Major revamp for KFAI

Big changes are coming to KFAI, the Minneapolis independent radio station.

It will revamp its programming at the end of the month, City Pages reports, and end one of the quirks that’s made it distinctive: the “different radio station every hour” format in the mornings using a rotating collection of hosts.

Instead, the station will adopt the programming strategy of traditional radio: consistency. It’s hired former Current and Go 96.3 host Barb Abney and Miss Brit, the host of its urban music and culture show as its morning team.

The changes are a continuation of a strategy to put programming decisions in a somewhat more traditional orbit while remaining faithful to a mission to serve an underserved and unserved community.

“Throughout the process I tried to keep an open mind,” [general manager Leah] Honsky says. “Some people wanted extreme things—to turn it into a total playground. Some didn’t want any change at all.”

The reboot may seem like a little of both. In contrast to the major morning overhaul, evening news and music is almost untouched. And KFAI’s traditionally strong p.m. drive of rockin’ R&B shows remains relatively stable, though the fiesta en el estudio vibe of LatinoAltROCK! moves from morning to the prized hora feliz, Friday at 4 p.m.

And it’s not just the music scheduling that’s changed. Somali educator and activist Abdirizak Bihi’s community discussion program, where guests from all backgrounds talk (in English) about anything from raising teenagers to preventing terror recruitment, moves to an expanded p.m. strip. In time, this evening public affairs block could grow into a genuine alternative to the human interest fluff and political soap opera of mainstream broadcast news.

  • Barton

    I am actually excited about this. I’ll find an interesting program/presenter on KFAI and then I can never figure out who it was to find them/tune in again. Admittedly, I’ve been rather lazy about really researching the who and where in the past.

    • Al

      Ha, same. Pure serendipity guides my KFAI listening.

  • Paulc

    Louisiana Rhythms gets dropped sadly… not sure which other shows got canceled…

    • Barton

      oh, that was one of the shows I really loved stumbling across.

  • Jim in RF

    I’m okay w/a little change here (and I’m the guy who’s still pissed about MPR dropping the top-of-hour BE-beep tones, which WPR still uses intermittingly). I’m not their core listener anymore as I’m only a commuter and the West Bank has completely turned over since my days there.

  • Gary F

    The afternoon drive time stays pretty much the same. That is good news.