Mission Control: Moth Lands, Programs Saved

Jun 29, 2016

Here at NPR Illinois, we've been concerned we might have to drop some programs due to the ongoing budget impasse.  

The good news is most program producers have negotiated temporary relief over the last two weeks so we can continue to air their shows.  Plus, we're able to add the most requested program from the recent audience survey (The Moth defeats budget Godzilla... that's another story).  Read on for more details and a staff note at the end.

The Illinois budget impasse continues to impact organizations and NPR Illinois is no exception.  Fortunately, we have solid listener support, reserves, and the strength of our licensee, the University of Illinois Springfield.  Our funding mix includes state appropriations from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the University of Illinois Springfield.  Our 2016 fiscal year closes this Thursday, June 30.  No Arts Council funding materialized this year.  After a stop gap measure, Illinois higher education received 30% of its usual funding.  As the impasse looks to drag into a second year, additional measures are prudent to keep NPR Illinois healthy.  Only a couple weeks ago we anticipated making significant program changes but program producers want to make sure you can continue to listen to the shows you love.  The budget situation is still fluid and things could become bleak but I want to share this good news about programs.

July 1 is the start of our new fiscal year and when most contracts have to be renewed.  We look closely at data from Nielsen Audio, our audience survey, and our conversations with you to see how shows are being received and make schedule adjustments.

The Affinity Net Index for programs, a response was either: I listen to frequently or greatly value (positive). I dislike or tune-out (negative). No answer (neutral). The net of positives and negatives create a net percentage of affinity.
Credit Randy Eccles / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After reviewing the data and negotiating with producers, the following evening and weekend changes will take effect July 4:

  • The Best of Car Talk is moving to Sundays 1-2 PM.
  • The Moth Radio Hour debuts Saturdays at noon-1 PM with a replay 8-9 PM.
  • A Prairie Home Companion continues on Saturdays 5-7 PM.
  • Marketplace will have an encore broadcast weeknights 10:30-11 PM.
  • The 21st will follow with an encore broadcast weeknights 11 PM - midnight.

Click here to view the updated schedule (print version).  We wanted to share these changes as soon as they were finalized.  Please leave any comments here or email your thoughts to me.

One final change.  The Lincoln Library Concert that has been hosted by Jim Huston since the beginning will be retiring with Jim after this weekend.  Jim asked to keep this very low-key as he's been planning his retirement over the past year.  Jim exemplifies class and not only showcased the classical music offerings of the library, but also suggested one of my daughter's favorite books, The Day the Crayons Quit.  We'll greatly miss Jim and hope you'll stream NPR Illinois Classic Sundays 6-7 AM if you're not listening to the broadcast of On Being on the main channel.