KBYU-TV will no longer be a PBS station in 2018 – and KBYU-FM will ditch the classical music format

BYU Broadcasting relinquishes its affiliation with PBS television and relinquishes its classical music format on radio.

On June 30, KBYU-Channel 11 will cease its affiliation with PBS and become an over-the-air outlet for the Utah cable/satellite channel BYUtv. On the radio side, KBYU-FM will become an over-the-air outlet for BYUradio, currently available on Sirius XM and online, eliminating its classical music programming. It is part of a “strategic plan”.

“If we were going clean today and building a new broadcast organization, you probably wouldn’t be watching any of these formats,” said Michael Dunn, general manager of BYU Broadcasting. “It’s difficult because it involves some very popular broadcast properties.”

But focusing on BYUtv and BYUradio “just becomes a no-brainer in terms of what we need to do.”

All PBS programs that air on KBYU Channel 11 can also be found on KUED Channel 7. The transition for classical music listeners will be more difficult; There are no other classical music stations on regular AM or FM radio in Utah. (KUER has a classical music feed, KUER3, available on HD radio or streamed online.)

Dunn, who was KUED’s general manager from 2010 to 2013, recalled the “firestorm” that erupted when KUER dropped its music formats on its main FM station.

“This will cause some consternation. And I’m sensitive to that,” he said. “But in this digital age, there are so many classical music resources out there that it just doesn’t make sense” to maintain the status quo at KBYU-FM.

Dunn promised advertising and publicity that will direct TV viewers to PBS programs on KUED and radio listeners to other ways to find classical music.

“It’s not the Baltimore Colts leaving town in the middle of the night,” he said.

Dunn also said some radio shows could migrate from KBYU-FM to a BYUradio lineup that includes talks (about travel, parenting, literature, faith, etc.) and sports (both live events and studio shows). And “a more concentrated program on classical music” could be added.

KBYU channel 11 does not have this problem. On Monday, for example, two-thirds of the television program – 18 shows – is also available on KUED.

That doesn’t make sense,” Dunn said. “It’s just not possible these days. So why not double down on what really is the future for us, which is BYUtv?”

James Morgese, General Manager of KUED, noted, “KBYU has been a long-standing partner in delivering public television services in Utah. We wish them all the best for their next chapter.”

“While we will miss the good relationship we had with them, Utah residents can still find all of their favorite programs from PBS, including the children’s programs they trust, on both KUED and our 24/7 PBS.” Kids channel.”

Only one show will switch from KBYU to BYUtv – the student-produced local news show. And that continues to air only on Channel 11 in Utah.

There’s a bonus for BYU fans who subscribe to DirecTV or Dish – they can watch cougar sports in HD. (BYUtv isn’t in HD on these two satellite systems, but KBYU is.)

BYU also shut down BYUtv International, which achieved “limited distribution” over broadcast, cable and satellite in the United States and Latin America.

“We don’t have enough resources to really make a difference in Latin America,” Dunn said. “So I’m hoping we pull back a bit there.”

The plan is to develop “and then grow back” “quality” programs for Spanish speakers in the United States.

All changes are carried out without layoffs.

“I will tell the staff on Monday. … No jobs will be lost in this transition,” Dunn said, although some employees will be reassigned.

He emphasized that the changes are not cost-cutting measures. In fact, BYU Broadcasting will lose millions of dollars in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting if it leaves PBS.

Funding “wasn’t even part of the consideration,” Dunn said. “It’s really an effort to do what’s best for our future.”

That future will continue to include co-productions with KUED “up to PBS or even the BBC,” Dunn said. “We expect to be a serious player in providing amazing, family-focused content that we believe will garner some attention. We are attracting co-production opportunities with some big companies who also see our vision and commitment and want to be on board with us.” KBYU-TV will no longer be a PBS station in 2018 – and KBYU-FM will ditch the classical music format

Joel McCord

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