KOMU's Pepper and Friends entertained and informed viewers by featuring fellow mid-Missourians and their interesting hobbies.
Citing budget concerns, KOMU decided in May to cancel the 27-year-old program. In July, it was announced Pepper and Friends would be known as Radio Friends with Paul Pepper and air on KBIA in a ten-minute format, as opposed to the hour allotted on KOMU. The radio version will air daily at 8:50 a.m. starting Oct. 5, and the television version is slated to end September 18.
Many viewers have responded. Most recently, residents went to Jesse Hall on the MU campus, trying to convince university leaders to keep the television show.
The Missourian has received many letters from readers lamenting the end of the television program, and protests have been held calling for the show to be retained in its present form. KOMU leaders have indicated that their hands are tied.
As the shift to KBIA indicates, having a variety of different media with a university relationship is one advantage Columbia has over other markets.
Certainly a ten-minute radio show isn't the same as an hour-long television program, but perhaps other media could be used as well. KOMU and KBIA aren't the only forums for showcasing the talents and stories of community members, the part many followers say they'll miss most about the show. All news outlets seek to spotlight special things in their community.
What can other local news outlets do to better showcase mid-Missourians' special stories as Pepper and Friends did?