Marty Lenz, a Denver native and former Colorado State University footballer who worked at several metro-area stations before becoming a prominent media personality in San Francisco, has been named the new host of KOA's signature program, Colorado Morning News. He'll succeed Steffan Tubbs, who was fired by KOA following his arrest last July on suspicion of domestic violence by telephone. That charge was subsequently dismissed, and Tubbs says the station hinted that he might be able to return before shutting the door on that possibility a few weeks back.
"We searched high and low" for a new Colorado Morning News host, says Tim Hager, market manager for iHeartMedia's Denver stations, including KOA, where Lenz is scheduled to make his debut on January 8, 2018. "We looked across the entire country and looked locally as well. But at the end of the day, Marty brought so much — being a local guy, understanding what KOA means to the community as a heritage, monster brand, and having the news chops that he has. Bringing him home made a lot of sense."
Hager points out that Lenz is "a Columbine High School graduate who played wide receiver for CSU" — and he previously worked in Denver radio, as documented by Westword. In March 1996, we noted that Lenz was among the first hires by 99.5/The Hawk, and a September 1999 column noted his work as afternoon-drive jock at smooth-jazz signal KHIH and a similar gig programming for Lycos Radio.
Lenz eventually relocated to San Francisco and gained greater acclaim for his work at KCBS, where he spent seven years as a news anchor. He also did some TV work in the Bay Area, offering up news and sports coverage for a number of outlets there.
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When asked how Colorado Morning News may change with Lenz's arrival alongside longtime co-host April Zesbaugh, Hager says. "As he comes in, you shouldn't feel major differences. But as time goes on, we want to continue to evolve KOA. We want to be an inch wide and a mile deep on everything we do, and we want to crack the mic by truly bringing perspective and storytelling to the listener. I think that's what you'll be seeing from KOA more and more."
The subject of Tubbs's dismissal and the decision not to give him back the job he'd held for more than a decade remains off limits for Hager, who says he can't discuss personnel matters. But he's hopeful that Tubbs's fans will give Lenz a fair shake.
"KOA is about the community and the news, and that's not going to change," he stresses. "Marty is a Denver guy. He has family here — his mother still lives here — and his dream was to someday work at KOA."
He adds, "We picked the best broadcaster to put in the position. And that was Marty Lenz."