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July 15, 2008
By Natalie Savidge
Reno’s longtime public radio station overhauled its program schedule this week to better serve listeners. KUNR 88.7 FM, the listener-supported station broadcasting on campus for the past 45 years, began its new programming July 14.
“KUNR will now be a total news-and-information station by day and a classical music station by night,” said KUNR General Manager David Stipech. “We remain committed to classical music and also want to keep our connection to jazz, both of which are part of our history.”
The aim is a more perfect blend of National Public Radio programming, local and national news, music, culture and entertainment. “KUNR is dedicated to offering the best mix of programming possible,” said Stipech. “Classical music is not offered in northern Nevada and we are committed to providing that service. Because other area stations do offer evening jazz programming, we can’t justify duplicating jazz, which is now only on Saturday night.”
Updates to the schedule were prompted by the changing landscape of the competitive northern Nevada radio market; the increasing variety of listening options available today via Internet, satellite and other advancing technologies; and a growing appetite for news and information in today’s around-the-clock news cycle.
“As a Reno native and University of Nevada graduate, I want the best for the station and the community,” Stipech said. “Making changes is incredibly difficult because I know people’s daily lives and routines and enjoyment are impacted. Yet we must better serve our communities with programming that is attractive to large numbers of listeners.”
University President Milton Glick said KUNR, as an NPR affiliate, is an important outreach function of the University.
“This (new schedule) meets the large majority of our audience’s needs and will enhance KUNR’s service to the community and its competitive position in the marketplace, a marketplace strongly competed for by Capital Radio out of Sacramento,” Glick said.
Another significant change involves opera programming. The longtime Saturday morning opera slot is shifting to Sundays at 8 p.m. NPR’s World of Opera will air year-round, as The Metropolitan Opera from New York is enjoyed live exclusively on Saturdays and contractually cannot be rebroadcast at the new time.
While potentially disappointing to the opera’s loyal listeners, the switch will enable KUNR to air new programming in the active Saturday morning block. One highly requested addition is the most popular radio quiz show in the nation: Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, now airing Saturdays at 10 a.m.
“I am well aware that not all of our listeners may embrace the new KUNR lineup, at least at first,” Stipech said. “I’d ask that they give the new program schedule a fair hearing for a month or two before passing judgment. I truly believe they will come to enjoy it.”
Stipech expects some minor adjustments to the schedule while the changes take shape over the coming weeks. KUNR will evaluate programming on an ongoing basis. Comment and opinions are welcome via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the station’s listener comment line at 1-877-776-2999. Also, KUNR town hall meetings will be scheduled this fall throughout the station’s broadcast communities. Along with a station update, KUNR representatives will address attendees’ questions, comments and suggestions.
With studios located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus since 1963, KUNR is heard in more than a dozen communities in a 106,000-square-mile region in northern and eastern Nevada, and in northeastern California. It is a nonprofit, listener-supported station licensed to the Nevada System of Higher Education.