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KLCC Drops Popular Alternative Radio

KLCC public radio in Eugene is no longer running Alternative Radio, a weekly program that has run for 30 years. The hour-long program slot at 7 pm Tuesday has been filled by Reveal, investigative reports from the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio Exchange and partner public radio stations around the country. KLCC is now a partner station with opportunities to give Eugene-area stories national exposure. Reveal is free for KLCC, as was Alternative Radio.

“We are excited to be able to bring long-form, in-depth investigative journalism to our audience in a weekly program,” says Don Hein, KLCC’s program director, “and we are talking with KWVA about the possibility of their picking up the local broadcast of the show. It also airs on many of the low-power FM stations on the coast and around the region, and is available online.” Hein says Alternative Radio podcasts might continue through the KLCC app for smart phones, but he’s not sure. 

Not everyone is happy to see Alternative Radio depart from the largest public radio listening audience in the region. “Alternative Radio is the last radio progressive show airing there,” says David Zupan, a longtime advocate for public affairs broadcasting. “It’s a real loss to our communities that shouldn’t go down without a fight or at least folks knowing how very far KLCC has gone away from its mission to be a community radio station and why we need alternatives like KEPW and KOCF.”

Zupan notes that KLCC runs national programs, such as Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! and Radiolab, that are repeated each week. He wonders why one of those repeat program slots can’t be replaced with Alternative Radio.

Hein says Wait Wait is “one of public radio’s, and KLCC’s, most popular programs. Our audience benefits from having multiple opportunities to catch it each week.”

David Barsamian is founder and host of Alternative Radio and lectures in Eugene every year or two. He says in an email exchange with Zupan that the “duplication of three other programs and the dropping of AR is most disturbing. By the way, AR is free of charge to all stations so the move can’t be financial. Is Eugene going to lose the only progressive one-hour from the airwaves? Say it ain’t so.” 

Ralph Nader has called Alternative Radio “a ray of light in the media darkness.”