The Missing Linc

Who on earth would want to work at the News these days? Bernie Lincicome, for one.

Some local observers have knocked Lincicome for his extremely idiosyncratic syntax and tendency to ramble in stream-of-consciousness style. But many of us who've followed him over the years know that he's a taste worth acquiring, and a far better addition to the News than anyone had a right to expect. Moreover, he's a welcome alternative to the Post's Woody Paige, whose comic-relief offerings are often unintentional. As reported by Australian journalist Tim Blair in Online Journalism Review, at ojr.org, the September 22 column the Woodman penned from the Land Down Under included his assertion that an Outback community he claimed to have visited was a thousand miles by plane from Sydney, when it's really 240 miles by car. Note to Post bean counters: Check his expense report very carefully.

Granted, some of Lincicome's work can provoke head scratching; his September 15 discussion of the Olympics was just plain nutty. But he hits more often than he whiffs, and his old-fashioned devotion to the print medium is downright refreshing. "There's an authenticity about newspapers that you can't get anywhere else, which is why I root for them to survive not only against other newspapers, but against television, radio and the Internet," he says. "This job gets tougher as the technology gets better, but technology is never going to replace the alphabet."

Go to heck: After Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski was accused of using the slur "nigger" to refer to his African-American peers, the Post reported the story but softened the key term to "the n-word" ("Words Get in the Way," August 31). Expect to see more instances of such caution in the future: In a recent memo to news staffers, Post editor Glenn Guzzo wrote that journalists should steer clear of using vulgarities or obscenities in articles -- a warning that some staffers interpreted as a de facto ban guaranteeing that there was no damn way in hell that either "damn" or "hell" would survive the editing process.

Rand Carlson

Guzzo disputes this reading. To him, the memo was merely a reminder that a variety of items, including corrections, pieces about the Post, and reports that either identify juvenile crime suspects or employ anonymous sources, need to be run past him or managing editor Larry Burrough before they appear in the paper. Regarding profanities, he notes, "The assumption is that we're going to avoid using those words, but there are going to be times that they'll be approved because of the context and the news value of a quote. They've appeared in the past, and they'll appear in the future. But we'd like to have a discussion about it before they go in." Guzzo insists that no single gaffe spurred his missive; rather, "it was more an accretion of what appeared to be casual usage or casual editing that didn't reflect the rigor we should be applying." But Guzzo does concede that the way the Post dealt with George W. Bush's description of New York Times scribe Adam Clymer as a "major-league asshole" left something to be desired: "We wrote around it so much that you couldn't possibly tell what Bush was talking about."

The presence on network newscasts, as well as David Letterman's show, of subtly bleeped videotape showing Bush making his Clymer observation to veep wannabe Dick "Big Time" Cheney made the Post's squeamishness in this case all the more obvious. But Guzzo says such factors won't dictate how his paper will treat dirty words down the line: "We can't be unmindful of something like that, but we're going to make our own decisions. We don't want the lowest common denominator to be our standard."

Good -- 'cause that's our territory. As one Westword wag acknowledged, a ban on obscenities would pretty much shut us down.

Classical action: Over the past couple of weeks, things have gotten mighty weird for classical-radio-loving Denverites.

The latest series of flip-flops began with the announcement that KVOD, Denver's only commercial classical station, had been sold by Clear Channel to Zee Ferrufino's Latino Communications for a reported $3.3 million. This gives Ferrufino an opportunity to resurrect his former station, KBNO-AM, which he sold to Crawford Broadcasting in September 1999. Pending FCC approval, Ferrufino plans to rechristen his new station KBNO, and rehire numerous former KBNO personalities to play what he calls "Mexican regional music," among other styles.

In response, Crawford Broadcasting's Don Crawford Jr. proclaimed he would change the sound at one of its stations, KLVZ-AM/1220, from contemporary Christian music to classical on October 9. This declaration set off a debate within members of Citizens for Classical FM (CCFM), the group that sprang to life after KVOD's abduction from FM, with most members worried about KLVZ's limitations. Although it broadcasts in AM stereo, thereby offering modestly better acoustics than standard AM, KLVZ's power rating is much lower than the old 5,000-watt KVOD -- to be specific, 660 watts by day and only 10.99 watts at night. Does the transmitter run off a food processor?

But before reception could become an issue, another development arose. On October 6, Colorado Public Radio announced that it had purchased KKYD-AM/1340, most recently a part of the hugely unsuccessful Catholic Radio Network, for $4.4 million -- hardly a bargain considering that Ferrufino paid over a million clams less for a station with five times more power (1340 AM is rated at 1,000 watts day and night). And whaddaya think CPR President Max Wycisk plans to do with his new bauble? Bingo: Turn it classical. Not only that, but Ferrufino has agreed to transfer both the KVOD call letters and KVOD's music library to the station, which Wycisk expects to be up and running in one to three months.

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