I think some people might be missing the point here. Chat is not meant to replace the forums as a way to disseminate information, but a way to bring people together for other activities.
An IRC channel could be great for planning events or having a way to communicate in real time to a specific group of people on a specific subject that is time sensitive. It really could be very beneficial for certain aspects of what this site was set up for. IRC is not very user friendly (for someone new to it), but it could be a useful tool to facilitate certain things for those willing to put in the time to use it. Personally I don't see myself using IRC much, but I'm a pretty solitary guy beyond these forums. It sounds like a good tool for those who would use it though.
And if I could put in my own 2c here about change to the site, I for one feel like an outsider many times due to draconian tactics employed by some of the moderators in limiting any change or deviation to what they personally think the site should be. I've had threads moved and removed because one moderator or another didn't personally like the thread - even though it did not even come close to violating the TOS. No explanation, not PM, nothing. I bring this up, not to beat on the mods -who are doing their best I'm sure- but it can feel like getting hit by a sledge hammer around here if you're not in the inner circle. Again, just my opinion as a donating member, and I'm trying to keep it relevant to this thread about change and additions to the site.
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."