives.
o       A Deeper Look (Linda Olson-Osterlund) Half hour interview show focusing on challenging social and political issues of our World today. Guests will include authors and activists writing and organizing around these issues. Tune in to get behind the headlines.  
·         Continue to refine scheduling: ‘Mitakuye Oyasin’ moved to Thursday evenings 6pm-7pm because it is a Public Affairs & music “hybrid” show that can lead into Hardknock Radio. This opened time for music programming in afternoon. Also, ‘Movie Talk’ waschanged to once a month, alternating with the Director’s Chair, a new show on films and filmmaking. ‘Voices of the Middle East’ moved to the mornings, where it alternates with programs of similar content: ‘Veterans Voice’, ‘One Land Many Voices’ and ‘APA Compass’.
 
July 09 – December 09 – Stage 2: Campaign for Programming Excellence
 
During this time period, Chris Merrick, KBOO's Program Director, Kathleen Stephenson, the Morning News and Public Affairs Director and Jenka Soderberg, the Evening News and Public Affairs Director, each took time off to do critical listening and program evaluations of existing programs. In addition, we hired two outside evaluators – Ryme Katkhouda, News Director of WPFW to evaluate news and public affairs, and Erubiel Vasquez of KPCN Radio to evaluate Spanish language programming.
 
Program staff also hired local trainers to conduct a series of mandatory trainings in December to follow up on the Marilyn Pittman trainings which all hosts attended in March.
 
December 2009 to present -- Afternoon Music and Spanish Language
 
·         Focus on more “traditional” music in the afternoon(as contrasted with evening programming) , in understandable blocks
·         Schedule Spanish-language programming so that both Spanish and English speakers can understand when programming will be on the air. Instead of Spanish-language programming being on three different days at three different times, we have moved programs, and cancelled one program (Incursion Rockera) so that Spanish language starts at noon on Tuesday and Sunday (ending at 4 on Tuesdays and 6:30 on Sundays)
·         Thursday afternoon music block – Reggae and African music all afternoon, lead well into each other and create a solid block.
·         Auditions continuing for Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon music blocks. The schedule should be solidified by the end of June.
 
Next steps – to be completed by December 2010:
 
Next steps – to be completed by December 2010: In the summer of 2010 we will hold a community meeting for KBOO staff, board and volunteers. In December 2010, we will hold a meeting open to the larger KBOO listening community and membership. These will be facilitated events with group activities to determine if listeners are hearing better quality on KBOO. We will utilize paid facilitators to plan and conduct the meetings and write up the results. We have a number of local contractors who we have used successfully in the past.
 
We will pay a KBOO volunteer trainer to develop curriculum for ongoing peer evaluations and programming excellence.
 
We will also conduct an online survey of programmers to determine if the trainings were successful in teaching them how to do better radio and how to evaluate other programs.
 
Finally, we will conduct an online listener survey in the second half of 2010. We have conducted a number of surveys in the past year at no additional cost utilizing staff & board leadership and announcements on the air, on our website and in our Listener Guide.

 

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