Open Radio Plans to Cut Morning Show

In a move aimed to attract more advertising, Open Radio plans to gradually phase out its English-language morning news program, the station's general manager said Wednesday.

Starting Aug. 1, the two-hour morning program, which now runs from 7 A.M. to 9 A.M., will run only until 8 A.M. and will no longer include broadcasts from the BBC and Voice of America, said Nurlan Urazbayev, the general manager. In mid-September, the station plans to cancel the morning English-language program altogether and start a two-hour English-language show in the evening, he said.

"This is guided purely by commercial logic," Urazbayev said. "We are very glad to realize that we have a good audience among the foreign community but at the same time we have also realized we have been losing money by not broadcasting in Russian during the peak hours for the Russian audience."

He said the hours between 7:30 A.M. and 11 A.M. are the most expensive advertising slots.

The move comes only a few weeks after Radio Maximum canceled "Moscow in the Morning," the city's first English-language news program, citing low advertising revenues. Radio 7, which broadcasts simultaneously in Russian and English on different frequencies, has expanded its English-language broadcast into the evening.

Open Radio's planned evening show would run from 9 P.M. to 11 P.M. and would include feeds from the BBC and Voice of America but would focus on locally-produced news and features, Urazbayev said.

Open Radio, which can be heard on 102.5 FM and 918 AM, is an independent station owned by Radio Moscow, a Russian-American joint-venture called JV Dialogue and two private investors, whom Urazbayev declined to name.