Programming Changes

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Budget cuts affect KUAC public radio and television programming

KUAC is addressing its sixth year of budget cuts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with reductions to programming and staff.

KUAC will sustain a 22.5% funding decrease for the new fiscal year which translates to $172,000 from its budget. KUAC investigated all the options and has made many budget adjustments and reductions in the past five years in an effort to mitigate the cuts. These reductions now represent a loss of 56% of university funding. “We can’t sustain our level of service after losing half a million dollars since 2012,” said Keith Martin, KUAC general manager. “KUAC has received strong support from our community, however, the cuts just continue to outpace the increases in fundraising.”

Effective Sept. 1, KUAC will terminate its Alaska Public Radio Network membership and no longer air APRN programming on KUAC FM.

In addition to cutting APRN programming, KUAC turned off its FM HD transmitter for utility savings July 1, and will:

  • reduce television acquisitions as shows go off air, including Doc Martin, Doctor Who, The Red Green Show, Midsomer Murders, Detectorists, British drama series and documentary specials,
  • defer equipment replacement and upgrades,
  • terminate NPR membership (does not affect programming),
  • reduce three positions to half time (leaving KUAC with a staff of 13 full-time and seven part-time employees), and
  • cancel memberships in professional organizations.

Additional reductions will take place during fiscal year 2018 as KUAC adjusts operations in an effort to remain a viable entity. “We hope to continue offering the quality educational programming we are known for, as best we can under these dire circumstances,” Martin said.


KUAC FM Removing HD Option
As of July 1, 2017, KUAC FM will turn off its high definition (HD) transmitter, resulting in the loss of KUAC HD1, HD 2 and 3 on-air. Those stations will still be available online at kuac.org on computers and mobile devices and on KUAC TV at 9.6, 9.7 and 9.8 (digital).

“This is a strategic budget-related decision and also due to lack of momentum for HD radio,” said Keith Martin, KUAC’s general manager. “The budget reductions we have sustained over the past four years have outpaced our fundraising efforts.”

Since 2009, KUAC has experienced a 42 percent decrease in full-time staff (from 26 to 15) and a 69 percent decrease in part-time (from 13 to 4), while continuing to increase and improve services to the community.

“Our staff make up the difference,” Martin said. “We have reached the point that no additional duties can be assigned to current staffing levels.”

More changes are under consideration. Stay tuned to KUAC for further details.


A Way With Words Coming to KUAC FM
A Way With Words
NPR is ceasing production and distribution of The Best of Car Talk across the nation this year, and the final broadcast of the show on KUAC will be June 24. KUAC is excited to bring to our airwaves A Way With Words, which begins airing Saturday, July 1 at 9 a.m.

This public radio, caller-based program presents fascinating tales about language examined through history, culture and family. Hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, A Way With Words features explorations such as why we call a frankfurter a hot dog, what “hell for leather” really means and how Latin words figure into our modern language. Each show includes a word puzzle and a slang quiz.

KUAC Assistant General Manager Gretchen Gordon said, “Nothing can ever replace the fun banter and ‘expert advice’ we’ve enjoyed from Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers, on Saturday mornings. We will truly miss listening to Car Talk every week.

“Now it’s time to shift gears and open the road for A Way With Words, a fun new program exploring our language and clichés and perhaps ending a heated debate or two about their origins. This family-friendly program meets our mission to educate every generation, as well as to entertain and inspire conversation.”

Tune in Saturday mornings at 9 for A Way With Words. Learn more about KUAC’s new program at waywordradio.org.


KUAC PBS Kids FAQs

Why is KUAC adding a 24/7 kids channel?
Beginning June 5, KUAC PBS Kids will offer an amazing lineup of children’s programming from old favorites such as Arthur to new programs like Splash and Bubbles all the time.  PBS, the nation’s most trusted provider of educational media for children offers quality educational programming free to public television stations nationwide. We wanted to make this option available to educators and families with children, especially ages 2 to 8.

What is the cost?
The service is available to KUAC TV as part of the dues and fees we already pay to PBS. There is no additional cost to KUAC as the infrastructure changes necessary had been committed well before the current legislative session.  KUAC will pass through the service, so there are no personnel costs associated with the new channel.

I don’t see these channels; what should I do?
KUAC has altered its TV channel lineup. Depending on your television, you may need to perform a channel scan in order to have your TV detect the new channels. This only affects the new channel ID and the streaming radio feeds. You might need to check with your cable provider.

The old channel lineup:

  • 9.1 PBS
  • 9.2 World
  • 9.3 Create
  • 9.4 UAFTV/FNX
  • 9.5 KUAC FM1
  • 9.6 KUAC FM2
  • 9.7 KUAC FM3

Effective May 23, new lineup: 

  • 9.1 PBS
  • 9.2 World
  • 9.3 Create
  • 9.4 UAFTV/FNX
  • 9.5 (KUAC PBS Kids 24/7 channel, blank for now; will air June 5)
  • 9.6 KUAC FM1 (same as 89.9 FM)
  • 9.7 KUAC FM2 (an eclectic mix of music, news and talk shows)
  • 9.8 KUAC FM3 (mostly classical music)

Previously, some TV sets were unable to receive audio on the streaming FM channels because they wouldn’t play audio without video. KUAC has now added video so all users should be able to receive both audio and video.

Why is KUAC constantly changing things?
When new opportunities arise, we thoughtfully examine the options and make decisions after consulting with our Community Advisory Council. Programming options ebb and flow with the times, changing as topics and interests do. Many of the national programming decisions about television are entirely out of our realm of control. We’re excited about this additional children’s programming and hope your children or grandchildren will be too!

I want to talk to someone about this.
KUAC’s general manager can be reached at 474-5089 and the assistant general manager at 474-1891.

For more details, click here.