Larry Warren ready to hang up his headphones | ParkRecord.com

Larry Warren ready to hang up his headphones

KPCW general manager will retire in June

KPCW's Larry Warren has decided it's time the hang up the headphones.

Warren told The Park Record he will retire in mid-June after seven years as the station's general manager and more than 40 years in the broadcasting business.

"I have friends who ask me why I'm retiring and I say, 'I'm 67, so how long do I have to do this?'" Warren said during an interview at his office. "It seemed like a nice career."

That doesn't mean Warren will stop practicing journalism and writing.

"I plan to do my own projects on my own time and take more time to travel," he said.

Warren became KPCW's general manager in 2010, after spending 30 years at Salt Lake City television stations.

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He knew he had some work to do.

"We were still in the great recession, and KPCW had just moved into the new studios (attached at the China Bridge garage)," he said. "The studios were beautiful, but the station had taken major financial hits. Our advertisers were going out of business."

At that time, the station lacked any significant underwriting, which accounts for 50 percent of its budget.

"We were losing money and the figure was $16,000 a month," Warren said. "I looked at the reserves and realized we would be insolvent within 16 months."

Expenses rose as the operation became more complicated in the decades following its 1980 launch.

"The board had dwindled to a few dedicated members and we tried to hold it all together," Warren said. "We had been through three general managers in three years and there was a need for stability and someone who looked at the long-term survival of the station."

In a brainstorming retreat, Warren and his staff came up with the idea of themed talk shows that would run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. after three hours of local news.

"This Green Earth was already up and running, so we created Mountain Money, The Mountain Life, Cool Science Radio and the Morning Mix," he said. "Those five shows put us in the black, as did escaping from the recession, because we were able to find sponsors, and the station created more relevance to the community."

In addition to emerging out of debt, KPCW underwent other major changes during Warren's tenure that cemented the station's future.

One recent KPCW development is live broadcasting, including press conferences and community forums.

"I think a lot of people have learned the value of KPCW in their cars as they have been stuck in their cars in increasingly bad traffic," Warren said.

The biggest development was last year's frequency change from 91.9(FM) to 91.7 (FM).

"[That] allowed us to increase our signal six fold," Warren said. "The opportunity came to partner up with Broadway Media, and we agreed to abandon our frequency so they could beef up their signal."

In turn, Broadway Media paid for KPCW's expansion, new equipment and the construction of the new antenna.

"We also ended up owning one of their radio stations, KUMT, in Salt Lake that is up for sale," Warren said. "When we do sell that station, the proceeds will become our first and only endowment fund for the future."

Warren said KPCW's future is bright and wanted to thank the staff, board of directors and listeners.

"As the community continues to be more prosperous, we continue to be the dominant broadcaster of news and information in Summit and Wasatch counties," he said. "I think we're just scratching the surface of social media with digital downloading and podcasting. We have streamed on every continent, including
Antarctica."

The search for Warren's successor starts in earnest in a few days.