Downtime in the radio world can signify a crisis, but it also can mean a time when the mic is off, when we’ve kicked back a little, pondering the day’s events and news, and looking forward to what’s coming up in the next hour, the next day, the next newscycle. That’s the time I’d like this blog to represent . . . that pondering time.
I’m Joan Baumgartner Brown, the General Manager for WBOI and WBNI and I look forward to using this forum to share some of the inside information that just doesn’t seem to live comfortably anywhere else. So stop by often and don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s something you would particularly like to know about. There’s so much going on every day at NIPR, both on and off the air.
How about we start with Fresh Air? We’ve had calls and emails from a hand full of listeners as we make the move from Fresh Air to On Point – some very unhappy and most just looking for answers. Fresh Air is a great program, with loyal, adamant fans, many of whom are on our staff. Terry Gross has been a central part of our line-up for a long time and it’s always hard to say good-bye to someone we’re accustomed to.
But here’s the story: Fresh Air is one of the most expensive programs we air and in looking at the ratings over the last several rating periods (we receive ratings twice a year), it’s one of the lowest listening periods of our day. I know there could be several explanations for that, but the truth is, the 1 pm slot is where Fresh Airs lives on many, many public radio stations across the country, and it does better in other places.
So right now, as we really struggle with a challenging financial situation, we’re looking at a kind of “cost per listener” evaluation of all our programs. When faced with the absolute need to make some cuts, replacing Fresh Air with a quality program with a smaller price tag (much smaller), is something we just need to do right now. It’s not because of FA’s sometimes controversial content, as a couple callers have wondered, it’s an economic decision.
We’re keeping Fresh Air Weekend which airs on Sunday afternoon at 1pm. And, of course, the daily programs are available to you by podcast at Fresh Air’s web site.
Programming decisions are never easy and don’t have to be final and there’s always room, as finances improve, to find a different, perhaps more appropriate time slot for Fresh Air. We do hope you’ll give On Point a try. I thought today’s program, about the changing space program, was really intriguing and informative. No, it won’t replace Fresh Air for die-hard fans, but we think it will serve the community well.
Have a good evening,