We Don't Want KUT to Lose Its Soul

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 8, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Kudos to all the staff at the Chronicle for the 2009 “Best of Austin” edition [Sept. 4]. As we all know, the best of Austin is pretty much the best in the world, so it's always worth the read. And I'm glad that KUT-FM got the nod as All-Time Winner in Media. Its past efforts are well-known, and you documented the past awards well. But the fact that it only received one award this year, and that one for news and talk, I believe points out the problems with the direction the station is currently heading in.
    Personally, I don't tune in to KUT for news or talk. Obviously there should be some in the schedule, and I do enjoy Fresh Air and This American Life. But KUT is where I've always gone to get Austin-oriented musical programming, not the news. And with the local deejays' time either being eliminated or cut back, and with management now pushing recommended tracks (i.e., a playlist), that type of programming is fast becoming a thing of the past. Your author stated that "there's a (quieter) contingent that's pleased at the opportunity for new voices at the station.” Actually, we would all be pleased for there to be new local voices at the station, just not at the expense of longtime favorites being given the bum's rush. The weeknight overnight slots were the best spots for new talent and voices to hone their craft and develop a following. Paul Ray and Larry Monroe would one day have retired on their own and these new voices could have been ready to step in. Instead we have the syndicated show UnderCurrents running in that slot and no way of developing the next generation of Austin-based talent. The fans of Paul and Larry are not opposed to change, we just don't want KUT to lose its soul in the process.
Thank you,
Jim Vest
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