May 11, 2011

KPBS Radio format change builds on news-driven gains in online audience

KPBS Radio in San Diego will go all-news, dropping classical music from its evening and overnight schedule as of May 23. The format change, announced late yesterday, includes an overhaul of its local midday talk show These Days, which will reduce its footprint to a one-hour broadcast and be re-titled Midday Edition. A Friday news round-up will scale back from a stand-alone show to a segment within Midday Edition.

The changes position KPBS's local talk show in the noon timeslot when more listeners tune in, and allow producers to focus the on news of the day, rather than news of yesterday, according to the Voice of San Diego. "We wanted to have more quality and less quantity" as KPBS's TV, web and radio operations work toward a vision of being the "premier source" of news in San Diego, KPBS chief Tom Karlo told the Voice.

KPBS is one of a handful of major market pubcasting stations that have made impressive gains in Web traffic by expanding their capacity for multi-platform news delivery. Public media analyst Mark Fuerst reported on the tactics behind KPBS's success in the May 2 edition of Current.

KPBS's classical music service, which is essentially a feed of American Public Media's Classical 24, has moved online and to an HD Radio channel. Programmers plan to feature local music performances on weekends.

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