Mountain West Conference Lineup

This debut channel is learning the rules of the game.

Nevertheless, the challenges inherent in filling all that airtime are tremendous. At first the channel was so short of homegrown product that self-generated stuff had to be supplemented with hunting and fishing shows and other random syndicated fare — the sort of thing that's still being done routinely at Altitude, the Stan Kroenke-owned outlet devoted to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. Things began to improve thanks to the Mtn.'s commitment to the most popular sports. During the 2006-2007 season, Carver says, the channel broadcast 75 men's basketball games, 23 women's basketball games and 45 football games, with thirty going out live and the remainder appearing on tape delay, and she expects to cover at least that many beginning this fall.

In addition, Carver continues, the Mtn. offers looks at "softball, volleyball, soccer and what we call the Olympic sports" — track meets and the like. To further supplement the schedule, each of the nine Mountain West colleges has been provided with a "campus cam" that students or others on site can use to capture post-game comments, record coach-hosted shows and more. Likewise, schools are encouraged to submit other internally produced, campus-oriented programming that will probably hit screens in the summertime, when precious few contests take place. Carver says each school will be the focus of a solid week's worth of programming during the off months.

No doubt school officials and instructors love the DIY idea, for both promotional and educational reasons. But with most folks apt to be mainly interested in football and basketball contests, who, if anyone, is watching the less-mass-appeal stuff? Parents, students and alums, Carver says — yet without ratings to confirm her suspicions, she's relying on word of mouth. By that measure, she feels the Mtn. is further along than she thought it would be at this point, albeit still a work in progress.

Kim Carver is lining up the Mountain West Conference.
Mark Manger
Kim Carver is lining up the Mountain West Conference.

As she puts it, "You're not going to be where you want to be on day one."

Even if that's a prime address on Programming Place.

The future of Style: Supervisors at the Denver Post don't yet know which workers will be taking buyout offers, or whether layoffs will be necessary to reach their goal of slicing the employee roster by 37. But conversations are already under way about trimming parts of the paper seen as comparatively nonessential, and managing editor Gary Clark confirms that Colorado Sunday and Style, two feature-oriented elements of the Sunday edition, are among those under discussion. "We are talking internally about a lot of things," he notes via e-mail, adding, "I honestly don't know what the final decisions will be."

If the sections survive, it'll be a surprise. The Post and the Rocky Mountain News appear to be following the example of schools that cut art and music classes at the first sign of a budget shortfall. Talk about a change in culture.

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