Neenah Ellis, general manager of public radio station 91.3 WYSO in Yellow Springs, has announced several changes to its programming line-up designed to refresh, update and energize the station’s sound. “Programming a public radio station is a balancing act taking into account financial sustainability while maintaining our distinctive voice,” said Ellis. “We want to keep a good balance between local and national sources, between news and entertainment. We want to satisfy our long-time listeners and attract and new audience members.”
As part of the news-related programming and scheduling changes, WYSO will add a two-hour call-in show called On Point, produced by public radio member station WBUR in Boston. On Point will air weekdays at 10:00 am beginning Monday, September 29, 2014. The addition of On Point, hosted by long-time journalist Tom Ashbrook, will fulfill a strong demand from listeners for news-related talk programming in that time slot, according to Ellis. “Listeners have been telling me for years about their desire for this kind of programming during the day. The results of the listener survey we conducted this summer confirm this. This was the single most requested programming change we heard from our listeners,” Ellis said. Nearly nine hundred people took the on-line listener survey, says Ellis.
Excursions, hosted by long-time WYSO Music Director Niki Dakota, will begin at noon and run until 3:00 pm. Changes will also occur on Saturday afternoon from 1- 5 pm beginning on October 4, where a succession of new programs will be introduced. On Saturday afternoons at 1:00pm WYSO will carry Studio360 from WNYC in New York, a cultural magazine program hosted by Kurt Andersen, followed by the storytelling program The Moth Radio Hour, The Ted Radio Hour from NPR, based on “Ted Talks,” and On The Media hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, which WYSO has previously aired in another timeslot.
“We know that our listeners are highly engaged and studies demonstrate that, across the board, the most popular programs on public radio are those that engage listeners through content that is both informational and entertaining on topics that are meaningful and relevant; all new programs do just that,” said Ellis.
Moving off the schedule will be Detours, a folk music program hosted by local musician Norm Whitman, who is retiring after more than thirty years as a WYSO music volunteer. Dear, Green Place hosted by Cindy Funk will move to 6pm on Saturday evening. “We can’t thank Norm Whitman enough for his years of loyal dedication to folk music and we know his listeners will
miss him dearly,” Ellis said. “He has created a program from week to week with his whole heart and soul. Luckily, he has agreed to appear from time to time on Excursions to lend his expertise and great sense of humor to our airwaves.”
“The programs we’re adding are excellent – chosen with Miami Valley listeners in mind – to keep WYSO relevant, fresh and strong,” Ellis said. “While we know some people will be disappointed that their favorite programs are going away, we encourage them to experience the strong new line-up new that offers the kind of content that attracts listeners to public radio in the first place.”
Multiple factors were taken into consideration in WYSO’s programming decision:
Ongoing listener feedback to the staff & volunteers during face-to-face conversations at events, via email, phone calls & regular mail
Data-gathering tools which measure listening habits like Arbitron and WYSO’s own listener survey
Listening trends in public radio across the country
Listener feedback during fund drives
A full description of all the program changes at WYSO can be found at their website, WYSO.org. The new schedule will go into effect on Monday September 29.