Media

Clear Channel stations at the DNC: What'd he say?

"Speak up! I can't hear you!"

During coverage of the DNC on The Ride Home, KOA's afternoon-drive show, host Lois Melkonian said that because of coaching responsibilities at Mullen High School, her usual partner, Dave Logan, wouldn't be sitting at her side in the outlet's Pepsi Center space. Instead, she continued, the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara had been assigned to share the microphone with her through the convention's end. That means on the company's two biggest Denver talkers, strong conservative partisans will be anchoring p.m. coverage: Caldara on the Blowtorch and Dan Caplis on KHOW. Of course, Clear Channel does have a liberal signal -- the modestly rated AM 760, which may have survived up until now because of the DNC. Besides, Caplis is allegedly balanced by the more liberal Craig Silverman. Too bad Silverman does such an excellent Alan Colmes impression.

Still, what most annoyed me about Monday's KOA and KHOW broadcast wasn't slanted reportage. It was the poor audio at both outlets.

The chaotic background noise heard behind the station personnel, which was much worse than any I heard on other radio or television outlets, made listening to the programs on the average car stereo -- aka, mine -- headache-inducing in the extreme. And for some reason, the sound quality went down precipitously for guests. On KOA, George Stephanopoulos seemed to be speaking from the middle of a rugby scrum. And the racket around the same time on KHOW was so bad that I have no idea who Caplis was trying to goad into saying that Barack Obama is weaker than Steve Urkel with anemia.

Come on, engineers: Pick up your game. Otherwise, how am I going to tell how objective Clear Channel's programming is? -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts