The KSL "Nightside Project" (AM-1160/FM-102.7) lost its No. 1 personality last week as the station instituted financial cutbacks on the program, an ambitious and bold gamble that had gained national attention.

Michael Castner was dropped from the show a week ago.

"Michael Castner will be leaving the 'Nightside' staff to pursue other opportunities," Kevin LaRue, KSL program director said.

However, the approximate one-year-old show will continue, just on a more limited basis — with reduced programming and on-air staff.

"'Nightside' had been underwritten for the past two years by KSL's corporate parent, Bonneville International, and had proven to be a programmatic success, earning local and national attention for its innovative style and content aimed at a younger listening audience," LaRue stated.

"But, despite 'Nightside's' on-air popularity, it did not sustain itself financially, resulting in a business decision to reduce 'Nightside's' operating costs. 'Nightside' will continue with its commitment to the community, covering local politics and developing news stories for KSL morning drive newscasts."

The "Nightside Project" airs weekdays 7 p.m. to midnight.

Castner has his own Web site (www.michaelcastner.com), where he stated he had left the show, but was proud of what he and his staff had done with it. He also stressed the show had moved KSL from No. 12 in the evening in the Salt Lake radio market to the No. 1 spot.

"I could not be prouder of the team I worked with and the show that I helped create," he said on his Web site.

The downgrading of "Nightside" also proves you can have No. 1 ratings and still not attract enough advertising to make it work. The show is also airing on Bonneville stations in Washington, D.C., and in Phoenix.

RADIO RATINGS — The latest age 12-plus Arbitron estimates were released Oct. 22. A summary is:

1. KSL (8.5 percent audience share); 2. KSFI (6.2); 3. KNRS (4.9); 4. KZHT (4.6); 5. KUBL (4.5); 6. (tie) KUUU and KXRK (4.3); 8. KJMY (3.9); 9. KRSP (3.6); 10. KOSY (3.3); 11. (tie) KBER, KHTB/KRAR and KODJ (2.8); 14. (tie) KDUT and KENZ (2.6); 16. KKAT (2.2); 17. KUDD/KUDE (2.0); 18. (tie) KBEE and KJQN (1.8); 20. KBZN (1.6); 21. KEGA (1.5); 22. (tie) KBMG and KXRV (1.3); 24. KLO (1.2); 25. (tie) KFNZ and KYMV (1.0); 27. (tie) KALL and KZNS/KOVO (0.8).

Note that Arbitron is apparently excluding non-subscriber stations from this general list of late. Hence the absence of KSOP and others. Non-commercial stations are also not listed.

RADIO HAPPENINGSKSFI ("FM-100") is now airing holiday music. It joins KOSY (FM-106.5) and KOAY (FM-97.5) in that endeavor. KSFI will also air its traditional 100 hours of music just before Christmas. And, the FM-100 Mini Concert Series kicks off Nov. 21 with Jim Brickman performing at the South Towne Center mall. KSFI has also released "An FM100 Christmas Volume Seven" and all sales from it benefit the Road Home shelter. Go to www.fm100.com for details.

KSOP (FM-104.3) has a "Cowboy Cash Track," worth $1,000 every time it plays weekdays in November. Listen at 7:30 a.m. with "Bill, Dick, and Lee." KSOP is also giving away a trip to the National Finals Rodeo, with a drawing set for Nov. 26.

—"The Local Matters" TV show, Sunday, 11 a.m., on KJZZ, will focus on university students who for a service project have worked on the "Bend in the River" project for the Jordan River. The show is hosted by Danny Kramer, KDYL radio host.


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