Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BSU radio

I'm probably not going to renew my subscription to KBSU. It has really been stinking up the place lately.

They're letting sloooow talking George Prentice, who can deliver half the news in twice the time, have way too much air time, for one thing. For another, they've lately been preempting sometimes as much as half of any given half hour. It takes me usually around a half hour for my commute, and of late too much of NPR has been getting preempted for lame stories.I pay a subscription for NPR, not really to hear local reporters. Some of their stories are okay, but many, it seems to me, are just an effort to fill up some air time.

Another irritation is that BSU radio runs some story one afternoon, then runs the same one again the next morning, so you have to sit through it twice.

Perhaps BSU is trying to save money by broadcasting less NPR. Or perhaps it's trying to give its staff radio experience. I don't know. I just know that my listening enjoyment level is way down.

I've been enjoying my XM radio in lieu of BSU Radio. It at least delivers what I think I've paid for.

Update: Interesting exchange in the comment section.


Anonymous said...

Respectfully disagree.

KBSX (the news station; KBSU is the classical station) has made great strides in the past two years in terms of the quality of its local news reporting. At the moment, they provide the best coverage of local government in the valley -- certainly better than The Incredible Shrinking Statesman. As newspapers die off, public radio will become an increasingly important source for community news. KBSX is on its way to fulfilling that vital civic role.

Sounds like you don't care much about local news and just want the national NPR product. That's fine ... but keep in mind that it's the local stations that support NPR financially. Cut your support of BSU radio, and you're spiting your face.

alan said...

I also respectfully disagree. The best coverage of local government is probably Besty Russell with the Spokane-Review.

Much of what KBSX reports are stories I've read in the Statesman. I guess that's good for non-paper readers, but it's not original reporting.

I'm aware that local stations support NPR nationally, but if I can't hear NPR because it's preempted, then as to me that is the same as NPR not existing.

I do want to hear local news. But, give a close listen to what KBSX is reporting. Yesterday, or Tuesday, it aired two stories, back to back. First, reaction to raising the tobacco tax. Next, a puff piece lauding the Gene Harris Festival.

Given that I can ask any of the smokers shivering outside my building what they think of the tax, the reporting was not helpful, or interesting.

And the puff piece was just that. Nothing new.

So, if KBSX does real reporting on things of interest, I might change my mind. But that's not what I'm hearing come over the airways.

Geoff said...

I used to be a regular KBSU/KBSX listener. I haven't been for some time, as I no longer have a drive-time commute, but today was different- I drove to Boise and back with KBSX on. There was one long interview with the prison boss, and then back to ATC...Much different than the daily update from Don W and the good local stuff interspersed with ME/ATC. I agree with Alan. Still like the Saturday lineup, if I could just find a radio around here that works...

Sisyphus said...

Well, I'm a regular listener as Alan is. And while I have a quibble or two with the content of the local reporting its better than before when they just read the ap wire reports. At least its original content and I appreciate them making the effort. Just deep six about half of the feel good spots and shove a mic in the face of some more legislators on hot button issues of which there are plenty right now. Every one of the listeners are interested in Idaho politics and there is a serious void of journalists doing this kind of reporting. And since KBSU is miles ahead of any other news entity in this medium there ain't no way I'm cutting my sponsorship of a station I can get even in the most remote places in the state.

alan said...

I agree with Sisyphus; if they'd drop the puff pieces and start interviewing legislators, agency heads, and ask real questions, i.e., real reporting, it would be worthwhile.

But, can't they get Prentice to talk a little faster?

ericn1300 said...

I, too, agree with Sisyphus. It used to really annoy me when the local news just seemed to be reading me the same stories I already read in the paper before getting in the car. I really don't consider KBSX as BSU radio anymore. When I went to BSU in the '70's they actually had students involved and on air and lots of local content. Nowadays it just seems they've been swayed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and are more worried about business sponsorships to carry more NPR subscriptions than local programming.

I was listening to KBSX 91.5 the other day and a show came on that I didn't care for so I flipped over to KBSU 740 AM and it was the same show. What's the point with that, even if they're going to have the same content at least they should off set the shows by an hour so you at least have somewhat of a choice.

The weekend schedule was seriously screwed up awhile back so now I just download the NPR shows I want to hear onto my MP3 player and listen to them when I want to, and there are a lot of them not carried on KBSX that I've found when traveling in other states.

Jill Kuraitis said...

I get all your points, but give them a little longer to work things out. They have a new news director, Elizabeth Duncan, who is dynamite - a very experienced reporter and director who has just taken over. She has been on fire lately getting her ducks in a row, and sources lined up, and I think if you'll stay with it you'll see a slow and steady improvement.

Anonymous said...

YES! Oh boy do they stink. With all due respect to other commenters, have you lived anywhere else with a local NPR station? Our station doesn't even try to do its own news reporting; it does barely edited feel-good pieces and reads items from the paper. I would LOVE some real news.
Recently, they had a MAJOR opportunity to hire an exciting, forward-thinking news director, and instead they hired a local TV person. Please. I'm done donating (for now) until I hear something local that doesn't sound like my granny produced it. I'll send my donations directly to NPR headquarters instead, thank you very much.

ParaFrog said...

George Prentice = Ambien

Samantha Wright has a much better radio presence.

Peavy's essays are cute, but hers too reinforce the NPR stereotype on SNL.

On the flip side of the whiney coin...

Public radio stations operate on shoestrings, and NPR is expensive. So I'll take what I can get.