Dave Krieger is one of the truly outstanding newspaper sports columnists at work today -- not only in Denver, but the country as a whole. Yet as of next week, he'll be giving up his role at the Denver Post in favor of a full-time co-hosting position at KOA radio.
Why? Krieger reveals that he'd hoped to find a way to balance the jobs, but the Post wouldn't go for it.
"I've been doing both for a while," says Krieger, who's co-hosted the afternoon-drive staple now known as The Dave Logan Show since the June departure of Lois Melkonian, Logan's former sidekick; she's now doing radio in Houston. "I had been subbing with Lois for Dave throughout the football season in 2010" -- Logan, who also coaches Mullen High School football, has practices in the afternoon -- "and that was sort of what I was anticipating doing again. The Post didn't seem to have a problem with that, since they have a lot of people with other gigs," including longtimer Woody Paige, a regular on ESPN's Around the Horn.
Now, "it's a different situation," Krieger continues. "There's another spot next to Dave, and when Dave is gone, there are two. I was doing the show and doing the column as well, because it was a fill-in gig, and KOA didn't have a problem with me doing both -- and I didn't hear anything from the Post one way or the other. But when Dave's football season ended, KOA had to make a decision about who was going to work with him going forward and asked if I'd like to. And I said, 'Yeah.'"
At that point, KOA wanted to make an announcement about its new hire. "So," Krieger notes, "I asked them to approach the Post to see if they could work out some kind of cooperative cross-platform arrangement that would be good for everybody. And the Post said they weren't interested in that. They made it clear that I either needed to be their full-time columnist or choose."
This stance prompted plenty of reflection, Krieger confirms. His conclusion? "I'm not sure at this point in my career how many more opportunities I'll get to do something new and different, and this is all of those things. So I decided to go with new and different."
The Post scooped KOA on the news, running a recent piece revealing that Krieger's last column will appear on January 19, but leaving out any reference to the machinations that prompted him to take the plunge. Via e-mail, Post editor Greg Moore declines to discuss the details, but writes, "I am grateful for his contributions" -- especially "Spygate II," in which Krieger helped bust the Josh McDaniels-era Broncos for taking surreptitious video of a San Francisco 49ers walk-through -- "and look forward to listening to him when I am out and about during the day." In the meantime, Greg Foster, head of AM programming for Clear Channel Denver, KOA's owner, confirms Krieger's new status and expresses enthusiasm about his decision.
Post readers are likely to be less exuberant. After all, Krieger, who spent more than a quarter-century at the Rocky Mountain News before joining the Post staff in 2009 as one of the all-stars brought over after the Rocky closed, is not just a keen observer of football, basketball and more; he's also adept at looking beyond the world of sports. For prime examples, check out "Crusade," a 2007 Message column about Krieger's insightful and passionate columns about gang life and urban violence in the wake of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams's murder.
Fortunately, Krieger won't be limiting himself to verbal communication. "I've been a writer my whole adult life, and I will continue to write in some form or another," he notes. "I know KOA is interested in developing online content, so I may put together some kind of sports blog on the KOA website. And once I'm gone from the Post, I'll be free to accept freelance assignments. I don't know if there will be any of those or not, but one way or another, I'm sure I'll keep writing."
He makes it clear he didn't choose KOA over the Post because of concern about the future of newspapering. "At my age, long-term does not exist," he says. "And what happens down the road to print journalism or terrestrial radio, for that matter, are long-term trends. I know old media is less well off than it used to be -- more endangered. But if I work for another ten or fifteen years, that'll be great. So for me, it was about what I wanted to do after getting up tomorrow. And I derive a lot of satisfaction from radio. I had a radio show in college, which is going a long way back, and I like the performance aspect of it. And Logan's been a friend of mine for 25 years. I really enjoy working with him. So this feels right."
When asked to look back on his memories of the Rocky and the Post, he concedes that "they're pretty different, because there was a very different corporate culture. I grew up at the Rocky; I spent 27 years there. And the Post was a more complicated deal for me.
"To be perfectly honest about it, I was hired by the Post principally to help keep Rocky subscribers from dropping. That's probably true about most of the Rocky people, but I was the only one originally hired in sports, and I think it's fair to say that within the sports department, they didn't really feel they needed me. The normal complement of sports columnists at a metro daily is two, and they had two. I became kind of a third wheel, and I'm not sure I adapted all that well to it. It was different from being part of the foundation at the Rocky."
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From this reader's perspective, he was foundational at the Post, too. He definitely made a place for himself there, and he'll be missed. Fortunately, fans know where they can find him from here on out: at 850 on the AM dial.
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