The same numbers of FCC-regulated frequencies for non-commercial FM stations exist in Colorado as elsewhere, but other places haven't had the nasty political battles that have taken place within the public radio family in Colorado. The battles of decades past to keep out a strong FM presence for KGNU and KUNC into Denver metro have been documented.
What does all of this mean, now? Some of us who have not been able to receive upwards of 7 public radio signals in the same market may wonder what in the world do that many public stations program in a [single] market for listeners.
To give you a hint at what's possible, I invite you to go on-line to listen to the fare produced for national audiences by KCRW, Santa Monica, California, and [other] Los Angeles basin public stations in Pasadena, Long Beach, and Los Angeles; KUSC, KPFK, [and KPCC]. Do the same for Boston, New York City, San Francisco, and other markets where 4 or more public stations exist. When you hear the variety that is possible, remember this: many of the programs you hear are produced for public stations around the country. In fact, there are hundreds of programs distributed via public radio satellite, which could fill several stations in each market. Sadly, politics within the public radio family can limit those choices. The problem is reinforced when many of us are just unaware of the possibilities.
With KUNC finally available Denver-metro wide, a lot of this will play itself out, as the increased variety of public radio signals will hopefully lead to less repetition in the programming offered between one public station and another. For now, KUNC brings Fresh Air with Terry Gross at 7:00 PM and World Café with David Dye from 8:00 to 10:00 PM weeknights [Colorado Public Radio broadcasts Fresh Air with Terry Gross at 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM]. Those two shows alone will shake things up, but there's a lot more to chose from, especially with KUNC's weekend schedule that you can check out.
What a concept! More democracy [and diversity] for public radio listeners. It has to be a good thing!
For some more Denver radio conversations, please check out Denver Radio.