As for Bryan Schock, 92X's program director, he's saddened by, but philosophical about, EXCL's decision. "When I was a kid, I had dreamed of putting together a radio station like this one--one that would have the impact and touch people the way that this one did," he says. "If I never work another day in radio, I will at least have accomplished my dream.

"It's pretty obvious that, with the acquisitions Jacor has made, they want to own the rock war. And one of the biggest fears I have with the deregulation that's made that possible is, when you own the whole market in rock or country or whatever, what's going to motivate you to put out a great product? Nothing. Then it's about nothing but business."

From a business standpoint, the arrival of KKHK makes perfect sense; since Denver's always been a rock-and-roll town, there's little doubt that the station will please those folks who want another opportunity to hear the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and so on. David Juris, vice president and general manager of Tribune Denver Radio, says the corporation has performed extensive research that supports such a conclusion, and adds that a massive television-ad campaign will let sympathetic 30-to-42-year-olds know that the Hawk has landed. "We are not a classic-rock station," he insists. "This is rock-and-roll hits without the harder edge, and it will be relatable to both males and user-friendly to females. It's music-intensive and not personality-focused." Nevertheless, Tribune has signed a number of well-known Denver voices to KKHK duty, including Marty Lenz and Melissa Morgan, previously at KOSI, and ex-KBCO assistant program director Lois Todd. These known quantities are meant to seem as familiar to listeners as the unadventurous music selections. Juris boasts, "You will know and remember every song you hear on this station."

That wouldn't have been the case for alternative-music buffs had the gossip about KTCL been based in reality. Scuttlebutt among radio types had the station switching to country. That sounded reasonable given the disappearance of country outlet KZDG-FM/92.5 (now classically oriented KVOD) and KTCL's marketing agreement with Jacor, which doesn't have a country signal with which to challenge country champ KYGO-FM/98.5. But even though morning man Brett Saunders recently dubbed his show the "Saunderoso Love Ranch," KTCL program director denies that there's any C&W in his future. "We certainly have every intention of continuing on our current path," he says.

So will KTCL air talent soon be crowing about Garth Brooks? Hell if I know. But after the most recent onslaught of dial-hopping, nothing would surprise me.

Recent profile subject Sick is among fifty semifinalists in Musician magazine's best unsigned band contest. Finalists will be announced in May.

And now for something completely different. In "The Envelope, Please," an article about the Grammy nominations that ran in our January 17 edition, I wrote that Pearl Jam should have been nominated as "Group most likely to bitch about the irrelevance of the Grammy awards, then show up to receive one anyway"--which is precisely what happened. (In accepting his bauble last week, Eddie Vedder muttered, "I don't think this means anything.") Educated guess or proof of supernatural abilities? You be the judge.

I know what you're thinking. On Thursday, March 7, critically acclaimed country vocalist Kim Richey visits the Bluebird Theater. On Friday, March 8, Chubby Carrier gets heavy at Herman's Hideaway; Zoon Politikon hosts a CD-release party at the Bug Theatre, with Saw; Razor and Tie Records' own the Nields fill the Swallow Hill Music Hall; and the Meters close out a three-night run at the Fox, with moe. On Saturday, March 9, the Winebottles tip at the Bug; A.C. Reed alternates current at Jimmy's Grille; Slim Cessna's Auto Club and Smokin' Uncle Rumley puff at the Mercury; Bohemia Beat's Wyckham Porteus croons at Swallow Hill; and hip-hop's Skee-Lo raps at the Aztlan Theatre. On Sunday, March 10, TR3 stops by Brendan's. On Tuesday, March 12, Dog's Eye View stares down the crowd at the Bluebird, with Michael Kroll, and jazz pianist Greg Dyes comes to life at CU-Boulder's Grusin Music Hall. And on Wednesday, March 13, Possum Dixon tows the line at the Mercury, with Lifter. Rise and shine.

--Michael Roberts

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