Beyond Bias

The co-creator of an ill-fated youth project for the Denver dailies explains what went wrong and why the concept still works.

What's the connection to Bias? FEED Tribers can pick businesses from which they'd like to receive discount coupons, special deals and so on; these items will then be texted to them. The site will also have a community aspect, with blogging opportunities, sponsored events and donations to charities chosen by members. (Right now, a portion of FEED Tribes' proceeds is earmarked for Boulder's Fairview High School.) There may be a print publication, too, albeit with even fewer profanities than appeared in Bias's mag.

On January 1, two new websites, www.denverfeed.com and www.boulderfeed.com, will launch, with www.chicagofeed.com to follow. Plans are looser after that, but if businesses in these cities begin accepting FEED Tribes payments in the volume Albee anticipates, expansion to more markets could move quickly. For Elkins, such success would be sweet redemption for Bias. "I spent eighteen months working my ass off for that baby," he says.

Don't blame him for liking his new baby better. After all, he's biased.

Metzger Associates' Eric Elkins and Doyle Albee phone it in.
Mark Manger
Metzger Associates' Eric Elkins and Doyle Albee phone it in.

Domino principle: In recent years, Denver's best local sports-radio show was KLZ/560-AM's The Press Room, starring Tim Neverett and Post columnist Jim Armstrong. Yet neither this pairing nor the station as a whole dented the ratings, even though they were affiliated with sports broadcasting juggernaut ESPN.

The likely culprit for this disappointing performance is Crawford Broadcasting, the station's owner, which had zero experience with such an outlet (most of its properties fall into the Christian category), and seemed to think the ESPN logo would sell itself. "It could have been promoted more," Armstrong acknowledges. "You didn't see us out and about in the community."

"Whatever it is that Jim and I accomplished with the show, a lot of it was done by word of mouth," Neverett adds. But it wasn't enough. While ESPN once urged its affiliates to feature local programs in morning and afternoon drive, he notes, in late October the network announced that it would be shifting its fare to the Denver station at 1600 AM. ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn says a big reason for the switch was the new signal's willingness not to spotlight anything local: "We're always looking to get as much of our programming on as we can."

This move won't take place until January 1, but it's already triggered several others. Crawford will continue presenting sports on KLZ with a different syndicator, Sporting News Radio. Local shows will remain part of the mix; new afternoon host Dave Benz is sticking around. Although Neverett has yet to firm up a new radio gig, Armstrong is slated to join Irv Brown and Joe Williams on the afternoon show at AM-950 The Fan. And the classic-country approach that's been heard for years at 1600 AM is moving to 1510 AM, which had previously broadcast syndicated rock oldies. Tim Brown, whose NRC Broadcasting owns 1510, says he worked out an arrangement with Lincoln Financial Media Company, which holds 1600's deed, to take over the format plus the old station's call letters, KCKK, and slogan, which is being altered from 16Kicks to 15Kicks.

The survival of KCKK is good for Denver radio. But the addition of a canned sports station won't make up for the loss of the Neverett-Armstrong team, whose quality can't be judged by its final record. The co-creator of an ill-fated youth project for the Denver dailies explains what went wrong and why the concept still works.

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