Letter from the Manager:  EKU Budget Cuts

Later this year WEKU will celebrate 50 years on the air. Eastern Kentucky University signed on WEKU in the Fall of 1968 and has been supportive of an independent voice for news and culture all that time. Since moving our classical music to a different frequency and spreading out our news programming throughout the day we have enjoyed continued growth in listenership and funding, so much so that we have more listeners now than ever before. 

As a public radio station operated by a public University, WEKU  we understand how news of funding decreases for higher education could lead to concerns and questions. As it relates to the current budget climate, I assure you that WEKU will continue to be responsible stewards of the funds and trust you, the public, provide us. As we have said on-air in the past - WEKU is one of the most efficiently run stations in the country as determined by Greater Public and their Benchmarks service.

As we do from time to time, we are evaluating our current program schedule. We want you our listeners to know that we plan on carrying all the daily programs that have become our most-popular hours from mornings through the mid-day and into the early evening. Morning Edition, Here and Now and All Things Considered will still be here for you.

There are several providers of national programming from which we purchase the shows you have come to rely on. We will be making some adjustments, primarily on the weekends to restructure our programming.  With these changes, we hope to grow our audience by adding new listeners and having those of you who already listen, maybe listen a little longer. 

I have already begun the process of discussing our schedule with three of the most-accomplished, independent market and programming resources in our business. They have provided a list of programs they feel are must-carry and have made suggestions about what to drop or move. Normally this kind of review is done every so often to keep our programming fresh. We usually consult the listening patterns we receive for our markets from Nielsen, we also seek listener-input every fund-drive and ultimately make the decision based on a combination of that data, our experience in programming and our budget. 

Given the current environment we thought that it might be helpful to signal these changes in advance and make an even more concerted effort for listener input. We cannot guarantee that all your favorites will be retained, but, we want to make our decision based on as much information as we can get. 

Let me illustrate just one example of the decisions we have before us. Car Talk has been in repeats now for almost a full year and before that new material had not been recorded for some time. Many stations have retired the program or moved it to a new time. Perhaps you've moved on as well. Interestingly enough, in our most recent ratings Car Talk is still being listened to by many - it's almost as strong as ever. It's still one of our most popular programs with nearly twice as many public radio listeners listening to it on WEKU as to other stations you may be able to hear. Of the three national consultants I talked to one said - "get rid of it", another said "it's still a high performing show, you need to keep it" and the third said "it's up to you." ... again, just one example of one hour a week. 

What do you think? Not just about Car Talk, but of all the programs you hear on our air or some of the programs you may hear on other stations in other markets.  

If you haven't already shared your favorites or have suggestions or ideas, please email me directly. I would be happy to share more information about the station and our programming and the nature of the cuts we're facing. My desk phone is 859 622 1662 and it rings to my cell when I am not in the office. 

Thank you for listening to WEKU and your interest in our operation. 

Roger Duvall
Station Manager - The WEKU Stations