Eye of the Beholder

Two CU groups feel burned by a fiery sports column.

For his part, Krieger says the summit "reminded me of the '60s and early '70s. It was black people and white people sitting in a room talking about race and their perceptions, and being very assertive, but with no personal animosity." He agreed to disagree with Branch and Kite about the use of the "gateway to the ghetto" phrase; they feel it was inappropriate even if it's used frequently by recruiters, whereas Krieger notes, "My whole ethic is to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may." The parties also varied in their opinion about whether "morons" and "thugs," as used in the column, left a racial aftertaste. But in Krieger's opinion, Branch and Kite "made very good arguments. And let's be frank: Nobody wants to be accused of these things. It's a tough label, particularly for someone like me, who was raised in the '60s. It's not something you want to have around your neck. So I'll definitely be informed by their criticisms, and I think there's no question that I'll shy away from provocative words that can be misinterpreted."

That's good news for Branch, who emphasizes that he never asked for a boycott of the News or specific disciplinary action against Krieger. "Our only objective was to let them know that phrases and code words were used in that article in a way that perpetuated false, negative stereotypes. We only wanted to make them aware of that and try to influence them to be aware that those words are destructive.... It needed to be brought to their attention so it won't be repeated."

Out, out, out: KNRC, a news-talk station at 1510 AM, and KLZ, an ESPN affiliate that holds the 560 AM dial position, are both fairly new players on the Denver radio scene, with neither making a substantial impact to date. But they're plenty lively behind the scenes, as indicated last week by a pair of talent departures -- one apparently voluntary, the other anything but.

On February 7, listeners to KNRC's midday show were startled when host Allan Prell suddenly, and tearfully, announced that he was making his last broadcast for the outlet. Why? KNRC program director Alan Eisenson says that when Prell helped launch the station last year, he committed only to six months on the job. This deal wasn't made public, Eisenson insists, "because we were hoping to persuade him to stay longer -- and he did stay a few months more than that. But a couple weeks ago, he said he needed to get back to his wife in Baltimore," where Prell had worked prior to inking with KNRC. For the time being, Prell's slot will be filled with syndicated gab from Atlanta's Neal Boortz, but Eisenson promises that someone "live and local" will be hired in the near future.

The circumstances that led to the disappearing of KLZ afternoon yakker Dino Costa are much uglier. On February 10, Rocky Mountain News broadcasting columnist Dusty Saunders wrote that Costa, who went on KLZ's airwaves for the first time last fall, "was fired or resigned Friday after allegations of sexual harassment by a female employee at the station -- charges Costa denies. Costa claims he resigned after station management suspended him. Several other sources say Costa was fired by owner Don Crawford Jr."

Costa, 39, could not be reached for comment. But some of the gaps in Saunders's account are filled by a February 7 article in the Denver Daily News, which had an inside track on the Costa situation: DenverRadio.net reports that KLZ and the Daily News share a building at 2150 West 29th Avenue. The paper said a temporary restraining order had been issued against Costa on behalf of a woman who also worked in the building and a police investigation was under way. The offense report, filed February 5 and directed at Costa under his given name, Ryan Patrick, speaks about several instances of alleged sexual harassment, including one described as follows: "Victim was confronted by suspect in first floor stairwell. Suspect grabbed victim by arm, pulled her into stairwell, pushed victim up against the wall and forcibly kissed victim, forcing his tongue down her throat. At the same time, suspect put his hand up victim's dress and groped victim's breast."

No charges had been filed against Costa circa February 11, but the investigation was ongoing. Presumably, KLZ's search for a replacement host is, as well, although there's no way of knowing for certain: Station owner Crawford did not return a call about the situation. But Costa didn't leave especially big mukluks to fill. On the few occasions when I tuned him in, I found him to be a chest-pounding, self-important, Jim Rome wannabe who was operating in a vacuum created by his station's lower-than-low profile. If a host barks into a microphone but no one hears him, does he make a sound?

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