The emergence of COVID-19 this year has presented us all with a host of unique and profound challenges. Its impact has even rippled out to the broadcast world, affecting production processes and the shows they create.
As you may already know, these concerns involving COVID-19 have led to the end, or imminent end, of programs like Live From Here, Only a Game, and our own Jazz Junction. They’ve also played a role in the reduction of On Point from two hours to one. Hopefully, this will be the extent of it.
Still, this has presented KIOS with an unprecedented situation; namely that we’ve had to work to either find or develop programming to fill an hour in our Monday through Friday line-up as well as six hours, or 25%, of our Saturday programming schedule.
To that end, beginning October 5th, KIOS will air an additional hour of Morning Edition Monday through Friday at 9 a.m., shifting the hour of On Point to 10 a.m. The Takeaway will air at its current time of 11 a.m.
Saturday, as noted above, will see significant change, particularly in the evening line-up. For now, when Only a Game departs at the end of September, we will extend BBC World Service to run until Weekend Edition at 7 a.m. This affords us the chance to add additional programming at 6 a.m. if and when we find the best fit for the morning.
Beginning September 5th, at 5 p.m., KIOS welcomes NPR’s It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, an hour-long conversation that helps listeners untangle the news of the week and unpacks what’s going on in today’s culture. Live Wire with Luke Burbank, presently airing at noon, will move to 6 p.m., serving as a live show lead-in to 12th Street Jump at 7 and clearing the way for A Way with Words to return to the Saturday schedule at 12 o’clock.
Without a doubt, the retirement of Jazz Junction host Rick Erben has left big shoes to fill, and it's practically impossible to replace a long-running show that's become something of an institution on the Omaha airwaves. However, the programs that will succeed Jazz Junction will keep faith with Rick's commitment to great music, personally curated to bring listeners only the best and most interesting songs and artists. Beginning Saturday, September 5th at 8 p.m., The Atomic Hour kicks off with sixty minutes of the best in spy jazz, lounge music, and everything else Mid Century. Our own Chris Cooke and Last Call move progressive jazz up to 9 p.m. through 11 p.m.
And lastly, stepping into the 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. timeslot after Last Call is another new KIOS production: The Omaha Sound. The two-hour program, hosted by Todd Hatton and Adam Ortega, showcases the latest in Americana, indie rock, alt country, deep-cut oldies, folk, and more, with a special emphasis on the Omaha and Nebraska artists on music’s cutting edge.
Despite the volume of necessary changes and additions, this is something of an opportunity for KIOS. The situation requires us to renew and reinvigorate our schedule, and it gives us the chance to take the next steps toward Omaha Public Radio’s future. A big part of this future is the expansion of our listenership, reaching out to younger and more diverse communities to bring in new listeners who, in time, will become the next generation of public radio listener-members. This in turn means that we must meet these prospective listeners where they live and listen without compromising the mission of KIOS and public media in the 21st century.
If that sounds like a tall order, well, it is. And it’s a challenge confronting public media all across America: staying vibrant and relevant, bringing in new listeners, all while remaining true to our core values and principles of informing, enriching, and entertaining.
We do hope that it’s understood that these changes are made with the intention of throwing our doors open even wider, to invite ever more and diverse people into our public radio community, and to offer quality programs that speak to potential listeners who may be only just beginning to build their connection to KIOS.
If you do have any thoughts or concerns you’d like to share, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com. We thank all of you for your patience, understanding, and your listening.