Backwash

Radio Waves

With all of the upheavals in the Denver radio market these days, the climate of competitiveness seems to have everyone ready to launch a defensive strike -- even if it's at the wrong target.

On Thursday, October 5, in addition to representatives from the House of Blues and RCA Records, employees of two radio stations -- Jefferson Pilot's 107.5 KQKS-FM, "Denver's Party Station," and 1090 KMXA-AM/92.1 KJMN-FM, sister Englewood stations owned by Entravision Communications -- showed up at Magness Arena to meet listeners who'd won tickets to that night's Christina Aguilera/Destiny's Child show along with the chance to meet Aguilera in the well-toned flesh. Yet as the fifteen or so fans passed through the stageside door, things in the parking lot got a little bit ugly. The show's presenting station, KS 107.5, had been told it would have exclusive access to the premises; what then, the Party people wondered, did the Spanish-language station think it was doing there?

The KS 107.5 staff notified the House of Blues people, who informed a KMXA program manager and Pedro Rocha, a station intern and recent arrival from Mexico, that they had to leave the premises immediately. However, according to sources at KMXA, some of the language was not so polite. Observers called the station reporting that they'd heard members of the KS 107.5 staff making ethnic jokes at Rocha's expense, suggesting he get out of there or face deportation, among other things. KS 107.5 promotions director Aldo strongly denies that his staff said any such thing to the KMXA/KJMN crew and feels that they are allowing false rumors to circulate.

All of which is too bad, and kind of silly, really, considering that both stations were invited. Beau Phillips, president of Rainmaker Media, a Los Angeles promotional company, was hired by Sears and Levi's -- who jointly underwrote the Aguilera tour in more than thirty cities across the U.S. -- to arrange promotional events around the country, many of them with radio stations. Recognizing Aguilera's cross-cultural appeal, Phillips decided to invite both stations to the meet-and-greet, though someone apparently forgot to tell this to KS 107.5 or to the House of Blues. The KMXA/KJMN winners did get in to meet Christina, he notes.

"Sometimes when there are markets with two urban stations, we'll arrange the promotions so that they stay out of each other's way," Phillips says. "But here, they were such different audiences. We didn't see any problem.

"It's funny," he adds. "We've done this in Miami, in Houston, Los Angeles -- places with large Hispanic communities and maybe more potential for conflict. Strange that it would be Denver, of all places, where you have a problem."

 
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