A fair and just handling of KRCL

Excuse any spelling or grammar, because I didn’t really edit this and wrote it as fast as possible….

Sometimes I wonder whether our friends are KRCL aren’t their own worst enemy. Here’s the truth: we love them. As a city there’s no doubt about it, they’re a fabulous station, and my absolute favorite on the dial. The recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune which reviewed their problems in the past, how they dealt with them, and where they are at now, in my opinion was very even-handed and even complimentary of the station. I think they should be pleased with their representation and should applaud them on their good work (particularly, in my opinion, in the arena of (somewhat re-) branding) and getting a HUGE bump in listeners.

But in the capacity of marketing director for Utah Free Media (the “other”) station, I’ve heard a lot of complaints about our DJs and volunteers being bad actors and bitter individuals toward their former employers. Some of this has come (albeit through 3rd parties) from leadership at KRCL. Other grumblings have come from friends in the community. And of course there is the Wild West style writings of comment boards at the Trib, which are at least funny and often completely insane.

Again, in my capacity at UtahFM, it’s not only our official posision that KRCL is groovy, but our DJs don’t seem to have any problem either. This conflict is largely a perception issue. I gave David Burger, the writer of the Trib piece, the names of several current UtahFM DJs and former KRCL volunteers. To their credit, I cannot imagine that anyone had a truly salacious thing to say about KRCL…. or surely Burger would have printed it. I, for my matter, was under the impression that the story was about going to be about mismanagement. It was, of course, not really about that at all. To Burger’s credit, he really gave KRCL the fair shake and good representation they deserved, and we (for my part) at UtahFM think the justice was well done.

My impression is that many folks at KRCL hold onto the belief that UtahFM is against them. This is not the case. Our healthy rivalry, I believe, is a positive force in the community.

I was told that KRCL leadership believes that UtahFM produced “RIP KRCL” bumper stickers. I’m sorry, this is not the case. Other rumbling indicated that “our forces” are behind a number of negative press pieces lately. Again, not the case. Drop the paranoia. Hell, if it were up to me we’d do a lot more together — KRCL & Utah Free Media working in concert with one another. Let’s hope this is the case at some point in the future. I’d love to work on projects together that better serve our local arts and culture scene.

As for the G Selector, I still do not know why, if the station is not using the program for its intended purpose (auto-scheduling), it was worth purchasing. Perhaps, as is probable, there is some functionality that I am unaware of.


2 thoughts on “A fair and just handling of KRCL

  1. Patrick:
    Thanks for the post. I agree with you that everyone needs to get over it. As someone who has been involved with the station for some years as a volunteer, joined the board during the SRP, and was asked by trustees and management to take over as chair of the board this year, I still struggle with why people want to draw battle lines when everyone seems to be working toward a common goal: diverse, quality music and entertainment programming in SLC.

    We have a fantastic new GM, some pretty good programming (we can all always improve, who can’t) and lots to offer the community. I suppose there will always be folks on both sides of an equation who would rather talk about their own opinion of why something sucks or spout off on issues about which they’re not informed rather than focus on the positive aspects of organizations. For the KRCL board, though, and our fantastic staff, I can only offer that we are looking forward to a future that we see filled with great promise for our organization and many others, including UtahFM.

    Regarding the G Selector, and I’m embarrassed that it’s gotten so much press ink, the program is intended to do two things for KRCL. First, it will allow us to digitize the entire music library, effectively placing all of the programming assets in one place rather than having them scattered across CDs, laptops, and iPods all over town, depending on who’s working when. Protecting and preserving the library in this way is part of KRCL’s long-term institutional plan. Second, the Selector has proved valuable as a pre-programming device, wherein our DJs can pre-program their shows for, say, Christmas in order to enjoy the holiday at home with friends and family. Last holiday season, the program allowed our staff and volunteers to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Day as days off, with only minimal monitoring. As you know, the volunteers and paid staff all work extremely hard to keep the station on the air, so a real holiday once in a while has proved a nice bonus.

    We’re working hard to keep building our numbers and growing the station. I wish you and the folks at UtahFM equal success in the coming years. Thanks again for the airtime. Cheers!

    Brian Seethaler
    Board of Trustees
    KRCL 90.9 Listeners Community Radio of Utah

  2. I was actually looking forward to “The Changes” at KRCL. I never much cared for the previous format, or overall sound of the station. There were a few individual DJs that I liked (and supported with pledges), but for the most part, KRCL didn’t play much that interested me. The weekly schedule was a sprawling mess. It had too many genres, no consistency, no direction, no cohesive or identifiable “sound” at all. I hoped the new station would be more focused, in terms of its musical emphasis, and pattern itself around other non-commercial music stations like KCRW, or KEXP, or Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Current”. I wanted to hear more of an emphasis on new music that isn’t getting played anywhere else in this city, stuff that was relevant to 2009, and less like the sounds of 1969.

    But, then the transition actually happened. It was horribly mis-managed. There was no announcement or solicitation for input from the listeners. There still isn’t even a KRCL blog or message board where people could be informed about what’s going on with the station. It just happened. The only DJs I cared to hear were sent packing, when they should have been the foundation of the new sound. And at the end of it all, we’re still basically stuck with much of the same boring rootsy genres we had before. It seems we were just expected to like it, because if you don’t like KRCL in this town, then you’re somehow not “progressive” enough.

    KRCL could have become one of the premier independent non-commercial music stations in the country, but it seems like it’s still a rudderless ship. It’s frustrating. I think that a huge opportunity to reshape KRCL was blown, and I have to believe that the management and board are responsible. It’s like they’re not paying attention to the sound of the station. Do they really even listen to the music? KRCL needs some kind of direction and consistency. Stop trying to be all the radio I need, pick a sound and do it extremely well all day long.

    I want KRCL to be the best station in this state, but with the increasing availability of other listening options, I don’t see KRCL functioning as a relevant as a music station if it continues with the current disjoint discordant daily schedule, which is really too bad. SLC needs a better source for new music.

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