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Magnificent Obsessives

Three DJs take the road less traveled.

Such devotion is typical of Rummel and his fellow outsiders, and thank goodness. They give fed-up radio listeners a reason to dial another day.

Themes like old times: Earlier in the editorship of Denver Post overseer Greg Moore, the paper's Sunday "Style" section was revamped to accommodate a single theme per week -- but when behind-the-scenes personnel found that they couldn't sustain the approach, the concept was dumped mere months later in favor of a more standard potpourri blend. Of late, however, the Post has embarked on an even bolder mission, thematically linking each day's features section. In addition to the Friday staples "7 Days" and "Screen" and the long-running Sunday offerings "A&E" and "Style," Mondays spotlight "Fitness," Tuesdays tout DVDs, CDs and the like under the heading "Play," Wednesdays continue to focus on "Food," and Thursdays bubble about home decorating as part of "Room."

The strategy carries some risks. Readers whose hobbies or habits correspond to the Post's themes will find much to like in these reconfigured sections, whereas people who don't care about, say, exercise tips or that perfect window treatment may find little or nothing of interest in their pages. Moreover, the design means that anything that doesn't fit within that day's subject area but remains deserving of ink -- such as previews for timely events -- is given short shrift at the rear of the section. This requirement has also affected columnist Bill Husted, whose regular people-and-places column has gotten progressively worse placement over the course of Moore's reign.

E-mails to Ray Mark Rinaldi, the Post's assistant managing editor for A&E and features, went unreturned, but Moore says editors wanted to fill what were seen as coverage gaps. "We didn't have a home section, and we wanted one -- that's what ŒRoom' is -- and ŒFitness' is self-evident. This is a place that really prizes a healthy lifestyle, and it made sense to go directly at that interest," he allows. "And ŒPlay' lets us be a little more consumer-oriented. We're constantly reinventing ourselves." He isn't worried that the specialization increase could alienate some subscribers. "It's possible that we may develop people who may only be interested in things on particular days," he acknowledges, "but there are other things, like puzzles and advice columns, that others may like."

Even so, Moore is wary of pledging to stick with the themes over the long run. "Our commitment is for as long as we think it works," he says.

Otherwise, the notion will go out of style -- just like it went out of "Style."

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