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Dial Another Day

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

11:53 a.m. Jack FM

The Eagles' "New Kid in Town." Playing what I don't want -- again.

12:05 p.m. KS-107.5 (107.5 FM)

The FCC crackdown presents problems to stations like KS-107.5, which is trying to keep it real with the hip-hop faithful without having to pay a real big fine. Take "Oochie Wally," by the Bravehearts, featuring Nas. The cut contains loads o' obscenities ("He really, really, really fucked my coochie.... I fuck a bitch face more than her waist"), and even the lines without them, such as "He really, really tried to hurt me, hurt me/I really love his thug and gangsta style" would raise the feds' collective eyebrows. What to do? The station plays the song but bleeps it so often that it sounds like the signal is drifting.

12:34 p.m. KNRC (1150 AM)

When talk station KNRC debuted, it boasted about offering programs catering to those on "both sides" of topical issues. Two years later, everyone on the station while the sun shines is a conservative with the exception of Enid Goldstein, whose show was moved opposite of Rush Limbaugh's, either as counter-programming or as a tactic to make sure no one ever hears her again. Today she's decrying the position of certain leaders within the Catholic Church, who've tried to use the sacrament of communion to political ends. Too bad she undermines her points by continually mispronouncing the name of Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput: She says "SHAY-poo" instead of "sha-POO." Timber! Credibility falling!

1:14 p.m. KBCO (97.3 FM)

The station that launched the Adult Album Alternative, or Triple-A, format is still a ratings machine, but it's not exactly breaking new ground. This is my third stop at the station today, and thus far I've heard the Grateful Dead's "Estimated Prophet" (snooze), David and David's "Welcome to the Boomtown" (zzzzzz) and Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe," which is being played on half a dozen other local stations. Wake me when it's over.

1:18 p.m. The Mountain (99.5 FM)

Considerably more innovative is the Mountain, which manages to make a lot of old rock sound new again. Things get more promising when "Mountain guide" Mike Casey mentions a band he describes as "a key link between punk and grunge." Then he says he won't play the song until after the next commercial break, by which time I'll be tuned to something else. Talk about a missing link.

1:27 p.m. KOSI (101.1 FM)

Horror has a name: Clay Aiken.

2:01 p.m. Radio 1190

Thank goodness for Radio 1190. The Minutemen, followed by Argentine electro artist Juana Molina. Ahhhh...

3:19 p.m. KLTT

Aaaargh! It's Bob Enyart, Colorado's proudest homophobe! Predictably, Bob's going off on the gay marriages in Massachusetts. "Probably in city after city, we'll have city council referendums recognizing May 17 as what? Official Homo Liberation Day? The first homosexual, perverted couple to get married?" A moment later, he tries to explain himself in more detail: "I realize that sounds a little harsh to some Christians, but let me just clarify. We have, as a Christian community, respected and tolerated homosexuals, and as a result, millions of people have destroyed their lives by experimenting with homosexuality.... The Bible taught us to stigmatize the behavior. We should restigmatize the behavior, and recriminalize it, and try to get them to repent." Thanks for the explanation.

4:15 p.m. KRKS-FM

The Gino Geraci Show also takes a swing at gay marriage, with Gino saying that the depravity of homosexuality "is compounded when they say we should approve of and validate through our laws their acting on their sinful desires... We should never say, 'Okay, you're struggling with your wrongful desires. Bless your heart. Go ahead and do what you want to do.'" Betcha gay people are really enjoying radio today.

4:47 p.m. Alice

Bo Reynolds, Greg Thunder's former morning partner, is now helming Alice's afternoon shift with local-radio vet Slacker, and they're trying to find a way to talk about the collapse of a girder on I-70, which killed a family of three, without bringing anybody down -- a mission every bit as doomed as Apollo 13's. "The next of kin are going to be gajillionaires," Slacker enthuses, before asking, "Does this mean the family was decapitated, or were they just crushed?" Radio wit just hit a new high!

5:01 p.m. KS-107.5

Finally, my timing is right. I arrive at KS-107.5 at the start of the "5 O'Clock Commercial-Free Traffic Jam," a live mix show overseen by DJ Chonz. Commercial stations in major population centers have had mix programs like this for years, but Denver lagged behind. Now, Chonz and his crew are getting the opportunity to display their skills five days a week. It's a little slice of hip-hop heaven.

5:54 p.m. Jammin' 92.5 (92.5 FM)

"Wild Thing," by Tone Loc, isn't hip-hop heaven; more like purgatory. But the folks at Jammin', which is trying to enliven its playlist of super-familiar R&B and soul classics with a smidgen of rap, apparently thinks it won't scare anyone off. Wrong.

6:11 p.m. The Mountain

Here comes "Bittersweet," by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which will turn out to be the only song by a local artist I'll hear in a 24-hour period. The...only...one. Pathetic.

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