Jan. 4 2017 12:32 AM

‘Current State’ shift leaves room for more classical music and ‘All Things Considered’

Mark Bashore (right), host of WKAR radio’s “Current State,” interviews John Truscott (left) and Valerie Marvin. The radio program is transitioning from a daily live show to a pre-recorded weekend format.
Photo by Amanda Pinckney/WKAR

Regular WKAR radio listeners have probably noticed that its “Current State” program has disappeared from the airwaves in recent weeks. The show has been on hiatus since Dec. 12 as it prepares to move to a weekend timeslot. Radio station manager Peter Whorf explained that the move is not a cutback but a reallocation of resources.

“We’re a relatively small staff, and we want to keep doing local and regional news stories,” Whorf said. “We’ll have the same staff, and we’ll actually be doing more local news.”

“Current State,” the one-hour local news and culture show, formerly aired live at 9 a.m. and was replayed at 6 p.m. weekdays on the MSU public radio station. This weekend, it will switch to a pre-recorded format that will air on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. To replace the weekday “Current State” slots, WKAR (90.5 FM) is broadcasting an extra hour of classical music in the morning and another hour of “All Things Considered” in the afternoon.

The WKAR staff will also produce local news and culture segments that will be inserted into “Morning Edition,” which airs from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays, and “All Things Considered,” which now airs 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Both nationally syndicated programs allow space for locally produced content. Mark Bashore, host of “Current State,” will also serve as local host for “All Things Considered.”

Whorf doesn’t foresee any other significant programming changes in the near future. This shift, he explained, is to direct more local resources into the “drive time” hours when most listeners are traveling to and from work.

“There’s always more listeners in the morning and afternoon drives,” Whorf said. “If we’re going to put effort into producing high quality news, we want to place it where people are listening.”