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Cyber Slams

A local college student is on a one-man mission to attack lousy radio.

These ingredients could make for good television, but Paige isn't betting his desk at the Post on it. "They really seem committed to this," he maintains. "They say they want it to be on forever, but I'm sure I won't be there that long. After six days or so, they may decide they'd rather have Mark Kiszla."

ESPN strikes again: In the October 3 edition of this column, Don Crawford Jr., the man in charge of KLZ-AM/560, said that his signal would ditch its format of music "chosen by women for women" in favor of becoming an ESPN Radio affiliate on October 7. But when I tuned in for the service's promised debut, I discovered not sports chatter, but an eccentric version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that went on for about ten minutes.

Why the delay? "For many reasons," Crawford noted later that week. "First of all, we couldn't get a contract done with ESPN Zone, and that was an integral part of our deal with ESPN Radio. Secondly, the engineering work to receive the programming from ESPN is very complicated. But the station will change to sports on Monday the 14th for sure -- unless an act of God takes place."

This time, Crawford was correct: On October 14, KLZ was delivering sports. Apparently, God wants to know what the hell happened to the Broncos last Sunday, too.

The harder they fall: To say that cliches become cliches because they're usually true is to indulge in another cliche. But the arrest last weekend of onetime Denver Post columnist Chuck Green for driving under the influence was so hackneyed, so sadly predictable, that it practically demands to be described in trite terms.

Green's departure from the Post this past spring didn't come as much of a surprise, either. He worked at the paper in various capacities, including editor, over a span of more than thirty years. But from the mid-'90s onward, he was best known to the daily's readership as a columnist with a soft spot for pets, an obsession with the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, and a fondness for the lowest common denominator. This formula had obvious flaws, but it evidently worked for a significant number of folks. Post owner Dean Singleton and former editor Glenn Guzzo declared on several occasions that Green's salvos were seen by more eyeballs than any of the paper's other regular features.

Buoyed by his popularity, Green grew lazier with time, once filling an entire column with explanations for why he'd spaced out writing a previous one. (The unforgettable headline on that August 1, 2001, gem was "Flowers Made Me Forget.") His intermittent looseness with journalistic necessities -- such as facts -- became more frequent as well, and when Post management types pressured him to improve, he cracked instead. After the Post ran an article reporting that he'd resigned, Green issued a statement in which he disagreed with that characterization ("Three the Hard Way," May 16). He subsequently reached a settlement with the Post and began making plans to move to Pueblo, where he and his wife, Susan, are building a house that should be completed by year's end. But rumors about Green's drinking habits continued to circulate, with one Westword reader noting that he'd sat down the bar from the columnist last Thanksgiving morning (Letters, June 13).

Such rumblings gained additional credence at around 6:30 p.m. on October 12, thanks to a traffic accident near the intersection of South Quebec and East Iowa in which Green was involved. Sergeant Mike Anderson, a public information officer with the Denver Police Department, reveals that Green's blood-alcohol content topped out at .231 -- well over double the amount to be considered legally drunk in Colorado. He was charged with driving under the influence.

As an indication of how quickly Green has vanished from the public eye, consider the relative dearth of coverage his bust received. A small item about it ran in the middle of the Post's "Metro Briefs" section on October 13, but the Rocky Mountain News didn't bother to reciprocate. Meanwhile, Channel 4, which is partnered with the News, seems to have been the only local TV outlet to consider his dilemma worth even a few seconds of airtime.

Whether the station made the right call is up to each individual to decide. Green was certainly a major media figure in Denver for a very long time, and he presumably remains of interest to those who loved and/or despised him. But in other respects, his tumble from fame and influence to shame and obsolescence is a timeworn tale told far too often. Unfortunately, Green has become his own cliche.

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