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Dial Another Day

Twenty-four hours inside Denver radio: A survivor's story.

9:50 a.m. KBPI (106.7 FM)

Okay, so Lewis and Floorwax are holding their tongues, but surely Willie B., Marc Stout and D-Mak of The Locker Room, once the bawdiest program in Denver, are still sticking them out at the feds, the politicians, and anyone else offended by an eyeful of Janet Jackson's nipple. So what are the bad boys of hard-rock radio talking about? Getting listeners to guess the real name of ancient game-show host Wink Martindale, who probably means less than nothing to the youthful demographic KBPI is trying to attract. What's next? Silent-movie trivia? Name that Al Jolson song?

9:57 a.m. KYGO (98.5 FM)

Sales-wise, country music is experiencing a downturn nationwide, but perennial powerhouse KYGO remains the most listened-to station in Denver by dishing out an allegedly hot form of C&W. First example: Diamond Rio's "Wrinkles," a goopy dad-and-his-lad narrative replete with whiny vocals and lines like "Son, you're still young. You're gonna be okay." If this is hot, then Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" is scorching!

10:18 a.m. KRKS (94.7 FM)

Christian stations KRKS-FM and KRKS-AM/990 are loaded with syndicated talk fare such as Jay Sekulow Live, produced by Virginia's American Center for Law & Justice. In this edition, Sekulow is extremely agitated by the gay marriages taking place in Massachusetts, where judges declared the practice to be legal as of today. "In the midst of this chaotic situation, one thing is increasingly clear -- the need for a federal marriage amendment," Sekulow says. Marilyn Musgrave couldn't agree more.

10:21 a.m. KISS (95.7 FM)

The Fox and KBPI are walking on eggshells -- but Jamie White'll stomp on them, right? After all, she was known as Denver's potty-mouth gal before moving to Los Angeles to pair with child-star-turned-nutball Danny Bonaduce. The chances for envelope-pushing on KISS-FM, their hit-music-specializing Denver affiliate, look good once Danny starts telling about a motorcycle trip with a guy he describes as a "bitch." It's the first profanity of the morning, albeit one that's okay to use on Animal Planet. It's also the only one Bonaduce unleashes. No more curses -- foiled again!

10:38 a.m. KLTT (670 AM)

On Darren: Live in Denver, a locally produced program aired by this Christian-oriented station, the host talks about having a problem with one of his rental car's tires. Fortunately, he says, "God provided a Wal-Mart six miles down the road." So that's who's responsible for those places.

10:45 a.m. KLDC (800 AM)

The first happy discovery of the morning. KLDC is a Christian station, which doesn't exactly make it unique in Denver. The twist? The musical focus is on old-style gospel music so soulful and heartfelt that it can be enjoyed by believer and heathen alike. Amen.

10:47 a.m. KOA (850 AM)

Pity the poor weak-kneed liberal who thinks he can win over Denver conservative icon Mike Rosen. When the guy tries to argue that our war in Iraq is motivated by our thirst for oil, Rosen barks, "That's simplistic nonsense.... If we only cared about oil, we would have gone to Saudi Arabia, because they've got a lot more oil. We would have taken over their oil fields." Rather than express fear that someone in the current administration might think this is a good idea, the caller crumbles in the face of Rosen's onslaught. The display is impressive, but not pretty.

10:53 a.m. Radio 1190 (1190 AM)

The music being pumped out at the outlet affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder raises my spirits. Odds are strong that at any given moment, the most interesting song on Denver radio is being played by Radio 1190.

11:10 a.m. KCUV (1510 AM)

And when Radio 1190 drops the ball? KCUV, an Americana station that fills a long-vacant niche for area listeners, is there to pick it up. Whiskeytown's "Midway Park," the current track, symbolizes the good taste of KCUV's programmers.

11:12 a.m. 16 Kicks (1600 AM)

The mainstream press seldom acknowledges it, but 16 Kicks, once known as KYGO-AM, deserves notice. Instead of concentrating on what passes for country music these days, the station digs into the authentic stuff, such as "Charlie's Shoes," by Charlie Walker. The right end of the AM dial has got more good stuff than most people realize.

11:17 a.m. Radio Disney (1690 AM)

There's still plenty of danger in this part of the spectrum, though -- as when I'm suddenly thrust into the middle of a tune in which a perky-voiced dude yelps, "C'mon, everybody! Let's clean up the house!" as women in the background chant, "Tidy it up! Tidy it up!" Seconds later, Winnie the Pooh is rockin' "A Little Black Rain Cloud." Luckily, I don't have any Drano in my office, or I'd be gobbling it like Dippin' Dots.

11:33 a.m. KRKS-FM

On Abounding Grace, Pastor Ed Taylor reaches into the Bible, proclaiming, "For the uncircumcised had been committed to me, Paul says, as the gospel of the circumcised was committed to Peter." Who'da thunk that Christian radio would sound dirtier than the secular kind?

11:47 a.m. KOSI (101.1 FM)

To the age-old question, "Is there any station sadistic enough to still play ŒSailing,' by Christopher Cross?," Denver's soft-rock leader answers in the affirmative.

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