Classical KDFC has been making several programming changes since being purchased by USC Radio two years ago and switching from a commercial to public radio station. In addition to becoming commercial-free, it has expanded the variety of its playlist, added full-length symphonies and concertos, increased the amount of music commentary by announcers and dramatically increased its local arts coverage.
So what do listeners think about the changes?
They like them. They really, really like them, a recent listener survey showed. More than 2,000 listeners took the time to give their opinions, and the station’s new features were overwhelmingly seen as improvements.
Adding longer pieces has been especially appreciated. Seventy-five percent of those responding said this change has “much improved” the station.
Expanding the variety of the playlist was given high marks by more than half of the respondents. An additional 24 percent said the more varied playlist was “moving in the right direction but still needs work.”
Classical KDFC’s effort to educate and inform listeners through more music commentary by announcers found 66 percent of respondents saying its new approach was “just right.” Only 5 percent of respondents thought there was too much talk.
Now that the station is listener-supported, it has significantly ramped up coverage of local arts with its blog, events calendar and a feature, “The State of the Arts With Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr,” that runs three times a day. Sixty-three percent of respondents described the new coverage as “spot on,” “just right” or “good, but you should be doing more.” Another 25 percent answered that “it’s not exactly my cup of tea, but I’m glad you’re doing it.” Twelve percent said “just the music, please.”
Announcer Ray White, in releasing the results in the station’s eNotes bulletin, wrote: “We seem to be on the right track. However, we also welcome and have taken to heart your thoughtful suggestions on how we could improve.”
KDFC President Bill Lueth said, “This station is now in the caring hands of the people who love it, Bay Area classical fans. We love getting their feedback.”
Buoyed by the positive reactions to its programming tweaks, KDFC embarked on its fiscal year-end membership drive on June 6.
Classical KDFC is the only classical music service in the Bay Area, broadcasting on 90.3 FM in San Francisco/Berkeley/Oakland/Los Gatos/Saratoga, 89.9 FM in Napa/Sonoma, 92.5 FM in Ukiah/Lakeport and on 104.9 FM in the South Bay and Peninsula. KDFC also has close partnerships with arts organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera.