KSL radio (AM-1160) is accenting its claim as "the news authority" by making a programming shift to an all news and information format, according to KSL program director Doug Wright.
In conjunction with this format alteration, Rod Arquette, a KUTV news reporter and former news director at Salt Lake's KWMS radio, will assume duties as the KSL radio news director Sept. 19.Arquette, who has spent the last seven years at Ch. 2, will replace Doug Miller, who has moved to KSL-TV as sports director. (Miller will still do his famed outdoor reports.)
Wright also confirmed that Morrie Carlson, who has been at KSL since 1979, is no longer with the station. Carlson's noon-3 p.m. air spot has been filled, since Thursday, by Tim Hughes (previously a newly hired weekend deejay at KSL).
Wright said he wouldn't exactly call the alteration a format change.
"I'd call it a format adjustment," he said. "It's doing what we do best and now we hope we've gotten better."
Wright stressed that KSL will still be providing a large amount of sports coverage and entertainment news. He also said the station will retain the call-in contests and other fun aspects of radio that it previously had.
He said KSL is simply elevating the amount of information the station provides and is using the slogan: "when you want to know first, tune to us."
(The station is also billing itself as "information radio" and is referring to its "information team.")
KSL has already phased out all music during its morning and afternoon drive times and Wright hinted that there is a possibly that music may someday disappear from the KSL format.
He said few people have noticed the station's changes yet, but those who have called in have had very favorable comments.
KSL's format shift seems to put it in the category of Salt Lake's two previous "all-news" stations - KDYL and KWMS (which couldn't make it financially for long with that format, the most expensive in radio). But Wright said that although KSL's new programming is definitely costly, the station shouldn't be put in the same category as those two local, former all-news stations because of its greater resources.
Wright said that KSL not only has the CBS Radio Network to rely on, but is also "cherry picking" the best programs that come over the NBC Radio Network as well. There's also KSL's strong commitment to Brigham Young University sports, as well as other Bonneville International sister radio stations (particularly KIRO in Seattle) to share features .
"There's also the possibility of adding a few more individuals in the news department," Wright said of future plans.
(Ironically, it was September of last year when KSL Radio reduced its news staff by six persons because of budget reductions.)
In the evening hours, KSL has expanded the duties of sports director Chris Tunis to include a talk show: "Sportscentral" (6:30-8 p.m.) and the station plays reruns of "Mystery Theatre" at about 8:06 p.m. (except on game nights).
Bob Lee is on the air from 9 p.m. until midnight and "Talk Net," an NBC Radio Network show, is broadcast from midnight until 5 a.m.
KSL is adding still another new program to its lineup Saturday (Sept. 10), "The End of the Road Review," a commentary, blues and light jazz show by Tom Budett. The show, taped on location in Alaska, will air each Saturday at 8 p.m. - except during sports events.