Comments from late-night/overnight program hosts
We requested comments focused on these two questions:
- What do you like/love about KFAI?
- What would you change about KFAI?
Note: The numbers on these comments were added to track the comments and treat them as part of the main comment log.
What do you like/love about KFAI?
9.1.The independence from corporate media and the ability to hear unique programming that is unavailable elsewhere.
9.2.Also, the passion of the staff and volunteers have for keeping the integrity of the station at the highest level possible is reflected in the programming and running of KFAI.
9.3.Fresh Air is a great example of people from varying backgrounds working together (for free!) to create something positive in the city and one that positively affects everyone's represented community.
What would you change about KFAI?
9.4.I have never been a fan of a programming grid.
9.5.I know that programming grids are a necessity in today's media world, even for the independent outlets such as Fresh Air, and that the concept is not going to go away. However, I have very fond memories of the pre-programming grid KFAI, when I could hear a lesbian folk show at 1pm followed by a punk rock show at 3pm on a Tuesday followed by audio theater or whatever else was scheduled that day.
9.6.One of the major factors in my cohost and my's decision to kill off our show was that relegating the "rock" shows to the hours between midnight - 6am proved to be too taxing for a couple of guys with day jobs. If we could have gotten a 10-midnight slot (where the jazz programming was allocated) we'd still be on the air now.
What do you like/love about KFAI?
9.7.The ideals it was founded on: Community / multicultural / diverse presence /people power - not corporate power / respect and thank you
9.8.that someone a little less structured like me can be on air, be herself, and is working the interactive element through facebook now etc. with out the perch of • • the "supers" over my shoulder
9.9.That I choose my own music
9.10. That a library exists to help me
9.11. Independent programming
9.12. The lack of "polish" - but HONEST real people
9.13. Database of music
9.15. Nagging to a minimum
9.16. That I can be music director (but at LEAST HELP with parking and a coffee after 10 YEARS)
9.17. The people I work with and work alongside with - all of the people. I don't have to like them 100% - but i instantly do because we are under the same cause
9.18. Local / Global community
What would you change about KFAI?
9.19. Thank you notes / actions / parties (NOT POT LUCKS) - something that says thank you for your service
9.20. Awareness other than a note in a pamphlet on how much time you serve
9.21. More training on the transition time between DJs - not as a group - but as a one-on-one with each other - NOT between shows but at another time - basically for new people.
9.22. • The "fatherly" review of the show feels - hummmm how should I say it - I talk to my freshmen college students with more respect. The current program director is MUCH better. but even when our previous program director was there - it felt like "the powers that be" - and mine were all good - but seriously - i felt like I was on trial / in the principal’s office. It wasn't a meeting of peers - if they want to move to a 2 year review process - I definitely do not want to come into that feeling like a job interview that all the things I love are weighted on it
9.24. My #1 issue!!!!!!!
that I offered them the BEST design & marketing students MCAD had to offer who were willing to work FOR FREE = THEY NEED AN INTERNSHIP TO GRADUATE - FOR FREE - THEY WERE THE BEST AND THEY BLEW IT!!!!! - everything they wanted - multi cultural, hip, smart, sensitive, not white, & dedicated to our ideals - and they just DROPPED IT like a stone. I brought the paper work in and everything. I presented the plan they gave me as an assignment which is more than most companies do for a pitch for FREE and they dropped the ball. Over 10 years there have been MANY things that have made me want to quit - but this was #1 - and they hurt my reputation for doing this. I have offered this opportunity several times - and the individual programers that have seen and had it done for them have been knocked out of the park. I'd love to know the reason why we turned down this work for free.
9.25. Lack of public events
9.26. Lack of cross-generational events
9.27. Effective / well designed / publicity (real publicity - in public places)
9.28. Lack of outreach to young people
9.29. HORRID graphic design
9.30. HORRID ^ 2 web site
9.31. Twitter and facebook usage = fail. ball dropped- failure to use social-networking effectively
9.32. General sense of the staff being over worked, stressed, and under paid for the amount of work they do. I just feel so bad - like I want to hug everyone that's there. They look like my freshman during their first week of college finals - every day. That can't be right.
9.33. Outreach to the communities
9.34. Ignoring the college based / high school aged students who at this moment in time are TOTALLY tuned in to what we were doing - or were 2 years ago - that's moving away
What do you like/love about KFAI?
9.35. What I love about KFAI is the unique programming by knowledgeable, passionate programmers, where you often hear what other stations wouldn't even come close to.
What would you change about KFAI?
9.36. What I would change is the restriction on programmers to play no more than 4 pieces by the same artist. What about retrospectives or tribute shows about some artists (the recently departed Captain Beefheart comes to mind) who have only recorded under their own name?
9.37. Stations such as KBEM are allowed to do such shows, why not us? Remember the Zappathons that our dear Earl Root used to air? That's the kind of stuff that made our station even more unique.
9.38. Working in the service industry, I do come across some KFAI members and listeners. I also get calls from listeners during my program. When the subject turns to the schedule changes at KFAI, everyone seems to regret not having music in the morning to start their day on a positive note with. Everyone is still appreciative of Democracy Now! since we are the only station offering it. As far as the Take Away is concerned, people say that KFAI being so close on the dial to KNOW (MPR's 91.1), if they wanted news they would go to MPR anyway. And if they want music, well, they no longer have KFAI, so they go to The Current and maybe stay there.
9.39. That said, our listeners have already experienced shock with the recent changes. Some might just be getting used to the new schedule. I don't know if they are ready for another drastic change. If anything gets changed it should be done very tactfully and tastefully.
9.40. But music in the morning seems to be something that most people would appreciate.
9.41. All efforts should be on making KFAI a national leader in community radio listened to via phones. That's the future of radio. All other plans should take a backseat to that focus.
9.42. Also, the other thing KFAI needs is weirder shows. I don't know how else to put it. Dixie [Treichel], for example, should be asked to do an experimental sound show. Greg [Carr] should as well.
9.43. We should also have a strip of shows like Strictly Butter -- more rave/dance oriented stuff.
9.44. Finally, we have to have a mechanism for getting new shows on the air quicker. The last thing KFAI needs is a convoluted, 12-step, review process for every show, that will never - ever get fresh blood onto the airwaves. Yes the PD should meet individually with programmers once a year to review how they're doing. These meetings should be completely "how can I make my show better" meetings. Not punitive in anyway.
9.45. BUT every time slot strip should be opened up for competitive submission every few years. Those already in the timeslot are encouraged to apply (and obviously would have all the advantages of incumbency). New programmers are also encouraged to apply. The PC picks the best demos out of the pool for that time slot, taking into account past history for incumbent shows and the volunteer efforts of the new programmers. This is very doable because the PC has a long history of choosing shows when given a pool of applicants and demos. No need to reinvent the wheel. Most fair and best way to always ensure the best available programming is on the air.
What I like about KFAI.
9.46. That it exists at all. The station has meant a great deal to me over the years. It goes deep. I've made so many good friends, even met my hubby here. I am willing to admit that perhaps I had a bit of my identity wrapped up in being a d.j., interviewing bands and being part of some sort of "scene", but it was so much dang fun. And, Fucking A, I was (am) pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Sooo many fabulous memories, sooo many great shows over the years, and what characters we've had! Soooo many dollars we have all spent on records!!!!!
9.47. I know for sure that KFAI is unique and that we are lucky to have it.
What I would change.
9.48. (I answer this as a listener, member and volunteer.)
9.49. Give us back music and in the drive-time morning slots. The Takeaway blows chunks, it really, really does. I was on the outside looking in during the whole program change process, but it sounds to me like it was a painful process for the people involved (yeah, remember People-Powered??? or doesn't that apply anymore). We do music MUCH BETTER than we do PUBLIC AFFAIRS and NEWS - music has always been our strength, and I feel strongly that we should not let that go. I know there's a faction who wants to go that way, and I think it's the wrong way to go. I do like to hear the news in the morning sometimes, and then I turn my radio over to MPR, they do a swell job.
9.50. Give the programmers more respect than just occasional Thank You cards in the mail. WTF is up with that?
9.51. Give us back Rock on Friday nights. There, I said it. I don't want a Friday night show again, don't get me wrong - I want to hear Outlandlishly Awesome Rock on Friday Nights. Don't tell me that The Current is doing it - they aren't, ok????
9.52. I don't know how feasible this is, but is there a possibility that the station not be so beholden to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its funding? Some of their rules stifle creativity, such as the "not play the same artist more than twice" or whatever it is, rule. Also, writing down the length of songs - what is the point of that?
9.53. I am not averse to change - if the change is an improvement, but overall I'm listening less and less. I still support the station financially, but I'm wondering whether I should keep doing that, and also if I want to even continue volunteering, for that matter.
9.54. I realize I sound like some sort of wounded animal. Hope I don't sound too hostile or bitchy. I know we can't have "the good old days" back, but why can't we have "the good new days" also?
9.55. Here's to hoping there's something to look forward to.
9.56. At various points of my life, I have felt that my world is being taken away from me because it's become "obsolete". But KFAI is timeless and will never be obsolete, because it doesn't exist to stay current and "with it"...it exists to fulfill the needs of us who feel displaced and overlooked by a mainstream that only cares about marketability. KFAI is also a place where we can breathe and have fun and feel free; while the rest of the world tightens up and becomes more stuffy and business-like and bureaucratic.
9.57. Unfortunately, as of late, KFAI has not felt like an escape from the stuffiness, because it's become rather stuffy itself. So cold and business-like and bureaucratic and undemocratic. And seemingly only concerned with MARKETABILITY and ARBITRON. I just wanna have fun. I'm sick of all these rules. I'm sick of the playlists, I'm sick of the song restrictions. I'm sick of this over pseudo-professionalism and conformity that has overtaken us. I'm sick of feeling like I'm part of a sinking ship that nobody under 40 cares about. And I'm sick of people who aren't under 40 being made to feel like a bunch of old dogs being led out into the woods to die.
9.58. I also think it's important to find out why our listenership and pledge numbers have gone down. Are people just not listening to radio at all...or are they listening to something online or elsewhere? I get the feeling everyone's on Facebook. But are WE? And why not?
What do you like/love about KFAI?
9.59. The thing we enjoy the most about KFAI is the breadth of music and programming that exists in the same radio station. It's great to hear shows with a specific focus in music as well as others that cover a wide array of genres. For example on our show we try to cover the different styles of music that my DJ partner and I both grew up listening to and currently listen to. So having the freedom to play a merengue song and follow that up with a Chicano soul track and follow that up with funk track is what makes our show unique.
9.60. And I think knowing that the majority of the people that make KFAI run are all volunteers helps us be more accountable to each other.
What would you like to change about KFAI?
9.61. Being an overnight show can be challenging in terms of building loyal listeners and also come time for pledge drives. As a show we did pretty well during our first pledge drive but a lot of that was hustling on our end and reaching out to people we knew listen to the show either live or on the internet afterwards. That said, given that we're an overnight show where the expectation is that we primarily play music it's been a challenge to figure out ways to elevate some other elements of our show that would appeal to our listeners. Both Miguel and I work at community based organizations so we come in contact with great organizations, issues and people that would be great to have on the show. For us it's always been important to maintain that connection with our community cause they also make up a large portion of our loyal listeners.
9.62. Given our timeslot and the expectation of our show, we currently can't be a platform for those voices. We tried to start a "podcast" on our show where we could bring these folks to KFAI and interview them about their work. Here's the one that we did with a native youth group from Minneapolis: https://www.kfai.org/node/32506 We used one of the spare studios at KFAI to interview the kids. Afterwards we found out we couldn't use the studio for that purpose for a couple of reasons. 1) It wasn't an interview that was going to be played over the air on our show. 2) Many people have used the studio for other reasons, some personal, etc. and so it was important to create a much stronger policy around the use of the studios. I totally get that and am not in disagreement with it. 3) KFAI doesn't really have the infrastructure to podcast at the current moment and it's an area in development.
9.63. I think there's opportunities for overnight shows to develop additional strategies for getting listeners given that our timeslot isn't necessarily peak hours. For our show we started a facebook and twitter page and have over 400 folks on facebook and about 80 people on twitter. We've incorporated giving away tickets to shows online as well as on the air. And for us personally we'd like to find ways to take advantage of the community voices and artists that we have access to by being able to podcast certain discussions and interviews that can't happen over the air. I feel like some small changes in policies will allow us to continue developing our listenership as well as bringing more community people to the station and exposing them to KFAI as a viable platform to share their experience and stories. Thank you.
What do you like/love about KFAI?
9.64. I love the personalities.
9.65. I also like that KFAI just lets us do our thing every week with little or no restriction from management. We really do have the freedom to play whatever music we want and express whatever opinions we see fit. I think it gives the listeners more direct connections to the hosts, in that what they hear on-air is really us, and not us "playing a character" or playing off someone else's playlist.
What would you change about KFAI?
9.66. Based on my on-air experiences for the last month or two, I'd change some of the equipment we use on-air. It seems like our current CD players are on their last legs, which is frustrating for the on-air hosts, and is exasperating for the listeners. To the listeners, it must sound like we're too poor to afford decent equipment.
9.67. I would also highly, highly recommend some kind of device that can play files off a hard drive, so that programmers can bring in music on an external hard drive or a thumb drive. We'd plug into a USB port on the equipment rack, and play what we need. It'd be like the DDS, only with a USB port. I know the Root of All Evil crew plays music off a laptop - this would be the same idea, only it would be easier to work with (remote-start triggering from the board) and would sound better.
9.68. Our current online mp3 stream is 96 kbps and our current archived mp3 shows are 128 kbps. I would recommend bumping both up to 256 kbps. The improvement in sound quality would be tremendous, and the extra bandwidth burden could easily be absorbed. Right now, for example, at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon, we have 14 people streaming out of a possible 400. (You can check for yourself at http://tres.kfai.org:8000/)
What I love about KFAI:
9.69. The station is on 2 positions on the dial
9.70. Streams Online.
9.71. Welcomes anyone that is willing to volunteer their time regardless of race, religion, sex & etc..
9.72. Has equipment available @ for those that need it.
9.73. Offers Training that usually cost 1000's for free.
Things I Dislike..
9.74. Lack of access to the website for promotion.
9.75. Not able to take advantage of FCC obscenity laws. Still have to edit music well after 10pm.
9.76. Not enough live remotes within the communities we serve. Example: Setup @ an underwriters business & actually promote it.
What I love about KFAI:
Connections and community:
9.77. The fact that some schmuck off the street can come in and do something at the station *almost immediately,* for example, answering phones during pledge drive, and beyond.
9.78. You are exposed to people you might not otherwise ever meet.
9.79. You may have a favorite show, and if you dare to listen to other shows, they may become your 2nd, 3rd, 4th… favorite shows.
9.80. Making connections between seemingly unconnected things, such as different music genres, different perspectives.
9.81. Exposure to things outside your comfort zone, and how your comfort zone expands almost without your realizing that it’s expanding.
9.82. I have met all kinds of interesting people, with different backgrounds, educational and otherwise, and have found unexpected and surprising common ground in the process.
9.83. The fact that that you have free training to operate equipment to be on-air, with or without a show commitment. And it’s totally practical training!
9.84. A certain amount of confidence is established and built-in by participating in the training.
9.85. Our streaming service and archives allow people from all over to peek into what we’re doing. We remain a community radio station, but the Internet allows people anywhere to check out what we’re doing.
9.86. Program archives allow for time-shifting—people can find programs opposite their schedules. Not every station has this archives feature. It’s a plus to be celebrated and expanded upon!
9.87. We are a radio station *still.* In our research and development of new technological enhancements, we should take advantage of new technologies, but let’s still be an over-the-air radio station. How do we know “radio is going to be dead in blah-blah years?” Well, it will be dead, if we give up on it.
What I would change about KFAI:
Identity/Mission/Who We Are:
9.88. Reluctance to swim upstream! There is a tendency to not have enough confidence in what we have and are doing, and to allow “experts” to influence what we’re doing. Is this reliance on consultants and “going with the flow” the way to go?
9.89. Why does community radio exist? Is it to conform to some standard and appeal to a lowest common denominator? Or is it to give voice to our mission statement and be more nonconformist?
9.90. Is there still a place for nonconformists at KFAI? I think there is, as long as we don’t give in to outside sources and opinion generators.
9.91. Have some CONFIDENCE in us!
9.92. The schedule-change battle didn’t need to be as big a battle as it was. It could have had more transparency, more information, and less manipulation. I felt that things were manipulated, people’s arguments to the contrary. For example, the need for a change was painted as “We need to do SOMETHING NOW or we’re gonna DIE!” Come to find out no, we’re NOT gonna DIE, from a financial standpoint. This difference between how the need for change was pitched versus the financial reality makes me wonder about the real reason behind the schedule change.
9.93. What happened opinion-wise regarding the need for a schedule change? Did voices from outside drown out those from inside? There was a definite sense, among the printed materials and meeting discussion points, that “someone knew better.” “Conventional industry wisdom” and trends seemed to hold more weight than local opinion and what people were saying *here.*
9.94. The listening component/listening community didn’t really get a chance to participate in the schedule-change process until REALLY late in the game. This only fueled the fire. For example, we had real listeners saying after the change was implemented, “I had no idea these things were going on.” Programmers did their best to carry on in the midst of the change. But there was no genuine effort to reach out to listeners, really, over the air, about the change. What would have happened if the station put out information about the schedule changing *in a more direct way* to the generally passive listeners? The survey conducted was pretty narrow, and it didn’t suggest that there would be a change or a change was being considered. It doesn’t count as a way of informing listeners of the change.
9.95. From my view, there was a predetermined outcome regarding the schedule change, and most everything that occurred was done as lip service to give the impression that multiple outcomes were entertained.
9.96. Now that the schedule change has occurred, we have what we have. But six months have passed without a targeted marketing effort. The Takeaway cart—okay, well, that’s something. It works for active listeners, maybe. But a LOT of people still don’t know we exist.
9.97. I recognize the financial constraints regarding marketing. But we have access to a talent pool that could do marketing efforts for the station for nothing! From students volunteering their time to professionals who would do things on a volunteer basis—why aren’t we using these people and their talents? Because it appears that we are not.
9.98. As with federal, state, and local elections, it’s important that people participate in KFAI’s elections. But not enough people do and that is glaringly apparent.
9.99. I don’t remember hearing anything on the air that listeners and volunteers should think about voting if they didn’t choose to run. Voting is as important as running. If 2 percent of the voting population puts people in offices, how representative is the process?
9.100. We have so many eligible voters. I recognize that if more people voted, certain people wouldn’t represent positions that are to my liking. But at least that would result in more people eligible to vote putting themselves forward. More participation is better!
9.101. Neither tier of board elections (Listener-Member and Volunteer) has much participation. Not many people voting, unopposed candidates, people getting seated by default, etc.
9.102. There should be a little more effort put into *greater participation* in elections, as candidates and voters.
KFAI in the larger community
9.103. AMPERS is a good thing, but it could be expanded upon. It’s a good thing to make friends with as many other community radio stations as we can, and let other stations know about *us.* Reason being is we’re already talking with people who have the same mindset we do.
Arbitron ratings and audience composition
9.104. The sample size for Arbitrons is troubling.
9.105. I don’t think Arbitron gives non-commercial stations a break. It’s not set up for us, it’s geared more toward commercial stations!
9.106. Do we really need to pay so much attention to Arbitron ratings?
9.107. It’s been stated in some meetings that the Arbitron numbers are used to determine who will underwrite our programming and at what rate. Are we really basing underwriting charges on shaky Arbitron numbers?
9.108. Most of my 2 cents simply reflects what I've already tried to communicate to Jeremy and the Programming committee.
9.109. During the 80s, Fresh Air had a number of programs that featured contemporary (if alternative) rock of the time, alongside soul music, funk, and folk. Where is the programming that features today’s equivalents of the Clash, the Jam, the Pretenders, Suicide Commandos, and the Suburbs? Where is the programming that will bring today’s rockers to Fresh Air and let them discover the ska, reggae, Scandinavian music, world, soul, blues, and other music that we present so well? Why don't we have shows that feature contemporary rock and other kinds of music? I would love to see more shows that mix up genres and styles.
9.110. Why is rock relegated to late night? And why can't successful, experienced late night programmers eventually move to an earlier slot?
9.111. Speaking of which, it seems that successful, experienced programmers are being passed over for less experienced volunteers. Why have questions about experience and volunteer time on the program applications if such factors aren't considered. Many, many shows can be considered more or less equivalent. For instance, a punk/garage rock show might be in the same league (production and interest wise) as a show of middle-eastern music. However, shouldn't a long time volunteer and experienced broadcaster be given a more desirable slot than a newcomer?
9.112. Judging from the minutes of the meeting where new programs were chosen, committee members were simply asked which were their top programs. There is no evidence that applications were scored on a variety of factors, such as originality, on-air presence, knowledge, experience, eclecticism (when appropriate), volunteer time, or other criteria, such as the ability to attract a new audience. There is little evidence that such things were even discussed. Had each application been scored on a variety of criteria, the score for each could have been presented, which would have made ranking easier.
9.113. I am a reasonably intelligent person, yet I could find no evidence of what the committee was looking for in proposals, other than the committee would consider “all music proposals.” This is as good as no guideline at all. Was it preferable to have roots, eclectic, local music, rock music, or what in the time-slot? There was no guidance on what was wanted, nor anything about the importance of the time slot, how a show might fit with those before and after it, what kind of audience we want to cultivate or even what wasn’t wanted. Surely, the requirements for the 10-Noon slot that comes after Al McFarlane’s public affairs show would be different from those for the 10-Midnight slots. When a slot is being filled, guidelines should include some concern about how the show will fit in with those both before and after it.
What I like/love about the station?
9.114. The wonderful volunteers at the station. They are the biggest asset to the station. The knowledge and willingness to bring things to the air that you hear nowhere else are worth more than can be expressed.
9.115. In the past there was such camaraderie that is not what it used to be. I think that it can be restored.
9.116. It's wonderful hearing artists coming down to the station to share their talents with everyone.
What would I change?
9.117. I would like to see more community activities that bring the KFAI name back to what it once was. We could do some fundraisers or activities that would highlight different parts of our programming. Say, do some kind of event for the rockers, another for the jazz people, world music, roots music…the options are almost endless. We should be more visible at things like the May Day Parade (as we used to be). It seems that the events that we were part of in the early years of KFAI have been deemed unimportant while we are trying to be involved in different areas. Why can't we do both?
9.118. We should restore the feeling of community, with the volunteers and listeners both. It would make us that much stronger. Everyone's voice should be heard and taken into consideration.
9.119. We need more space for the record library plus more control over what "disappears" from the station. Too much music makes it's way to the record sale. Things that some of us play, but the younger volunteers are not familiar with do not seem be considered to be of value. It seems that orange dotting something does not always keep things in the library. I don't know what we would do for more library space, but I can dream!
9.120. Get rid of the Takeaway. We are losing money with this show. We would better serve the listeners with music in the morning.
9.121. I love about KFAI - I love that the station promotes creativity and unique and individual shows. Fantastic stuff!
9.122. What would I change? Maybe put term limits on shows. Say, 3 years and then the show has to go up for re-election! Also, there's quite a few shows that have been on the air for a long time where the hosting is dreadful. No personality, IMHO.
9.123. I need more support from staff, especially the PD. I know he's very very busy but he's not covering all the bases.
9.124.I spent time last week on a blurb for the KFAI home page and it didn't get on.
9.125.Lots of times my weekly promo won't get into rotation, even when our log is very weak on spots.
9.126.Concerned about the program renewals procedure proposed by an outgoing Program Committee member literally in the last minutes of his tenure. I received it with an open mind but after giving it a lot of thought, I've come to the conclusion that it SUCKS, big time. Not only is it a HUGE suck of staff time (refer to paragraph above) but if it ain't broken, don't try to fix it.
9.127.The proposed plan is really involved and it makes every programmer "defend" their turf every other year. I personally don't have ANY time for that since I'm now pushing 39 hours per week already on my show.
9.128.If a programmer is getting lazy or not putting out a quality show, deal with it on an individual basis.
9.129.This renewals system would really demoralize all programmers and pit people against people and we haven't healed yet from the last fiasco.
9.130.I would love to see a better system for choosing new programs. I sat in on the Program Committee meeting that picked the last big batch of shows including mine. Very few PC members even showed up for that! A number of good dedicated volunteers got screwed on that one and I personally think some weak ones got chosen.