Wray Ready to Help Program KUT-FM

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 22, 2003

   In reference to the "Naked City" News item (Dec. 19) about the online petition asking KUT (90.5FM) to broadcast Democracy Now! (an award-winning nationally syndicated news program on the Pacifica network), I have this to say. We do understand, as KUT general manager Stewart Vanderwilt has stated, that KUT has "no plans to add any programs that would displace what we already have on the air." But the whole point of the online petition is to demonstrate that there is sufficient interest among KUT listeners for station management to change their plans. I think we've started to show that, and KUT ought to at least acknowledge it and not immediately dismiss the proposal. KUT's broadcast schedule can change. It's changed in the not too distant past. And there's nothing standing in the way for it to change in the future. We're asking for a change now.
   By suggesting that KUT introduce Democracy Now! – a one-hour-long weekday program produced for radio and television – we are not suggesting that it displace locally produced programs like John Aielli's Eklektikos. Rather, we think that KUT, and its listeners, can afford, for example, to drop one hour of NPR programming each day and put one hour of Democracy Now! in its place. KUT could reduce NPR's Morning Edition from four hours a day to three, or KUT could reduce NPR's All Things Considered from 2½ hours a day to 1½. By introducing Democracy Now! there will be a net gain. KUT listeners will gain due to a greater diversity in news programming. KUT itself will gain because of a very likely increase in membership contributions. For more information, and to sign the online petition, go to www.iconmedia.org/democracynow.
Stefan Wray
Austin for Democracy Now!
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