Update below: Since last May, when a dust-up between morning-show host Peter Boyles and his producer resulted in Boyles being fired, KHOW, at 630 AM, has been in flux, and the situation hasn't stabilized yet. Ratings are moribund, and Boyles is consistently attracting more listeners at his new station, KNUS, than is his KHOW successor, Mandy Connell.
The latest development? Program director Dan Mandis has left the station, prompting one wag to suggest, "It's the rats leaving a sinking ship."
KHOW is still in a powerful position as a legacy station and a part of the powerful Clear Channel cluster in Denver. But while the outlet has generally been among the city's ten-most-popular signals, industry monitor Radio Online currently lists it in 22nd place (out of 35 total) among listeners age twelve and over during the most recent ratings period, January 2014.
Most stations don't use twelve-plus numbers to pitch advertisers; they prefer drilling down to specific target demographics, and those figures aren't publicly available. However, the digits offer a general overview of a broadcaster's performance.
Against this backdrop, Greg Foster, vice president of programming for Clear Channel Denver, recently sent out a memo announcing that Mandis, who programmed both KHOW and AM 760/KKZN and helmed a show on sister station KOA Saturdays from 6-9 a.m., is "leaving Clear Channel for a fulltime talk show host opportunity with another company. The station and market haven't been announced. I'm sure an announcement will be coming soon, but I can tell you that it's a well-respected talk station in a good market, and they've recognized Dan's talents as a host."
The tone of this note, which includes best wishes to the outgoing PD's family as they embark on "their new adventure," is contradicted by rumors that Mandis was immediately escorted from the Clear Channel offices once it was discovered he'd been hired elsewhere. But Foster, corresponding via e-mail, says these whispers are completely false. "That absolutely did not happen," he stresses. "Dan and I went out for coffee."
As for the timing of Mandis's departure, Foster writes that "Dan was at the end of his contract with us and has accepted a position with another company in another market. Dan is a talented host and we wish him the best in his new endeavor."
Moving forward, Foster reveals that Ross Kaminsky will take over Mandis's old KOA time slot and "we'll be a making decision soon about who will be the Program Director of 630 KHOW and 760 KKZN."
Whoever gets the gig will be facing a considerable challenge.
Update, 9:44 a.m. March 7: Moments ago, we received a response to this post from Dan Mandis. He confirms via e-mail that he was not escorted from the Clear Channel building, says the company wanted him to stay, and adds a defense of the station's ratings and revenue situation. Here's his note:
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I was at the end of my contract, as Greg said, and Clear Channel wanted me to stay. I have an amazing opportunity elsewhere and had to make the right choice for myself and my family. As far as being escorted from the building, I did indeed leave with Greg to have coffee. No big deal. Clear Channel Denver has been NOTHING but supportive in my decision. I have nothing but good things to say about CC/Denver. Additionally, Mandy has been growing her audience quite a bit over the last several months, and revenue is very, very good. Finally, I will be awarded some CBA awards (along with many other CC broadcasters) this weekend, so I am leaving with nothing but positive feelings about my time at CC/Denver.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Media archive circa June 2013: "Peter Boyles on his firing and return Monday on 710 KNUS."