Dial Another Day

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

6:27 p.m. KBPI

After DJ Uncle Nasty plugs Ozzfest, a disembodied voice announces, "This hour sponsored by Rogaine." No, I'm not making this up.

6:47 p.m. The Fan (950 AM)

Mark Poutenis
Mark Poutenis

At last, some challenging sports talk to make up for the all-too-typical chats I've heard on the Zone/760 AM and ESPN Radio, at 560 AM. The reason is the Fan's Sandy Clough, the smartest and crankiest sports personality on Denver's airwaves. He's discussing the possible repercussions of a report about the CU recruiting scandal, and unlike most of his peers, he's doing so as a serious commentator, not an inveterate homer who's less concerned about rape than he is the Buffs' chances of beating the Cornhuskers. No wonder the station has moved his slot out of prime time.

9:33 p.m. Jack FM

"Would I Lie to You?," by the Eurythmics -- a song I actually like! At last, the people at Jack played something I wanted. Only took twelve hours.

10:07 p.m. KRKS-AM

Host Dr. Albert Mohler says that because of the gay marriages taking place in Massachusetts, May 17, 2004, is "a day that will live in moral infamy," much like December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. Seems to me that he's equating the deaths of thousands of people to a couple of guys saying vows to each other -- but maybe I'm just losing focus. I down a caffeine pill I bought at King Soopers and hope for the best.

10:12 p.m. Radio 1190

My hope is false. As night has fallen, I've lost reception on several stations. The absence of Radio 1190, which has been reduced to static, hurts the most.

11:05 p.m. KOOL 105 (105.1 FM)

KOOL generally plays only those rock oldies that everyone over the age of two knows by heart, to make sure nothing startles its increasingly fragile audience. So I'm caught off-guard when, for the first time today (and maybe ever), I hear a song I don't immediately recognize. Turns out to be "Drip Drop," by Dion and the Belmonts, a song that didn't even make the Top 40. Stay up late enough and anything can happen.

11:41 p.m. KNRC

Sean Hannity was on KNUS, at 710 AM, in the afternoon, when normal people could hear him. On the other hand, Hannity's lame-o liberal partner, Alan Colmes, is consigned to the wee hours, just after another syndicated liberal, the uni-monikered Lionel, whom KNRC continues to run in an attempt to hang onto its increasingly dubious "both sides" slogan. Other syndicators who come out at night and early in the morning are on the right side of the fence: Michael Medved, Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Michael Savage and Mike Gallagher on KNUS, Lars Larson and a sprinkling of the aforementioned hosts on KBJD-AM/1650 (also known as KNUS 2), and Michael Reagan on, yes, KNRC. John Kerry wouldn't like what they've got to say.

12:27 a.m. KYGO

Throughout the day and into the night, KYGO has interspersed the occasional up-tempo party tune, like Blue Country's "Good Little Girls" (who apparently make "some mighty wild women"), with sap like "My Last Name," in which Dierks Bentley warbles, "Darling, if you're wonderin' why I've got you here tonight/I want to be your husband/I want you to be my wife." Nausea rising. Might be the caffeine pill, might be something else.

2:44 a.m. KOA

How many live humans are on the air in Denver during the middle of the night? Hard to say. News, sports and Christian stations generally switch over to syndication services after midnight, and other specialty programs begin popping up, like Loveline, with Dr. Drew Pinsky and Adam Carolla, on KBPI, and Ask the Dream Doctor, featuring dream interpreter Charles McPhee, on the Mix. FM music stations keep playing songs over this span, and sometimes voices sound between them, but most, if not all, are pre-recorded. That leaves Rick Barber, the last live local talk-show host in Denver, who's still hanging on at KOA. Call him Ol' Lonesome.

3:43 a.m. The Mountain

I've hated the purring male voice who says "99.5, the Mountain" between songs on the Mountain since the first moment I heard it. For a station that makes such a point of humanizing radio, using links that recall HAL 9000 is a terrible idea. But only now, after more than eighteen hours of listening, do I realize how evil his tone is. Get me to a Christian station...fast!

4:09 a.m. KLTT

"We are like Adam and Eve hiding in the garden.... We fear that He will judge us and kill us." At this point, everything sounds evil.

5:07 a.m. KISS

That includes Jamie and Danny, back to haunt me for another day. They steer clear of profanities, but when Jamie starts talking about the "fat pockets" on her legs, and how she likes to rub them because they give her comfort -- well, I think even Michael Powell would prefer a nice F-bomb.

5:18 a.m. KOSI

That kind of talk would undoubtedly freak out Murphy Huston and Jo Myers, the most inoffensive, rigorously pleasant morning team in town. Today they dish about a thousand-dollar omelet at a Manhattan hotel and play a clip from LIVE With Regis and Kelly. Crazy!

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