Some Things Considered, or: About Those Programming Changes at KERA-FM

Over the last couple of days I've received a handful of emails from KERA-FM supporters wondering what the heck happened to 90.1's lineup in recent days. Because as of Saturday, there's been a significant shakeup to the programming schedule: Out, for instance, are Tell Me More, To the Point, The Splendid Table and On the Media. And in are such shows as Earth Beat and The State We're In -- both Radio Netherlands Worldwide imports dealing with "economics form a world perspective," as Christopher Wagley, KERA's communications and marketing director, put it when we spoke this afternoon.

Also added to the weekend and weekday slates: RadioLab, a music-rich show that made its bow Sunday, and a 4 p.m. weekday Marketplace, which runs "right as the markets are closing," says Wagley, who adds that the 6:30 version of the show "is a recap of the top business and economic stories of the day." Also, an extra hour of All Things Considered (from 3 to 4 p.m.) has been added, since, as he puts it, "it is one of our flagship shows." The station is now re-running Think at 9 p.m.

Unlike some previous programing changes, especially those involving major overhauls, KERA didn't send out a press release, opting instead to note the changes via its social-networking pages and e-newsletters. Which is why the switchover took some Friends of Unfair Park by surprise. (Or, as one pledge-making Friend put it via email: "KERA 90.1-FM has done screwed up my weekday listening schedule!!")

Says Wagley, there were several reasons for the changes.

"Part of it comes from a yearly review dealing with monetary and programmatic concerns," he says, "and some of it comes from listener feedback. This also gives us the opportunity to air an extra hour of All Things Considered and then run Think in the evenings as well. And some of these were dropped primarily because of monetary considerations. With these kinds of changes there will always be people disappointed, and there will be some people happy to hear new things or shows they miss during the day. It's always a big decision for us to make."

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