So is Cliff Mass:
Three years ago, KUOW had five hours of local programming each day. This included the station's flagship program, Weekday, in which authors, politicians, and others would be interviewed by Steve Scher at depth (typically 20-30 minutes), with listeners calling to join the conversation. Today, there is only one hour of local programming for a new show, The Record, that is broadcast at a time when few folks listen (noon). This show is an amorphous, hodge-podge of short local and national stories. So 80% of KUOW's local programming has been cut.... The mastermind of the suppression of local programs is KUOW's programming director, Jeff Hansen. Mr. Hansen believes that Seattle listeners do not have the patience for in-depth, long-form segments and holds that we can only tolerate short (5-8 minute) pieces. The National Public Radio shows (like Morning Edition and All Things Considered) are like that, as are the national shows he has brought on to replace local content (The Takeaway, BBC Newshour, Here and Now). The new local show, The Record is also limited to short pieces.
I believe Jeff Hansen is dead wrong and will undermine KUOW if allowed to continue this policy. First, it is insulting to Seattle listeners to suggest that we can't deal with long-form shows: KUOW's successful Weekday program proved him wrong. Second, some stories require more time than 5-10 minutes to handle properly. Third, Mr. Hansen's approach excludes listener participation, and I would suggest that acting as a regional aural town square is important. And finally, his approach makes no sense from a technological standpoint. Most of the programs that KUOW offers are national/international programs available easily on the web. You can get them on your browser or smartphone (with wifi or internet) at any time and choose what you want. Many cars have satellite radio and in five years most cars will have internet. Listeners won't need KUOW to get these programs and listenership will plummet unless KUOW creates programs that are unique, local, and interesting. But that is exactly the kind of programs Jeff Hansen is stripping from KUOW's line-up. An ill-advised approach guaranteed to damage a major local radio station.
If you peruse KUOW's facebook page you will find the overwhelming sentiment of the comments/reviews is unhappiness with recent programming changes and KUOW's market share has dropped according to Arbitron. KUOW used to be in first or second place in this market, now it is in tenth place.
Go read the whole thing—the stuff about KUOW's finances and fundraising is particularly illuminating.
UPDATE: KUOW responds to "questions received."