Vocalo switching format, still targeting young users

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After nearly four years of “trying to make user-generated content a viable concept” on Vocalo.org’s FM radio station website (Current, Jan. 11, 2010), it is adopting a more traditional radio programming approach for young listeners, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Vocalo.org managing director Silvia Rivera told the paper her staff spent a lot of time trying to turn user contributions into broadcast-worthy content. The music emphasis will include jazz, funk, soul, reggae and hip-hop. Jesse De La Pena is the new music curator, with roots in break-dancing and graffiti movements on the city’s southwest side in the mid-1980s.

But a traditional radio approach is exactly what Torey Malatia, Vocalo creator and Chicago Public Media/WBEZ c.e.o., wanted to avoid. In a March 2007 piece in Current, he wrote in part: “This new station will be built on community radio sensibilities but without the characteristic schedule of special-interest shows. In fact, it will have no shows at all. It will air a continuous, seamless talk-based stream completely devoted to Northwest Indiana and Chicago metropolitan area culture, issues and selected music. It is not a news station. There are no newscasts.After hearing what many potential listeners say, we decided to not to merely adapt our usual notions of public broadcasting or to dress the service in its brands — including ‘Chicago Public Radio.'”

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