WMNF Biennial Program Review

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WMNF is in its biennial program review cycle, where we hear feedback from programmers and volunteers, and the public on our proposed changes.

Some of the proposed changes are the following:

M-F 6 p.m. – Midnight: These time blocks will be deep dives in a genre. For instance, Monday Night Blues, Tuesday Night Tie Dye (Classic Rock), Wednesday Latin Night, Thursday Indie/Alternative, Friday R&B. The rationale is to make it easier for our listeners to find genre-specific music and be able to keep it there for six hours. It will also be easier for WMNF to market a block of shows in a one-time slot. So, instead of promoting three Latin shows on three different days and time slots, we now promote one concise block.

Day parts would be 6 -9 a.m. Music, 9 a.m. – Noon News Public Affairs (NPA), Noon-3 p.m. Music, 3-6 p.m. Music.

The proposed change here would tighten NPA to three hours instead of four. We want to stay true to our roots of local, live, and quality by having excellent public affairs volunteers host live programs. We would rather not add nationally syndicated programs because they are readily available on so many other platforms. The plan is to develop additional local talent so we can expand our NPA block in the future. We will use HD3 as a platform to develop these shows and volunteers. This would include podcasts as well. It is about local and serving our mission.

The current one-hour strip of distinct music blocks at 1 p.m. could move to either an evening deep dive block or another time slot.

Much has been rumored about the music mix. A criticism the station has received in the past is that the diversity in music is only in specific timeslots. While we have certainly been diverse, we are not as inclusive as we should be in all our music programming. To address this, we have proposed for our 6 a.m.-6 p.m. programming to be more inclusive and represent all genres of music in order to align with our mission. We do an okay job of this now, but it’s been inconsistent across programs. To be clear, the DJs still pick out the music as they have in the past. They decide the songs and the flow of music. Yes, there will be roots and Americana, along with other genres. However, we are putting in parameters to ensure they are keeping to the mission and playing multiple genres, artists of color, and genders. We have had several programmers already make this adjustment to the mix, and the feedback has been positive.

We are also working on balancing how many new songs and songs from various decades to play. This is tricky, and the fact is all of this will be tweaked as we hear feedback from our programmers and our listeners. All our programmers are having one on one meetings with Sean Kinane (News and Public Affairs Director) and Sam Hval (Program Director) to discuss their shows. We have room for everyone who is currently on-air if they want. The challenge comes down to timeslots and which channel. We need to build our HD channels, which in essence, are our streaming channels. We want the community to have multiple options for a commercial-free experience. So, we want some of our current programs to be on these channels to plant the seeds for growth.

As I mentioned earlier, Sean and Sam are meeting on-air programmers to discuss their shows and discuss other items such as the schedule, outreach, and music mix. We compared our tentative schedule at a recent all-station meeting to the game Tetris. After they meet and hear from all the programmers and volunteers, we know that there will be adjustments and tweaks. This has always been the process. The station puts out a tentative schedule for review; then, it releases a final schedule.

The WMNF board is not involved with any programming decisions. But they are well aware of our thought process as I give them monthly updates, as I do with all sub-committees. There are also volunteers and programmers who are members of the board, and also on the program review committee.

We feel optimistic about our strategy of being more local, supporting local organizations, and fulfilling our mission. But we are prepared to make adjustments before the locked-in schedule as we hear from people.

Please email [email protected] with your comments on the proposed changes.

Programmers can apply for shows until June 3 by clicking on this link: Apply

WMNF staff will work out the new schedule and notify programmers of their decisions by June 14th.

New schedule is announced June 18th.

New schedule begins June 21st.

Below are links to the PowerPoints from the previous three all-station meetings.

Regards,

Rick

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