Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor
The U, the student-run radio station of the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has made a change in their formatting. Talk radio programming will no longer be on the air during a large portion of the day, with some exceptions.
The change in The U’s programming involves restricting talk programming from being on the air from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., ensuring music programming is what is playing during this time block.
The U’s station manager, Zack Stahr, junior, marketing believes this change will make The U fall more in line with other professional radio stations. Stahr referenced local St. Louis stations such as KSHE 95 and 106.5 The Arch as examples of radio stations that are primarily music radio stations, but also have talk radio programming in the morning.
“During the time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. you will hear music. You won’t hear a wall of talk shows. We are trying to make it conducive to the student body here. Before 10 a.m., talk shows are open to just talk the entire time. It is the same with after 5 p.m., where they are allowed to talk the entire time. They do not have to play a single song if they do not want to,” Stahr said.
According to Stahr, the major reason behind the decision to change The U’s format is to offer talk and music programming at the times of the day when the audience is most likely to tune in and become engaged.
“We have had issue is the past where it is not conducive to the target audience at that time. We are trying to help out both shows. By moving the shows to different times, we are helping both us with our image and trying to secure a larger listener base,” Stahr said.
In addition to attracting more listeners, Stahr claims this change also helps their target audiences hear what they want during their time on campus as well as their time off campus.
“When people are tuning in during the day, it is not primarily for a talk show. Our main audience during the day is people passing by. The audience at night is people tuning in from remote locations,” Stahr said.
Various talk shows had to change time slots as a result of the format change. “The Jimmy Smith Show” now takes place on Thursdays at 7 p.m., “Crossing the Divide” takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. and “Tech Talk” takes places on Thursdays at 9 a.m. “The Need to Know Show” currently takes place on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., which is when music programming is supposed to start, but will be switching time slots to fit the new format in the spring. The exception was given to the show because of the show’s host, Kevin Jordan, having a job commitment outside of the station.
“I’m here to learn, but I still have to work. When you start changing my times, it makes it harder for me to do things,” Jordan said.
Because of time limits on when talk shows can be on the air at The U, Jordan believes this may prevent students wishing to air a talk show from being able to become involved in The U due to scheduling issues to accommodate the times talk shows are allowed to air.
“My initial fear was that when you have a station for students, which is usually utilizing students to do the different shows, I think that the format change kind of stifles someone’s ability to put out what they want to put out,” Jordan said. “It discourages people and it eliminates opportunity.”
Despite the issues Jordan has with some of The U’s new changes, he is optimistic about future discussions that will be held to ensure the station’s format is both functional and fair.
“I’m hoping once we all get together and talk about this again, it just works itself out,” Jordan said.
Stahr went on to say the format change could be changed once more if students are not happy with the most recent rescheduling.
“I’m excited to keep expanding and making us a better and better station. We’re always listening to what the listeners want,” Stahr said. “Right now, this looks like the best decision for us moving forward. If enough people want the talk shows during the day, we can make changes.”