Rocky Mountain Low

Colorado Public Radio is going through some tough times, according to this Denver blog. Most interesting at this site are the comments that follow, many focusing on what’s seen as a dullard local-news effort. Says one:

Unless the economy turns around quickly, I think CPR is headed for rough waters. Who knows, maybe CPR can actually produce something better with less staff. I can’t believe the number of on air news readers I hear at KCFR. No offense but I think a you could train a monkey to rip and read wire stories every 20 minutes or so.

The endless promotions regarding the “Public Insight Network” and the “news initiative” are nauseating. All those people in the news department and they still can’t produce a local news show that doesn’t put listeners to sleep?

I stopped giving to CPR when they stopped listening to me — the money pledging listener. I get most NPR programming on the web, that way I don’t have to hear countless Front Range news and weather updates when I live in Montrose.

Good luck CPR, I hope you’re able to come up with a new business plan after your funding has dried up and your debt obligations swallow you whole.

Remember NPR’s Project Argo, which seeks to build up a network of local news programs? KUT in Austin has bought into it, pumping money into a news team that has yielded less-than-stellar results. One common thread among local affiliates is that they’ve chosen to throw money at their problems in a manner divined by those higher-ups in the NPR food chain: giving us HD radio and more canned content to fill the channels and bloated local-news budgets, at the expense of “the road less traveled,” money from local budgets diverted into the schemes for monetary redemption.

The pinch has been felt higher up, as well. This Washington Post article in March of last year detailed an $8 million shortfall for NPR. It mentioned the possibility of hitting up local stations with some sort of additional fundraiser for the parent, but nobody seemed real pleased about that idea. Locals in many places already seem to be souring on the proliferation of “non-ads” and such as it is. At KUT in Austin, for instance, the station has gone from “listener-supported” as the watchword to “community-supported,” as the bulk of donations now are chivvied from local businesses and a “Leadership Circle” of the chablis-and-brie set. This spring’s drive had to be extended to meet initial goals, after many previous drives were deemed “record-setting.” And of note amid the exhortations for support by on-air personalities during the spring fundraiser was a liberal sprinkling of matching donations from Leadership Circle members in an effort to prime the pump. One local wag wondered if perhaps the chickens were coming home to roost for a callous management’s ham-handed treatment of longtime KUT personalities while blundering about for answers to the station’s struggles.


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