Station to Station

Denver's two public-television stations get together, technically speaking.

In the meantime, Channels 6 and 12 are readying the new master control for duty -- something that Rocky Mountain PBS's Morgese admits "has been a bit painful to create from scratch. You have to think of things that haven't been thought of before. But we have many of the national public-TV organizations around the country watching to see how we consummate this, and if it works, it will probably be replicated around the country."

Adds Rowland, "We want to ride the waves of new technology and maybe even be ahead of them to show what we can do with television. And we're always looking for new members and underwriters to ride along with us."

Operators are standing by.

Looking to the future: Channel 12's Wick Rowland.
Brett Amole
Looking to the future: Channel 12's Wick Rowland.

In the key 18-34 age bracket of the spring Arbitron ratings, the KALC-FM/105.9 (Alice) morning show featuring Jamie White, Frosty Stillwell and Frank Kramer finished number one in the Denver market. So why in holy hell would the station, owned by Dallas's mighty AMFM conglomerate, erase the two male components of the team and replace them on September 15 with, of all people, former Partridge Family cherub Danny Bonaduce?

The answer says a lot about the way radio works today. Stillwell and Kramer, who, according to a press release, "remain part of AMFM's programming arsenal and on-air talent pool," hooked up with White in Denver five years ago but were moved to KYSR-FM/98.7 in Los Angeles three years later to shore up its sagging profile. Since then, the program has been beamed back to Denver, and the substituting of SoCal references for Colorado ones hasn't diminished its audience in the slightest. The numbers at KYSR have been strong as well, leaving White in the position of explaining changes to her listeners that she didn't seem to understand herself. On her first program with Bonaduce, she called the move "a forced decision," swore that she "loved the boys," referred to working in corporate radio as "a whore job" and said about her new partner, "I don't even really know him. Maybe someday we'll be funny." As of press time, her wish was still unfulfilled.

It's possible that White's regret was all an act; there are even rumors that the move was made at her behest. But whatever the truth, the choice of Bonaduce is quizzical. Once cute as a button, he's now gruff-voiced and more than a little bit scary -- and as a radio personality, he hasn't exactly scored one smash after another. He didn't last long in Detroit or Chicago, and a stint in Phoenix ended in March 1992 after he allegedly paid a transvestite prostitute for sex, then robbed and beat him/ her. (Cops found Danny hiding naked in the closet of his apartment.) A court later ordered Bonaduce to pay for the cost of his victim's corrective facial surgery. Odds are good that Shirley Jones was very disappointed.

Not too happy either was Craig Carton, whose head was handed to him after he completed the September 9 morning show on KKFN-AM/950 (The Fan); Carton's partner, Dave Otto, looks to be on the way out as well. Fan program director Tim Spence declines to comment on Otto's fate beyond saying that a new morning show should be in place in the next week or two, but the grapevine has him turning up next month on KDJM-FM/92.5 (Jammin' Oldies).

Few tears will be shed over the breakup of the Otto-Carton team, which had been assembled after the Fan moved the syndicated Jim Rome program into the midday slot Carton had formerly manned solo. On too many days, the pair ignored the sports issues of the day to babble about hot chicks, drunkenness and other juvenilia that might have struck many middle-schoolers as immature. In a rare demonstration of good taste, local listeners stayed away in droves, and the anemic ratings that resulted prompted Spence to make a change. But he stops short of pledging that the next group of yakkers will stick to stats. "Our direction before was more of a guy-talk focus," he says, "but that doesn't mean we won't try to have an impact on lifestyle issues. It's a challenge to make a sports show work in morning-drive, and we're just trying to find the right mix."

So, too, is Don Crawford Jr. of Crawford Broadcasting Company, which recently yanked Christian music off KLZ-AM/560 in favor of big bands and other nostalgic sounds. (The Christian format will reappear October 7 on KBNO-AM/1220, a Spanish-language station Crawford recently purchased.) Crawford is going directly after the market share of KEZW-AM/1430, which plays many of the recordings KLZ is now spinning, by trying to do more of the same. "We will have almost twice the number of songs per hour as they do," he says. "There'll be no news, no talk shows, no restaurant shows, and our DJs will make brief qualitative remarks about the music or what's going on in the community and then start another song -- because that's what people everywhere want. And because you can hear KLZ's signal across the state, they'll all be able to hear it. We're trying to establish a niche, so we're moving in with our big gun."

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