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Off Mike

Gadfly Mike Zinna disappears from the dial.

To put it mildly, this explanation leaves a tremendous number of questions unanswered. For example, did Martino ask Westwood One to let him out of his syndication contract, or was the shift initiated by Westwood One? (Peter Sessa, Westwood One's spokesman, will say only that his company "is no longer distributing Tom Martino, effective immediately.") There's also the issue of referral lists for businesses in Arizona, Oregon, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. If Martino will no longer be heard in most of these areas, his endorsement will presumably lose much, if not all, of its impact. So will he close down lists where he no longer broadcasts? And since Martino requires entrepreneurs to pay for the privilege of receiving his thumbs-up, will they be offered complete or partial refunds? Will the changes mean layoffs among Troubleshooter. com staffers, who are asked to look into the background of anyone who wants to be on the list? If so, does that mean Colorado businesses may not be checked as thoroughly as they once were, thereby allowing more operations like Day & Night Mechanical to slip through the system? On top of that, what's going to happen with Troubleshooter.com magazine, a new direct-mail quarterly that Martino hoped to transform into a "Yellow Pages-type directoryŠbut published more frequently"?

Unfortunately, Martino won't go there. "These are private matters," he maintains in a second e-mail. "I simply want to make a wonderful life for myself and my children. I am sure you find this hard to believe and probably feel there is some evil lurking deep down under the surface. I truly wish you knew me better."

Area listeners may get the chance, since presumably Martino will be able to re-focus on local concerns instead of devoting much of his show to shooting troubles rooted far, far away. As for other details, well, those are private matters.

Leaving too soon: Veteran Rocky Mountain News reporter John Accola, a first-rate journalist who contributed to the paper's recent, and excellent, series "A Border Within," died on June 25. He'll be missed by readers and colleagues alike.

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