Last month, KHOW yakkerPeter Boyles was fired
following an incident involving his producer; after a false start, he subsequently took over the
Now, KHOW is moving on with Mandy Connell, who's currently a radio host in Louisville. A short time ago, she was officially introduced as Boyles's successor on the station. Continue for what she said and more about her blend of upbeat chatter and (you guessed it) conservative politics.
Connell's hiring doesn't come as a surprise. Within days after Boyles was sacked, a radio insider told us she was the likely choice. The delay in the announcement is likely due to her commitments in Louisville, where she will continue to appear for a few more weeks.
Why was Connell chosen? For one thing, she's been seen as a rising star at Clear Channel, KHOW's owner, and her tone and style is very different from Boyles's. This suggests KHOW is devoted to creating a new morning audience around Connell, rather than fighting to hang on to Boyles fans who have likely followed him to KNUS.
During this morning's introduction of Connell, who spoke on the phone from Louisville, Ross Kaminsky, a KOA host who's been doing KHOW fill-ins for much of the time since Boyles's ouster, she stressed her excitement about coming to Denver and noted that it was the fulfillment of a long-term goal.
"My husband actually retired out of Fort Carson in 1996," she noted, "and when I met him seven years ago, one of the first things he said to me was, 'I'm here in Florida now, but eventually, I'm going to move back to Colorado.' And we decided to honeymoon in Colorado, and we vacation in Colorado.... I'm so glad to make my husband's dream come true."
One of the area's biggest attributes from her perspective? "I love the low humidity, because my hair looks awesome."
More seriously, Connell said, "People in Denver seem to be there because they want to be there. It's not like that everywhere."
As for her history, she described herself as "a latecomer to the radio game." She was working as a flight attendant for Delta when a radio professional on one flight "thought I was funny and told me I should go to broadcasting school." She did, and after getting trained, "I went to work at an Orlando station where they do 'hot talk'...a lot of jokes about genitalia and passing gas. We had Howard Stern in the morning and it went downhill from there."
From there, she continued, "I did sports radio for a couple of years, which was a lot of fun, and then went back to doing news. Then I managed to get my own show in Fort Myers, Florida. I was there for five years, and then I was lucky enough to get hired in Louisville," at WHAS. "I'm not a newbie; I've been doing this for about sixteen years. But it feels like it came out of nowhere. And it's what I love to do."
At the outset of the conversation, Kaminsky said he was going to avoid talking about issues, albeit in the context of a shot at "Colorado's governor and the Democrat legislature," who he accused of trying to make life in the state worse than it should be. But a few moments of topicality slipped in.
Continue for more about new KHOW morning host Mandy Connell. When Kaminsky mentioned that Connell had subbed on his Sunday KOA show earlier this year, Connell said, "I think that's the day I flamed everyone in Boulder by making fun of the elk vigil" -- a reference to the January shooting of a neighborhood elk in which two Boulder law enforcers have been charged with a crime.
She added, "I don't shy away from making people angry right out of the chute."
Of course, espousing right-wing ideas on talk radio isn't exactly a radical act likely to enrage the listenership -- and some of her politics match up with Boyles's. The 2008 NaplesNews.com article "Conservative Mandy Connell talks her way to the top of local radio" reports that after a 2006 march in Fort Myers during which 80,000 people protested "proposed legislation that would make being an illegal immigrant a felony," Connell organized a response rally "to represent working Americans who supported efforts to curtail immigration. Those who couldn't attend could donate $5 for a plastic chair in their place. A sign reading 'I'm legal, I'm working and I vote' was placed on each chair."
The turnout? "More than 300 people showed up for the event and about 1,100 more bought chairs."
Her Facebook page also sports plenty of GOP-friendly memes, including this one....
...and this one: But don't expect a constant diet of politics. She also offers light-hearted material touching on pop culture, with the 2011 video below giving an example of her often ebullient on-air manner.
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Will this approach connect to listeners in Denver? Well, Clear Channel was smart not to go with a clone of Boyles -- not that such a figure would be easy to find. But she's an outsider, despite her mention of Colorado vacation time, and if she doesn't dive in and quickly get to know the city inside and out, she could well be treated as one.