Old KUT Gives Way to New KUT So This Member Stops Listening

RECEIVED Tue., June 19, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Kevin Brass' column [“Media Watch,” News, June 15] regarding the excessive and tiresome fundraising by KUT was missing one apparent, and in my mind the main, reason for the decreasing number of donors. Natural attrition, the economy, competition among nonprofits, and listeners moving out of the area were the excuses given by staff for fewer donors.
    I'm still alive and well and living in Austin, Texas, thank you very much. However I let my longtime KUT membership expire years ago because of my frustration with the homogenization of my favorite radio station.
    Upon their arrival, General Manager J. Stewart Vanderwilt and Program Director Hawk Mendenhall seemed intent on making the most unique NPR affiliate in the country sound more like the rest. More network features were added at the expense of local music programs.
    John Aielli's Eklektikos was reduced from its 8:15am-2pm time period to the current 9:03am-noon slot. Meanwhile, the entertaining and creative Aielli has been shackled by hourly and repetitive newscasts, a playlist requiring certain music plays per hour, numerous in-house advertising announcements, and a daily syndicated program by the overrated Garrison Keillor. (Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion runs twice each weekend on KUT. Ho hum.) I literally hurt trying to listen now while remembering the past.
    Paul Ray and Larry Monroe have been bandied about as well in a similar manner.
    Whereas my previous, extensive radio listening comprised 80% KUT, 10% KMFA, and 10% KGSR, my current pattern is more in the line of 45% KMFA, 45% KGSR, and 10% KUT (I will extend kudos for Larry Monroe's Folkways being added on Saturday afternoons).
    The old Austin gives way to the new Austin, yet I still live here.
    The old KUT gives way to the new KUT, and this listener and supporter has left the building.
Ken Bruce
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