Peter Boyles Last Show KNUS Update | Westword

Peter Boyles on His Last Morning Show for KNUS

A live audience is part of the production.
Peter Boyles with his daughter Shannon at Winter Park on March 28.
Peter Boyles with his daughter Shannon at Winter Park on March 28. Photo courtesy of Peter Boyles
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On March 21, talk-show host Peter Boyles announced that his long-running KNUS morning program would end after a final show on Friday, April 1. So how was the 79-year-old Boyles preparing for the big production — a five-hour broadcast that will include a live audience — this past Monday? By hitting the slopes.

"I'm talking to you from Winter Park," Boyles said. "I'm skiing with my daughter, and I'm doing fine. I rode my motorcycle yesterday, I go to the gym every day. I'm having a great time, so I don't want anybody feeling bad about this. The world's going to turn again."

Such reassurances are important given that Boyles's health played a significant role in his decision to give up his regular gig after around a half-century on the Denver airwaves. Shortly after 8 a.m. on March 10, he recalled, "I all of a sudden started speaking in tongues, like I was looking to grab a copperhead and dance down the hall. Everyone must have thought I was having a religious experience."

Boyles was rushed to the Medical Center of Aurora, and "I went through a brain scan and they put me through that tube; I went into the tunnel," he said. "I had all of these physical tests, and afterward, the doctor told me there was no evidence I'd had a stroke, but I'd probably had a TIA" — a transient ischemic attack, often referred to as a mini-stroke.
Peter Boyles on the cover of the Denver Post magazine Contemporary in 1984.
Courtesy of Peter Boyles
Despite a positive prognosis, Boyles found himself reflecting on the event. "I'd been thinking about quitting," he noted. "Maybe that was the universe's way of saying, 'That's enough.'"

Upon deciding to retire, Boyles chatted with Brian Taylor, the vice president and general manager of KNUS, who knows full well what a big impact Boyles had on the station after he joined the lineup in 2013 following his ouster from another local signal, KHOW. (Management fired him after he got into an argument with producer Greg Hollenback that turned physical; Boyles admitted to having grabbed Hollenback by a lanyard around his neck.) "He was a game-changer for us," Taylor says. "When he came, we went to another level, because he had an established audience he brought with him."

Taylor understands why Boyles wants to step away from his on-the-job routine: "He can adjust his lifestyle a little bit. He won't have to get up at four o'clock in the morning anymore." But he didn't want Boyles to sever ties with KNUS entirely. Although the details of Boyles's future role with the station are still evolving, they'll likely include him voicing commercials, delivering occasional commentaries and perhaps assembling a few podcasts accessible on the KNUS YouTube channel. Still, Boyles stressed, "I don't want to do fill-in work or work on the weekends."
Peter Boyles during his tenure at KHOW.
Courtesy of KHOW
In addition, Boyles is willing to act as "a batting coach" for his replacement. At this point, Taylor maintains, there's no timetable to choose a successor, but he promises that the person selected will be live and local, as opposed to a syndicated personality offering no Denver-specific content. "We plan to continue with that theme," he confirms. "It's something that separates us from a lot of other stations in the market."

The April 1 show is scheduled to run five hours, from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., with the final three hours open to ticket holders at the ViewHouse Centennial; the show quickly sold out, but it will be streamed live. Click for more details.

Plenty of guests are expected to take part, including Westword editor Patricia Calhoun and yours truly. Also on tap are major radio figures who played a role in Boyles's career — among them retired KOA radio mainstay Mike Rosen, onetime gubernatorial spokesperson Dan Hopkins and ex-Denver Clear Channel boss Lee Larsen.

The lineup excites Boyles — but so does the opportunity to visit Winter Park and other ski resorts whenever he'd like. "For a kid out of the steel mills of Pittsburgh, I'm a lucky son of a bitch," he said from the slopes. "You're talking to the luckiest guy in the world."

To learn more about Boyles's career, read our 2017 Q&A "Peter Boyles on Being the Most Dangerous Man on Denver Radio."
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