WBEZ in Chicago, one of the oldest public radio stations, will shift its focus to news and talk. Its keen Jazz fans have been very upset. The WBEZ story is at the heart of the New Realities process that we have been working on.
Here is an excellent piece from Deborah Cohen at Reuters that describes why this controversial decision was made. Snip -
Downloadable music and streaming Webcasts are competing for their music listeners, and local news, threatened by consolidation in the commercial media, is taking on greater importance. In addition, WBEZ and many other public radio stations say their programming has not kept pace with a changing U.S. population.
"Local news has simply been abandoned by the commercial broadcasters and sometimes even the commercial newspapers," Ken Stern, executive vice president of Washington-based National Public Radio, told Reuters.
"What you see as a trend is stations like WBEZ investing heavily in local news and information," Stern said.
WBEZ and NPR's other so-called member stations raise their own operating funds -- much of them from individual listeners -- and pay providers such as NPR for syndicated shows such as the daily news program "All Things Considered."
Around the United States, changes similar to WBEZ's are taking place. Connecticut Public Radio's WNPR-FM dropped most of its classical programming in favor of news and information early in June. WETA, another public FM station in Washington, D.C., made the switch to all-talk more than a year ago. Stations in New York, Boston and elsewhere have made similar moves.