A Missouri TV institution comes to an end


Tonight will bring the last broadcast of “Pepper & Friends,” a local variety show that has aired on KOMU-TV (NBC) Columbia-Jefferson City, MO for 27 years. The commercial station owned by the University of Missouri said the show had to go because it costs more than the advertising it generates.

When it announced the cancellation in August, the University said it cost $222K per year to produce the weekly Pepper & Friends, while it brought in only $148K in revenues. And it wasn’t just because of the recession. The show had been running in the red for a decade. The University also noted that 13 staffers had been laid off from the station because of declining ad revenues.

The financial reality didn’t quiet fans, who objected to the cancellation. Their protests had some effect. A scaled down version, still hosted by Paul Pepper, will begin airing in October on the University’s non-commercial KBIA-FM. The 10-minute show will air weekday mornings at 8:50 am, beginning October 5th.