First it was broadcasting. Then Webcasting. Now KSL (AM-1160) is podcasting.

The Salt Lake-based radio station a few weeks ago began making much of its local programming available for download onto iPod and MP3 players, allowing listeners, for example, to pick the right time to hear Doug Wright.

News director Russ Hill said 83-year-old KSL often is viewed as a station for older listeners. "But I think it's interesting, and I'm proud of the fact that stations that gear their product at a 17-year-old or a 12-year-old or a 22-year-old aren't the first to go out and launch programming for iPod players and MP3 players," he said. "It's this 83-year-old beast, your grandfather's station, that is embracing the youth of today."

Users must set up their computers to get the free feed onto their players, then the process occurs automatically. Programs are available at www.ksl.com five minutes after they conclude. Instructions and program listings are available at the Web site.

Among the programs are a half-hour of "Grant and Amanda," three hours of "The Doug Wright Show," a half-hour of the noon news and also an afternoon newscast, plus occasional "Reporter's Notebooks" and other features. Restrictions prevent the station from currently podcasting Sean Hannity and other national programs, although streaming audio is available at the Web site.

Hill said podcasting ultimately could have the same effect on radio that TiVo had on TV-watching as listeners "time-shift" to their needs and desires.

"Why can't you listen to Doug Wright on a Saturday if you've got a little bit of down time — say, you're driving to St. George — and you want to listen to his program that you missed on Thursday?" Hill said.

Hill said KSL is the first radio station in the country to offer extended podcasts of its programming. Other stations have dabbled with 10-minute programs or other short offerings. "We're the only one offering a decent number of hours with our programming," he said.

The station is always looking to increase its audience size and wants to address a growing "disconnect" between younger generations not latching on to music radio or the spoken-word format, he said. Podcasting allows the station to address both.

"KSL is not typically a station that you're going to think that a 17-year-old or even a 25-year-old is listening to. . . . It's not a huge target audience, but at the same time we need to recruit them whenever we can," he said.

Early results indicate it may be a hit. A recent "Reporter's Notebook" podcast received more than 8,000 hits — more than twice as many as listened to the audio version online.

And Hill said KSL's podcasting venture is only taking its first steps. Several behind-the-scenes offerings are being considered, including an occasional news meeting to determine what stories make it on the air, and possibly some extra coverage of Brigham Young University sports.

KSL is owned and operated by Salt Lake-based Bonneville International Corp. Bonneville and the Deseret Morning News are owned by Deseret Management Corp., a holding company for businesses affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com