Thursday, August 21, 2008



Greetings to all of you visiting Colorado for the Democrat's national "love fest". While you are here (hopefully with time to drive around the state a bit), you may want to check out the radio offerings from several community radio stations (the links to Colorado's community radio stations are available on the right side of our home page). The news departments at many of these stations often operate on shoestring budgets, where volunteer energy is essential. During Convention Week, many of Colorado's community stations who are members of Rocky Mountain Community Radio (RMCR); are pulling together resources to provide reports from the convention and related events. Participating stations include KRCC, Colorado Springs; KUNC, Greeley; KGNU, Boulder; KRFC, Fort Collins, KSUT, Ignacio (on the Southern Ute Indian reservation); KDNK, Carbondale, KAJX, Aspen, and KSJD, Cortez. Whether or not this will be "award-winning" coverage, just know that pooling the efforts of dozens of people on the ground should provide fresh perspectives and genuine commentary that larger media players are likely to miss.

KUNC, Greeley, 91.5 FM, and KRNC, Steamboat Springs, 88.5 FM; online at . KUNC will have three reporters at the Convention, including State Capitol reporter Bente Birkland, providing feature reporting during Morning Edition and All Things Considered (KUNC-producedreports running up to 5 minutes typically air during Morning Edition and All Things Considered at 35 minutes past the hour; longer reports are aired during All Things Considered during the second half-hour). For a complete listing of where you can hear KUNC across eastern Colorado and inthe Colorado mountains, go to: .

KRCC, Colorado Springs, 91.5 FM and online at . KRCC reports will include those from Capitol Reporter Bente Birkeland, and KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin, who is producing feature material about Latino groups attending the Convention; a topic with state-wide and national significance. Other topics will include "Delegate Service Day", and the Nader/Rage Against the Machine "Open the Debates Rally." Reports will air at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with longer feature material slated for 8:50 a.m., 5:50 p.m. and 6:50 p.m. Breaking stories during the day will be heard immediately following hourly NPR news updates a four minutes past the hour. KRCC will archive everything online at, including all reports from RMCR member stations, even if KRCC doesn't play all of those reports on-air. For a complete list of KRCC coverage areas, go to: .

KGNU. Boulder/Denver, 88.5 FM and 1390 AM, or online at . Aside from the usual thought-provoking programs such as "Democracy Now", heard weekday mornings from 7:30 until 8:30, see how Boulder and Denver's Community radio voice is covering the convention in a unique way, by running a blog on the convention (as previously reported at ) . Other public affairs programs through the week are bound to address what is happening at the Pepsi Center, Invesco Field at Mile High, and on the streets of Denver.

KDNK, Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley (Aspen to Glenwood Springs) 88.3 FM or online at . During Morning Edition, Monday Through Friday at 7:30 a.m. KDNK will air a 10 minute summary of convention-related activities, with some of the coverage pulled from the other community stations mentioned. During their 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. time slot, they are tentatively planning public affairs programming as follows:
MONDAY: Following the money trail, or lack thereof.
TUESDAY: Comparing the health plans of McCain and Obama.
WEDNESDAY: Looking at the 08 campaign's energy and environmental policies, and the effects on western Colorado; particularly natural gas and oil shale development nearby.
THURSDAY: how protesters interacted with police and vice versa.
FRIDAY: alternative journalism perspectives, with youth from the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as foreign journalists' perspectives.

KRFC, Fort Collins, 88.9 FM and online at KRFC will have a half-dozen people on hand at the convention that will be feeding news and feature segments that will be aired throughout the broadcast day.

KAJX, ASPEN, 91.1 AND 91.5 FM, or online at . KAJX will have two reporters at the convention. They will file reports and live comment for the KAJX morning news. Packaged stories will focus exclusively on "local" angles, such as local teens attending the event, participation by and impressions of local delegates to the convention, etc. Those stories will be included during KAJX newscasts at 6:04, 7:04, and 8:04 a.m. For a map of their complete coverage area, go to:

With the variety of programming, and dedication of dozens of volunteer reporters and programmers contributing at each station listed, you are bound to find something to your liking.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Max's Excellent Adventure: Denver Public Radio

The Lesson Provided by the Colorado Public Radio Board

Colorado Public Radio is announcing new Board Members this week (see previous story), giving us time to stop and examine this beast. It is quite instructive. This exercise has academic overtones . . . but, is this: Geography 101? Statistics 101? Demographics 101? Non-profit Board of Directors 101?

When you weigh the distribution of representation on the CPR Board across areas served, a disproportionate amount of support for CPR comes from "the 303" area code, and a disproportionate amount of CPR's financial support is distributed in much the same way. Old habits die hard.

But there is a bigger story here. How many CPR Board Members come from Western Colorado? From places not fitting CPR's target financial demographic (yes, contrary to lip service they do have one). Do we have anyone serving Colorado Public Radio Board from: Silverton, Meeker, Craig, Cedaredge, or Parachute?

In 1991, after nearly a decade of maneuverings, and manipulations of technical facilities and people, CPR was started in that shotgun wedding between KCFR and KPRN (the orchestration of that would have made Montovani proud) -- much detail was placed on including CPR Board Members from Grand Junction (and then Montrose). Doctors, lawyers, and dentists were among their ranks.

Now that the KPRN take-over fall-out has evaporated (because the Grand Valley now has KAFM for a solid community voice), have the number of Western Slope CPR Board members kept pace? And if the numbers are still respectable, where are the sheepherders, the orchardists, the small town artisans, the wildcat oil and gas rig workers or the coal miners?

When you read the names of CPR Board members, know this: no matter if it is an Anglo, Hispanic, or African-American name, their economic level litmus test for this board has been passed. They are on the economically-successful side of life. They are REQUIRED to shell out thousands of dollars to sit on such a board (to subsidize CPR's operations) . . . and hopefully, to speak for more than the demographic sector from which they were chosen.

Is there a correlation between the make-up of CPR's Board, and on-air programming content? CPR management profusely rejects that idea, and perhaps they are correct, only because the over-all "culture" of CPR is already set in stone and those serving on the Board have been hand picked to fit that model. We saw what happened when former Board member Frances Koncilja tried to shake things up a bit.

CPR's twisted concepts for true public service have also been applied by dozens of other "big" public radio outlets across the land. It is a twisted departure from a time when The Public Broadcasting Act (1967) was created and funded by Congress. In its own way, this tainted culture mirrors what has happened to the nation; a nation which has seen a continued rise in the power and influence of our upper class, at the expense of people below them. In a sense, the people involved with Max's Excellent Adventure are right in step with history that History Professor Newt Gingrich would approve. End of lesson.

As Frank Zappa used to say in his dry, sarcastic tone, "Never mind, shut up, rise and salute the flag."

-First Responder

Friday, August 1, 2008

Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors

The Rocky Mountain News reports today that Colorado Public Radio has new members and it has reshuffled its officers and directors for its Board.

"Colorado Public Radio named
Katherine Archuleta, Laura Perry Barton, Robert Contiguglia, Mary Lou Makepeace, Arnold Salazar and Forrest Cason to its board of directors. Virginia Berkeley was named board chair, Dean Salter was named secretary, and Warren Olsen was named treasurer."

It seems that Colorado Public Radio's own website isn't even (as of 12:00 p.m. on 08/01/2008) up to date yet. How long does it take to run the press release down from the propaganda minister's office to the web guru? I guess longer than it does to email and fax the presser to the fish wrap?

Also, it looks as though CPR has finally taken Francis Koncilja's (former CPR Board Member) advice about adding more diversity to the Board. With names like Archuleta and Salazar on the board, how long before CPR hires some people of color for the news and music departments? White People Love Public Radio!

This just in . . . Someone is updating the CPR website at 12:15 p.m., however, it doesn't look finished. Virgina Berkeley is still listed as both Chair and Treasurer (among many other double-title listings and other typos); that would be quite a coup. I guess Colorado Public Radio DOES breaking news after all -- kinda. So, getting accurate is just optional?

This just in . . . again . . . It's really hard to imagine how the Board Member page on the CPR site can have so many errors; people with different titles, typos, missing web links, bad spacing, omissions, etc., especially when CPR provided the correct information (we assume) to The Rocky. I mean, Colorado Public Radio Blog is a BLOG -- not a news company. We make these mistakes all the time! But, we expect better from the professionals. Don't you?

KGNU Launches Blog to Cover the DNC, Election

Very much in keeping with its independent, community-centered public radio format, KGNU 88.5-FM in Boulder and 1390-AM in Denver launched a blog. Today, you can see "KGNU’s Joel Edelstein and Maeve Conran discuss the station’s upcoming coverage of the 2008 election, the DNC and the launch of their new blog." Once again, KGNU shows that high-quality public radio can be done on a shoestring budget when public radio stations work harder and smarter.

Also, my guess it that KGNU will balance out coverage of the more conservative branch of public radio, represented by Colorado Public Radio, with a budget or more than $10 million dollars per year. All that money and they STILL cannot produce a blog for their website? Oh that's right, if you want to participate in public radio news with CPR, you have to register with the Public Insight Network. How corporate is that?

I'd venture to guess too, that when KGNU speaks of public participation during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado that they will more often refer to demonstrators rather than protesters, unlike the staff at Corporate Public Radio. But what's in a word? Public radio listeners are not fussy about vocabulary -- especially when it comes to free speech -- right? Four-syllable, eleven-letter word that is a synonym for fussy? Hmmmm, where is the puzzle master Will Shortz when you need him?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cacophony Public Radio

Radio is an intimate medium, say the fundraising tools at Colorado Public Radio around pledge time. They say a lot of stupid, syrypy shit like that about the sound of radio when they want your money. It's a fantastically subjective statement; one with which you may rightly agree or disagree. Of course if you agree with it and fall prey to its persuasive effect, then you'll probably feel guilted into donating to CPR. If you are like me, you just shake it off, turn the dial, and donate -- if you want, when you want -- to whatever public radio station that actually sounds intimate, if that's what you like. Me? I like substance. You? You may have many good reasons to subscribe to Colorado Public Radio, but I'd bet that intimacy surely isn't one of them -- at least not the type of intimacy you get during Morning Edition.

Case in point. If you ever listened to KCFR News during Morning Edition, you have probably heard the cacophony of voices at around :19 minutes past the hour. This is a time, an opportunity for local stations, to break away from NPR news in order to provide local radio content. Or in KCFR's case, to inject message after message, from disparate voice after disparate voice. Listen to this 3 minutes and 10 seconds of audio from 7:19 a.m. to 7:22 a.m. from Colorado Public Radio's Morning Edition for Monday, July 28th. This is what you will hear; 9 intimate voices; with two repeats. Enjoy!
  1. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (NPR News Foreign Correspondent, Afghanistan) finishes her report.
  2. Renee Montagne (NPR Morning Edition News Host, NPR West) segues out of Nelson's story.
  3. Bob Lafley (KCFR News Host) reads a news promo for an upcoming KCFR story.
  4. Mike Lamp (KCFR News Host) reads an underwriting spot.
  5. Charley Samson (Host and Executive Producer of Colorado Spotlight on KVOD) reads an underwriting spot.
  6. Anna Panoka (KCFR News Host) introduces and re-brands a documentary for KCFR Showcase that Colorado Public Radio never produced (see 7 and 8 below).
  7. David Dunaway mentions Pete Seeger and Public Radio International in his promotion about the documentary produced by David Dunaway and distributed by PRI, not KCFR (see 6 above and 8 below).
  8. Anna Panoka (KCFR News Host) re-promotes the documentary and mentions that KCFR is now on "crystal clear signal on 90.1-FM" (see 6 and 7 above).
  9. Bob Lafley (KCFR News Host) reads a KCFR weather spot, returning CPR back to NPR.
  10. Deborah Amos (NPR Foreign Correspondent filling in as Morning Edition News Host) introduces a report for David Schaper.
  11. David Schaper (NPR Reporter, Chicago Bureau) reports from Chicago.
Where to begin! First of all, this SOUND BRILLIANCE is brought to you through the miracle of automation and preproduction. NPR prerecords its stories overnight. Then, NPR Hosts inject their bit of magic in between the stories; you know, banter, clever intros and outros, and of course, insipid transitions between stories to tie the really big show together. Then, NPR feeds the show to member stations over satellite and/or the internet.

Days and weeks before the day's Morning Edition broadcast, every one of CPR's on-air hosts record underwriting and promotion spots to sprinkle throughout the KCFR and KVOD broadcasts. Unlike National Public Radio however, CPR cannot seem to learn that a single voice (Frank Tavares, if you didn't know) prerecording almost all of the NPR underwriting spots sounds a lot smoother than 5-7 different people doing it.

If that isn't enough of a chorus, KCFR adds more disparate voices by re-working promotions for other public radio shows to make it sound like KCFR produces more content than it actually does (KCFR Showcase). CPR calls this "re-purposing," which actually means recycling others' work and making it your own. Sounds like stealing to me. Like watching the credits roll in a movie with 10 different producers, directors, distributors and movie studios, it makes your head spin trying to figure out who actually did what to bring you the news. Why don't they just keep it simple; "A Colorado Public Radio Joint," a la Spike Lee?

If that isn't enough, Colorado Public Radio has to make a blatantly false statement about "crystal clear 90.1-FM." Last time I checked, analog radio isn't crystal anything! Sure, KCFR News on 90.1-FM may be a lot clearer than it was on 1340-AM, but please! The digital stream from KCFR is a lot clearer than FM radio, setting aside all the noticeable clicks and pops I hear when streaming their highly compressed, lo-fidelity 32 kbps sound. Maybe this is CPR's oblique reference to HD radio, if so then just say it for chrissakes. By the way, have you noticed that KCFR News on 90.1-FM isn't even broadcast in stereo? Also notice that KCFR stopped saying 1490-AM and the KCFC call letters for Boulder entirely. Guess they don't want you to know that 1490-AM isn't that clear -- crystal, that is. Sounds like an FCC violation to me, but what do I know?

Finally, after nearly 2 minutes of solid soap-selling, KCFR News gives you some actual news content -- a weather forecast that is hours old. Notice how Colorado Public Radio NEVER reads the current weather conditions? They won't do it because they can't do it. Automation is running the show, and it never sounds more obvious than at around :19 minutes past the hour during mornings on Monday through Friday. If radio is really an intimate medium, then the boffins at Colorado Public Radio are geniuses at making it sound completely distant -- like a crowded cacophony of crap. Or, how about just plain PHONY!

Salacious Snob-on-Snob Action

Brad Weismann, of the Colorado Daily, gives us some salacious snob-on-snob action. Be damned, broadcasting boffins of Colorado Public Radio! How long before CPR turns KVOD into NPR News too?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary, KUNC!

July 24, 2008 marked the first anniversary of KUNC's signal improvements, which added a potential 800-thousand listeners in metro Denver to their service area. The changes greatly improved the signal quality of the station in downtown and across the rest of Denver, as well as other sections of metro, particularly on the northern, and eastern side. Better reception is also attainable in sizable portions of Northern Colorado; in Longmont, Broomfield, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, and throughout Boulder.

Along with its blend of music heard weekdays between 9 AM and 3PM, KUNC is the only public radio station along the front range where you will hear several top notch syndicated programs on Saturdays and Sundays, including:
These offerings, along with their local news efforts which are inserted into the drive time NPR news programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered -- especially their solid reporting from the Colorado State Capitol -- sets the station apart from other public radio offerings available across metro and the Colorado Front Range.

KUNC Has Done Its Homework

Some public stations do their homework better than others. In Boulder, less than a week following KUNC's signal improvements last July, the station provided a clear signal with a recently-licensed translator at 99.9 FM. This addition became necessary when KUNC's 91.5 FM broadcast antenna was moved from the prairie of northwestern Weld County to Buckhorn Mountain, northwest of Fort Collins; the move which gave KUNC much better coverage for most of metro, but not in Boulder, where KUNC's main signal became much more shaded from KUNC's new Buckhorn location.

Hats off to KUNC Manager Neil Best (a 35 year veteran of public radio management) and a cracker jack engineering department for thinking ahead and securing the 99.9 FM frequency for their Boulder translator, an effort which can take months and even years to navigate through the bureaucratic maze known as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The KUNC proactive approach to covering and even improving its signal in Boulder, Colorado illustrates the way to keep on top of thing technical, unlike the Boulder train wreck that continues to unfold for the KVOD classical music service provided by (see previous articles Colorado Public Radiohere and here on this page).

Trying to locate an FM translator frequency for the crowded Denver metro market is tough. But the area around Boulder, tucked up against the foothills, is shaded enough from Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming radio signals to sometimes make it possible to install a limited power translator for Boulder on a frequency used by Colorado Springs and/or Cheyenne FM stations). But, it takes planning, and above all else -- caring to make such improvements happen.

In recent weeks, we have also seen KUNC move ahead with efforts to return its service to Grand County, Colorado (see previous article on this page here); an area where public radio signals come at a premium. Again, hats off to a public station interested in serving ALL Colorado residents with a solid signal, including blue-collar places away from the Colorado Front Range places without ski resorts, like: Sterling, Yuma, Wray, Holyoke, Buena Vista, and Salida. Too bad KUNC's delivery system can't reach hamlets like Meeker, Colorado where frustrated public radio listeners continue to put up with on-again-off-again service from CPR, our supposed state-wide radio service.

Congratulations KUNC! You are not only an achieving public asset -- from your relatively modest home in Greeley -- you are also a model for Colorado and regional public radio service. In the shaky financial times seen in the public radio world since 1981, such operations need skill and luck to thrive, expand, and continue. You possess the skill; here's hoping for all public radio listeners within your reach that you have continued luck as well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Author Craig Childs on KAFM

Craig Childs will appear at KAFM, not KVNF as previously reported. Please find a link to the event here. Many thanks to Ryan for correcting our error. Colorado Public Radio Blog regrets the error.

Craig Childs
will be at the Western Slope's KAFM Radio Room on Wednesday, July 30th, at 7:00 p.m. to speak about his river trip to Tibet and the January article he published about it in Men's Journal. A $5 donation is suggested for these events and seats are on a first come, first served basis. To reserve your seats by phone to any of these events, call: 970-241-8801 ext. 3.

Here is a list of Childs' interviews with commentaries for NPR. And, here is a list of Craig's books from Amazon.Com.

Craig Childs has also appeared severally on Colorado Matters, KCFR News' daily interview show heard on Colorado Public Radio.

Switch off KVOD, Switch on Internet Radio?

Colorado Public Radio encourages listeners in Boulder, Colorado -- where KVOD on 88.1-FM is "spotty," according to CPR's Sean Nethery -- to switch to HD radio. Failing that, there is Internet radio. In this article from the Boulder Daily Camera, a "peeved listener" by the name of Carla Selby, finds that there are 127 classical music stations for her to listen over the Internet. And, she says that she won’t be listening to her old favorite anymore; that she "feels betrayed, and that [she] probably will never forgive them [Colorado Public Radio]."

It make you wonder. With 127 different classical music choices on internet radio, will Carla find yet another reason -- besides irritation and disappointment with CPR's decision -- to tune out KVOD? Why spend money on an HD radio -- especially when it won't work in Boulder anyway -- if for the same price or less, you can get an Internet radio and use the broadband connection you already have at home? And, what if Carla finds better classical music content on the Internet besides? What coy or evasive answer does Sean Nethery of Colorado Public Radio have prepared for that?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

KUNC Moves Back in Grand County & Winter Park

Sky Hi Daily News reports that by September 2008, KUNC will be back on the air in Grand County and Winter Park with a translator located at Grand Ranch's Sol Vista and on the radio dial at 91.7-FM. KUNC raised $43,000 for the new tower.