More Messages: Right Might

For at least a decade, talk radio in Denver -- and pretty much everywhere else -- has been conservative through and through. That equation changed slightly a little less than two years ago, when Clear Channel, a broadcasting conglomerate whose founder, L. Lowry Mays, is a longtime friend of a certain Bush family, launched a left-leaning station into the market: KKZN, dubbed "Boulder's Progressive Talk." Since then, the local press has given plenty of ink to the station; here's an example from Westword's pages. But the most recent ratings report available from the Radio and Records service demonstrates how far the station still must go in order to become a major player in these parts. KKZN is at the tail end of the top twenty outlets in Denver, a tenth of a point ahead of KNUS, whose schedule is dominated by hard-right syndicated yakkers such as Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.

How do the folks at KNUS feel about their performance? Hard to say. Brian Taylor is the new vice president and general manager at Salem Media of Colorado, which owns KNUS and three other Christian-oriented signals in the area; here's the April press release ballyhooing his appointment. Yet he didn't return calls on this topic, thereby losing an opportunity to boast that his little station is running neck-and-neck with Clear Channel's liberal experiment. On the other hand, KKZN continues to exist, and given conservatism's hold on talk radio, that's progress. -- 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