Our post yesterday about The Fan's Darren "D-Mac" McKee calling out Fox31 anchor Jeremy Hubbard amid a hilarious rant about a contest to choose new voices for Denver International Airport train announcements helped launch a highly entertaining Twitter war.
Amid the mayhem, Hubbard called D-Mac a "nimrod" and said the radio host was so unmemorable that he couldn't recall meeting him, while D-Mac ripped into DIA for botching the competition concept even though it's generating more attention than the airport's PR staff could ever have imagined.
As we noted in our previous item, "Train Call," as the announcements were originally dubbed, dates back to DIA's opening 23 years ago. In the beginning, the audio was part of a public-art piece designed by Jim Green, and the original voices were Reynelda Muse, the first African-American TV news anchor in Denver, and twangy radio announcer Pete Smythe.
Following Muse's relocation to Indiana and Smythe's death, the pronouncements were re-recorded by 9News anchor Adele Arakawa and sports announcer Alan Roach. But after Arakawa retired from 9News last year and moved to Arizona, the folks at DIA figured it was the perfect opportunity to recruit fresh voice talent. Problem was, Roach, who was bounced from his regular gig at KOA radio in 2015 and ended his Mile High Stadium announcing gig for the Denver Broncos the following year in order to take the same gig with the Vikings in his home state of Minnesota, still lives in Colorado and made it clear that he wants to remain one of the DIA trains' voices.
For this reason, Roach must now win a vote of the people in order to keep a gig he already has — and he's got to do so by besting a murderer's row of prominent local broadcasters, including Altitude TV's Vic Lombardi, Denver7's Mike Nelson, 9News's Gary Shapiro and Hubbard.
Cut to the evening of February 12, when D-Mac delivered a jeremiad about the contest. During it, he had nothing but praise for Roach's bottomless tones — though he added that just because someone is blessed with a great voice doesn't mean he or she has anything interesting to say about sports or politics. He also praised Nelson as an icon and predicted he'll win, even though he's personally backing Lombardi, who he believes is every bit as good on radio as he is on TV.
And Hubbard? McKee said he's spoken with Fox31's main man on numerous occasions and finds him to be a very nice person. But when Hubbard talks, McKee thinks the average person won't have the slightest clue who he is — and while D-Mac concedes that his own voice isn't exactly conventional, he insists (accurately) that it's unmistakable. In his opinion, Hubbard's appeal is mostly about his good looks. When a bemused Williams asked if it was possible to be both handsome and have a great voice, McKee answered "No!" before giving Big Al props for his own combination of handsomeness and communication skills.
Shortly after the publication of our account, Hubbard retweeted it — and took a poke at D-Mac in the process:
Haters gonna hate. Let’s show this nimrod! Cast your vote (for me, please) today! (PS - I’ve never met the guy in my life, despite what he says.) https://t.co/eeP6YHeU2x— Jeremy Hubbard (@JeremyHubbard) February 13, 2018
In response, McKee tweeted the following to Hubbard: "Hearing that Hubbard is calling me a Nimrod and denies meeting me. I personally treasure those scant few encounters and am despondent they don’t resonate with JH. I understand the personal attack. The use of the word Nimrod may actually be a compliment."
To that, Hubbard wrote: "When did we meet? I guess it was more memorable for you than me."
This middle-school-style put-down was hardly the final word. Before long, McKee unleashed a tweetstorm on the topic — one that he essentially delivered live during yesterday's program on The Fan.
Here's the full text:
Here’s how the DIA people truly screwed up. Replacing Roach and Adele was actually a good idea. Not because Roach and Adele are bad. Both are clearly Icons in Denver and we all would be fine if nothing changed. BUT changing things up in life is often a good idea....
Asking media people to be the new voice was also a good idea because the airport changes things all the time and anybody who has flown a bit and I have flown more in the past year than ever knows DIA is absolutely one of the best airports....
The problem was the contest itself. At the end of a show like American Idol or the voice the winner is only sort of liked. There are TONS of people who didn’t vote for that person so in the end you alienate a load of folks that love your show. Why do it if you are the airport?...
All they needed to do was open it up for ALL qualified candidates and have them ALL be the voice for a short period of time. Just like they do for the celeb greeting! That way the airport PR people could appear on the media outlets they chose every three months....
EVERY media outlet would love that and have fun with it and in turn the airport would have an endless cycle to promote whatever they have going on for years and years. Kind of like the KFC ads that have a rotating Col Sanders. NOW the airport has basically alienated everybody....
AND they didn’t pick any radio people which is truly shocking (although Vic and Denise are both terrific radio and TV people. Rare combo) because radio people can give the MOST attention to something as silly as being a train voice....
I know we are all having fun with this. I certainly am. But in the long run, this is a tremendous example of a wild missed opportunity by the marketing people of DIA. Had they simply consulted a media person familiar with basic TSL promotion based concepts they would’ve got it....
So you can see Hubbard isn’t the real enemy. Sure it’s easy to pick on somebody who is arrogant enough to think that reading news at 9 p.m. matters, but his genetic good looks aren’t his fault. The mistake was made by the same people that think a demonic horse makes sense....
The exchanges between McKee and Hubbard ended shortly after the latter started posting about a visit to a local hospital to mark National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, with D-Mac conceding, "Well played."
But Hubbard isn't done campaigning for train-voice votes, albeit in good-natured fashion. He subsequently shared a photo of him and fellow contestant Mike Nelson in a mock showdown:
Near fisticuffs today with one of my fellow @DENAirport Voice of the Train opponents, @MikeNelson247. This contest is really getting heated. Vote now! https://t.co/plLErQPs3b pic.twitter.com/9g1jUZGoMW— Jeremy Hubbard (@JeremyHubbard) February 14, 2018
And D-Mac? He created a video in which he auditioned for another gig — recording custom voicemail lead-ins.
Eyeball it below:
Seldom has a Twitter war been more enjoyable.
Click to listen to D-Mac and Big Al talk about the DIA train voice contest on February 12; the conversation begins at the top of the hour.
And here's a link to vote for your favorite DIA train voice hopefuls — McKee excepted. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 25.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.