Many of the emails I’ve received about this subject reveal listeners’ confusion and misinformation, and I can tell that many people’s passions are very strong and may overwhelm their reason. For example: people complain about: losing a South Sound resource (KPLU has been based in Seattle for years); losing jazz and blues (KUOW plans to run 24/7 jazz and blues on 88.5); losing local news coverage (KPLU and KUOW have collaborated on the Northwest News Network for years, so much of the local information has been common for a long time); losing Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, etc. (all of those are NPR programs that we buy and broadcast on both KUOW and KPLU–paying double for the privilege. Those will continue on KUOW); being unable to hear KUOW where they live (KUOW will now have 15 transmitters instead of 4 to reach more people more clearly).
As to the real issues at stake, this recent article in the Washington Post sums it up: Radio is declining across the board–public and commercial. It’s being displaced by satellite radio, online streaming, smart phone apps, etc. If we want to sustain traditional public radio for as long as possible, we need to manage what we have better. Spending twice as much as necessary for the same stuff is never a good idea (except, perhaps, for the organization selling the stuff). When the entire medium is at risk, such unnecessary spending is even less supportable.