Saturday, July 12, 2008

Aspen Ideas Festival for 2008

The Aspen Ideas Festival for 2008 ended last week. Among the guests this year were Former President Bill Clinton, PBS television Host Charlie Rose, Harvard Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Michael Sandel, and dozens of other well-know thinkers and personalities.

Listen to Colorado Public Radio Host Dan Drayer's 5-minute news feature from June 30th, the first day of the event, or go to Minnesota Public Radio to hear some extended audio pieces, like this one from President Clinton.

Too bad Colorado public radio stations cannot seem to cover this event a bit more broadly and deeply, or at the very least, try to coordinate interviews with some of the guests while they are here in the state. Minnesota Public Radio seems to have resources enough to cover this festival. Hear MPR's many other AIF broadcasts here. So, why not Colorado Public Radio? Are they busy covering a sweet corn festival in Brainard, Minnesota? You betcha!

KGNU Opening - Denver Fundraising Coordinator

KGNU, FM in Boulder and AM in Denver, is seeking an experienced Fundrasing Coordinator for Denver. Just so you know, KGNU is primarily run by volunteers and takes it lead from the Pacifica and community radio end of the public radio spectrum. In short, NOT National Public Radio. My guess is that interested parties who don't know the difference need not apply.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What is an AM Station Worth These Days?

Westword's Michael Roberts wonders what do to with the pre-sets on his radio tuner here? What I am wondering is what the hell is 1340-AM, former home to KCFR, worth to a buyer -- especially with the US economy in the crapper? I am guessing that the price will be cheap -- but not free. By the way, -CFR in KCFR used to stand for Colorado Free Radio, and it's free to you, unless you subscribe.

Rather than worry about what to do with my presets, I am thinking about how cool it would be to have internet radio in my car. Can you imagine listening to thousands of stations from all over the world -- unlimited by terrestrial AM or FM? Besides, AM news radio was so much more interesting when it was on TV. In case you forgot how much fun AM radio could be, you can watch NewsRadio episodes on Hulu.Com. My guess is that Colorado Public Radio isn't nearly as lost as the NewsRadio crowd, but certainly not as fun either.

KUNC's Grand Project

Sky-Hi Daily News reports on KUNC's antenna project in Grand County, CO. KUNC hopes to get some listeners back, after KUNC moved its front range antenna farther south and west to bring 91.5-FM into the Denver metro area.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Westword Weighs in with the Latest 'Word

Michael Roberts of Denver Westword gives us the latest about the Colorado Public Radio frequency changes (and, he give Colorado Public Radio Blog a plug in the process -- THANKS!). So, how come it feels like I have heard this one before -- the death of KVOD? Oh wait, I CAN'T actually hear this one, because 1200 watts of isn't powerful enough to reach my home? Well, never mind.

By the way, you can tune in to KUNC at 91.5-FM and listen online at for some classical music in Northern Colorado, or tune in to or KUSC-FM in Los Angeles, online at, if state or region is unimportant to your classical music listening. After all, so long as you are online, why should I be limited to just KVOD on 88.1-FM RADIO, right? Use the internets, like CPR says.

By the way, -VOD stands for Voice of Denver. So, too bad much of Denver cannot actually hear KVOD on 88.1-FM. Nice job, McWycisk! Gene Amole would be proud. Hey Wycisk, we have heard that you had only met Gene ONCE in your 35 years in public radio -- with much of that time spent broadcasting classical music. Is that true? If so, how is it that you and CPR are the heir to his legacy? Just because you own the call letters? C'mon Max, tell us a story! Isn't that what your classical music hosts on KVOD do? Tell stories? So, enlighten us -- please!

A Show about Nothing

The following is a Blog Promo. Or as we refer to it here at CPRB -- a bromo. Public Insight Network is moving to 90.1-FM! How will this affect you? Sign up for Public Insight Network to let Colorado Public Radio know! Tune in to Colorado Matters on KCFR at 10 am and 7 pm to find out what you think about the PIN changing to 90.1-FM. As a bonus, read what Colorado Public Radio's Vice President of Programming, Sean Nethery, says about PIN to Michael Roberts of Denver Westword.

Seriously, when you see the list of Colorado stories garnered by the Public Insight Network, you have to wonder, does is really take a public radio station to pay for a database service to assemble 2700 or 2800 people (according to Vice President Nethery) for stories about the Democratic National Convention, bark beetles, going green, education, fuel prices, the Iraq War, and (my favorite) stories of hope and gratitude?

It seems to me that the primary motivation for the Public Insight Network is to give some CPR bureaucrat something to manage, Colorado Matters Producer and Host Dan Meyers, and to cull smartypants listeners and issue boosters into subscribing to the station. Let's hope that the PIN price tag for CPR is worth it, because it doesn't take a journalist to know that all of these topics could be conceived of and solicited without using the Public Insight Network -- from the sounds of CPR's constant on-air and website promotions -- A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING!

The Sound of Silence (and Static)

Yesterday was the day for Colorado Public Radio to move KCFR back to 90.1-FM. Except for the 30-40 or so seconds of DEAD AIR just after 10:00 a.m., it sounds like it went OK. My guess is that one of the engineers fat fingered one of the buttons or ham handed one of the cables. Please, stand by . . .

I heard Monika Vischer and David Rutherford on 90.1-FM KVOD with the countdown for the move to 88.1-FM. The 88 keys on the piano metaphor was pretty clever, but that creative device pretty much got lost when (a) KVOD ran its last station ID on 90.1-FM, then (b) ran a promo and some fill music, and then (c) when KCFR failed to fire at the top of the hour! Houston, we have a problem. Launch is at T + 10 seconds, and counting . . .

Immediately after the switch-over, I quickly tuned to 88.1-FM on my 1-year-old clock radio and heard, well . . . BUPKIS! Actually, that is not entirely true. I actually heard static! So much for 1200 watts of KVOD power. If KOA-AM is the Blowtorch of the West, then the new-and-unimproved KVOD is a candle in the wind. Not in a gay way, though. Not that there is anything wrong with that, except for a certain CPR host who refuses to read CPR underwriting credits for the Gill Foundation because of, well . . . THAT!

As for the 88 keys on the keyboard banter, CPR is counting all of the white keys and the black keys! How precious is that? It's almost like they are making good on their diversity effort (kinda like the ongoing news initiative). Speaking of diversity and the piano, when I heard them playing the keys to simulate the countdown, I immediately thought of the classic Ebony and Ivory sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Also, watch a snippet of Seinfeld's The Outing here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Broadcasters DON'T Want THE PUBLIC to Know about July 15th

Between now and next Tuesday, July 15th, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard, regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) plan to expand the FM dial (worry about expanded receivers and such later). It's not just a question of if the FCC should allow expansion, but how expansion is delegated.

Here is the FCC file number for your comments: FCC: MB Docket 07-294 ....., and the FCC website.

Consider this amazing fact: you will not hear about this proposal over the existing airwaves; existing broadcasters have conveniently left this potentially ground-breaking action alone; no public service announcements here!

This is what is happening: The FCC is pondering a 20 channel expansion once TV channels 5 and 6 convert to digital broadcasting and vacate the channels 5 and 6 FM frequencies (68 to 88 FM). An expansion of the FM band could(with appropriate and plentiful public input) enable more community groups to start radio stations across the country.

Along Colorado's Front Range, expansion could have a direct positive bearing on an existing problem for public radio listeners. Even a slight expansion of the dial -- say down to 87.7 FM (where most current FM receivers are currently able to pick-up Channel 6 audio) will enable KVOD at 88.1 to move down to 87.9 or 87.7, enabling Colorado Public Radio to file for a substantial power gain.

Currently KVOD is limited to a power increase of only a few hundred watts, which will not enable it to reach much beyond listeners residing in the "303" area code. The 88.1 signal from Denver is also blocked in Fort Collins-Loveland-Greeley by KLHV, Fort Collins at 88.3 FM. Re-locating down the dial, just slightly, will make everyone happy. This is a classic example to site in your comments to the FCC.

Please make your voice heard BEFORE July 15, 2008! As for expanding FM tuners, in order to pick up new frequencies from the proposed expansion, one solution would be for Congress to require FM radio manufacturers to include the new FM frequencies on new FM tuners; much the way Congress passed a requirement in the 1960's, requiring TV manufacturers to include UHF channels on new TV tuners. Whatever it takes!

The important item right now requires your participation, and you comments regarding what you would like to see happen. Don't let this opportunity slip away! The airwaves are public -- we own them!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

KVOD 88.1-FM Coverage Area on July 9th

Here is the coverage area for Colorado Public Radio's new-and-unimproved KVOD 88.1-FM (formerly K-Love's KFDN-FM Christian radio simulcast in Denver). Until CPR engineers get FCC approval to boost the signal, this map shows the BEST CASE SCENARIO for listening to KVOD in the Denver metro area. You may want to test the boundaries of the coverage area and try out an HD radio in your car and in your home BEFORE you commit to buying not one but two new HD radios at $100 apiece--minimum--because you may be more than a bit disappointed with the promise of HD radio coverage in and around Denver, despite the (wiggly) language used by CPR managers to cover their asses.

From the Colorado Public Radio website:

"HD Radio: Both KVOD and KCFR are also available on HD Radio, a new technology that allows Colorado Public Radio to offer two distinct channels on one frequency with consistently high sound quality. In addition to its new location at 88.1 FM, KVOD classical music will also be available on HD Radios at 90.1 FM HD-2. KCFR news and information will also be at 90.1 FM HD-1. If you receive 90.1 FM clearly, without interference, HD Radio may offer a good solution in your home or car. Learn more about HD Radio [emphasis added].

So, during these tough economic times, how much money do you have to spend on new radios for your home and auto? Also, with gas prices hovering at or above $4/gallon, how many of you who are spending less time commuting in your cars; opting instead for public transit, actually have portable HD radios? None of you? Well, you can buy one of those too. The Visteon-brand Jump Radio costs $170 on the Shop NPR website. And if HD radio just never pans out, you can always tell your kids (who have never heard of public radio) that you bought a 21st century version of the Betamax; something else they have never heard of!

Colorado Public Radio Blog is told that the reason that KVOD at 88.1-FM cannot raise power beyond 1200 watts from Mount Morrison is because K-LOVE has a station at KLHV 88.3-FM in Fort Collins that is powered at 150 watts. KGNU is at 88.5-FM in Boulder, and it presently powered at 4000 watts. If Colorado Public Radio raised power for its new KVOD at 88.1-FM, it might interfere with one, the other, or both.

CPRB has also learned that 88.1-FM might be able to raise power slightly; from 1200 watts to a few hundred watts more, but to raise it further would require Rocky Mountain PBS, Channel 6 TV in Denver, to power down (or off) its analog signal, giving KVOD more room on the left side of the FM dial. However, that may still not help KVOD's analog signal reach farther north because the frequencies immediately adjacent to KVOD on the right side of the dial are both up north; located in much of the area that Colorado Public Radio loses by moving KVOD from 90.1-FM in the first place.

By the way, why doesn't Colorado Public Radio provide detailed frequency coverage information to its listeners -- the PUBLIC? My guess is that the average public radio listener is curious and intelligent enough to understand this stuff, right? So much for news and information!

Coverage Map courtesy of Radio-Locator.