KRFC shuffles content, staff Daily local news broadcast on hiatus (help 'em out!)

BY PAT FERRIER • • September 2, 2010

KRFC, the grass-roots public radio station in Fort Collins, will temporarily drop its local daily news broadcast amid budget cuts that also eliminated the news and music director positions.

Station manager Chris Kennison also resigned; his last day was Tuesday, but he will stay on as a volunteer.

Kennison's position is being filled by interim manager Dennis Bigelow - the former music director whose job was cut - pending a search for a new manager.

The cuts leave the station with two full-time and one part-time employee and a host of volunteers.

Bigelow said Wednesday the station has been trying to get its budget under control as foundation and grant money becomes less available in tight economic times.

The station will meet its $208,000 budget this year and hopes to resume a locally produced news program at some point, Bigelow said.

"It's nice to have a local radio news source; people appreciate it," he said, "that's why we don't want to get rid of it completely. But it's hard to pull together a 30-minute program without someone here to make sure things come in."

News on the Range currently airs from 7:30-8 a.m. and 5-5:30 p.m.

Volunteer Deni LaRue, who also serves on the board and has a two-hour show on Saturday mornings, said no one wants to eliminate local news. "Losing Dave is huge, but financially it just had to happen," she said.

The gap could be filled by volunteers, who fill 98 percent of the roles at the station.

"The board is committed to a mix of music, news, public affairs, anything that really supports the localness whether it's news, music or information. That's what the heart and soul always has been and continues to be," she said.

The station is in the process of regrouping to try to make the programming better, more focused and more consistent, she said.

KRFC-FM, heard at 88.9, has gone through a handful of station managers since it went on the air in March 2003.

Kennison, a steel guitar player, resigned after 2½ years, to focus on teaching, Bigelow said.

"We've had managers leave for a variety of reasons, but it's been tough with the station still as young as we are," said Bigelow, who joined the station as a volunteer and has served as music director for the past four years.

He's watched managers develop their vision and mission over the years then leave. Bigelow said he hopes to "pull together all their visions and make them a reality."

The station, supported by its members and grants, continues to grow and now has 1,200 members, said development director Kristen Rasmussen.

"We would like so much more but we're still pretty young and still developing our methods," she said.

The station is also striving to adapt to the changing face of media, Bigelow said.

"Every media organization has had to reinvent themselves," he said. "We got started at an odd transition point when some people were turning away from traditional radio."