Jay Mack is no spring chicken. He's been in the radio biz for decades and made news last year after having an on-air respiratory attack; a concerned listener who called 911 on his behalf may very well have saved his life. But the years have made him terrifically knowledgeable about rock and roll, and on Doo-Wop Sunday Morning, he puts his smarts to use, breaking free of the tight KOOL 105 playlist to spotlight forgotten obscurities from the music's golden era. Fans have responded so favorably that Mack's time has been expanded: He can also be heard Sunday nights and weekdays from noon until 1 p.m. Rock on.

For three years running, KUVO's Destination Freedom has been broadcasting its own brilliant re-creations of historical black radio dramas every third Tuesday at 9 p.m. The scripts were written in the late 1940s by Richard Durham, who wrote 104 plays about significant African-Americans. His subjects included everyone from artists like W.C. Handy and Marian Anderson to historical figures such as Ida B. Wells and Harriet Tubman. So far, the station has aired 28 shows, with some sixty actors participating. In addition, the half-hour time frame has expanded to an hour in order to include commentary and musical guests. Don't touch that dial.
KBCO is easy to take for granted. But despite being part of the enormous Clear Channel conglomerate, which critics charge with contributing to the homogenization of radio everywhere, the station is still in touch with the singularly Bouldery vibe that it's emitted from the beginning. And for that, locals should be extremely grateful.
In a day and age when too many public-radio stations are generic and canned, Boulder's modest-sized KGNU remains intensely local, proudly idealistic and wonderfully idiosyncratic. Sometimes smaller is better.
The morning personality on the CU-Boulder station, Alisha is perky without being cloying, and she goes out of her way to give listeners new information about the tunes she spins. Special features include regular interviews with the station's music director, Denise von Minden, that highlight the latest additions to the outlet's playlist, and "Artist of the Week" segments assembled in part by listeners. Through these efforts, Alisha keeps the focus right where it belongs, which is on Radio 1190's great music.
Let's be Frank: She got da stank! You can take it to the bank.
When Newsweek correspondent Daniel Glick set out to chronicle the October 1998 fires that did $12 million in damage to Vail, he wound up writing what could be Colorado's ultimate whodunit -- albeit one still without a conclusion (the list of suspects is long, however). But in shining a light on the alleged acts of eco-terrorism, Glick illuminates a much bigger puzzle: How a sleepy nook in the Eagle Valley turned into the world's biggest ski area, a company town that answers to Wall Street rather than the romantic muse of the ski bum. Powder Burn adds up to a stunning indictment of how Colorado sold itself down the Eagle River. And where there's smoke, there's ire.
From navy blazers to red vests to bold Hawaiian luau-wear, Denver's frat-rock revivalists, the Orangu-Tones, are always in complete harmony -- from a fashion standpoint, that is. "Authentic" is the key adjective here: These guys wouldn't look out of place at a 1962 sock hop. The Tones' reliable uniformity is particularly refreshing in a time when many outfits seem to have forgotten that clothes sometimes make the band.
Grizzly Rose
Eric Gruneisen
Denver's long-lived country establishment has had its share of troubles over the past year. But despite a little scandal, some ownership troubles and battles with state liquor law-enforcement agencies, there's a bloom on the Rose again. Thanks to new management -- the place is now helmed by longtime Grizzly Rose dance instructors Kathy and Bill Ripolla -- this expansive roadhouse has returned to hosting national and regional country bands and serving longnecks to thirsty cowboys and girls. Area country fans, thrilled with the recovery, are boot-scootin' back to the Rose.
Mercury Cafe
From swing to salsa, dance crazes come and go with an almost Swiss precision. (We're still awaiting the return of the Freddy.) At the advance of each new wave, the Mercury Cafe is ready, opening its funky doors to dancers of all persuasions. While swing and lindy hop are still going strong, tango currently reigns supreme in Marilyn Megenity's luscious eatery/bar/cabaret on California Street, with weekly milongas, classes for dancers of all levels (from beginners to very advanced) and the occasional opportunity to learn from a visiting Argentine master. The Merc still shines brightly in the firmament of local nightlife.

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