Colfax on Leaving KBPI but Not Giving Up on Denver Radio

Colfax having a well-deserved drink after losing his gig at KBPI.
Colfax having a well-deserved drink after losing his gig at KBPI. Facebook
There's no more quintessential a Denver radio personality than Colfax.

The DJ, a Denver native who named himself after one of the Mile High City's most iconic streets, has been a familiar presence on the local airwaves for the better part of two decades, thanks to his role as a regular on 103.5/The Fox's Lewis & Floorwax show, among other gigs. So it's understandable that fans responded with shock when Colfax revealed that he'd been let go by KBPI, at 107.9 FM, where he'd been manning the afternoon-drive slot.

"The social-media response actually helped a lot," Colfax concedes a few weeks after his last KBPI show, on October 22. "Back in the day, when a radio personality moved, they just disappeared. You wondered, 'What happened to that guy?' But with Facebook and Twitter, it was overwhelming the amount of support I got from industry folks and the listeners themselves."

According to Colfax, he got his start in Denver radio "in the late ’90s, as an intern for a little AM station downtown called Ralph," previously heard at 1280 AM. "I kind of bounced around after that, and I spent a little time on The Fan when it was owned by Jefferson Pilot. And then, about ten years ago or so, I ended up at the Fox. I started doing overnights and weekends before linking up with the mighty Lewis & Floorwax show. I did mid-days after that before I found myself looping over to KBPI."

Colfax isn't sure why KBPI, which, like the Fox, is an iHeart Media station, bid him farewell, and outlets routinely decline to answer questions related to what are termed personnel matters. But he believes the decision was related to KBPI's switch from 106.7 FM, the station's longtime dial position, to 107.9 FM in order to simulcast the programming at the same frequency in both Colorado Springs and Fort Collins (and accommodate the launch of 106.7/The Bull, a country signal).

"I've heard they want representation of the Fort Collins and Colorado Springs stations in those markets," he says. "Which is tough for me, because I'm a huge proponent of local radio. If they want to put somebody on for the Springs, I understand that."

This comment matches the tone of a video Colfax posted on Facebook about his departure. Here it is.

For Colfax, getting a chance to work for KBPI was "a big deal. I grew up listening to KBPI. It's an iconic Denver station. And getting a chance to work with Willie. B. [who celebrated his 25th anniversary with the broadcaster earlier this year] and everybody at iHeart has been great. I was fortunate to be with them for the time that I was."

He adds, "I've been working on my résumé, and it's weird to list all the things that I've done in bullet-point form. I mean, I got a chance to work on a morning show with Rick [Lewis], Michael [Floorwax] and Kathy Lee. That whole ride was something else. And then to be part of the BPI family and get to meet listeners who are so invested in the station. Anytime we did anything, they were there. After the hurricane in Houston, we had people drop off food at the station, and they were great. That really shows both the power of the station and the power of the people who work there — including me, I guess, up until last month."

When he's asked if he's looking for a spot outside Denver, he jokes, "If I moved markets, I'd have to switch my name, and that would be a real pain." More seriously, he says, "I'm rooted. I have a family — two kids, who are five and nine, and a super-smart wife who's tolerant about what I do. So I haven't quite gotten to the next step yet. I'd like to stay in Denver, but in whatever capacity it is, we'll have to see."

He stresses that "I feel good. This is just one of those things. But it's a double-edged sword. On the good side, you've got great content and what you're doing is cool and super-fun. But then, when the bottom falls out, you have to do the best you can and move forward."

If you'd like to get into contact with Colfax, he encourages fans and potential employers alike to do so via his Facebook page or Twitter account, both of which are tagged "Hey Colfax."
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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