Peter Boyles's KHOW program now Denver's number one morning show

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Arbitron ratings are carefully kept secrets in the radio industry, with stations keeping a tight hold on the numbers for specific day parts and demographics. However, Westword has obtained morning totals for the most recent ratings period, and they show Boyles ahead of all competition, be they on AM or FM, among all listeners age twelve and over, and in the target demos of adults between the ages of 35-54 and 45-54 -- and in the 25-54 category, which encompasses younger listeners who supposedly shun talk radio, he finishes in fifth place.

Page down to see breakdowns of these demos, as well as an additional graphic that explains in part how the digits translate to actual listeners.

Obviously, Boyles benefited from the recent election, as well as the startling gubernatorial run of his longtime friend, Tom Tancredo. "There were times when we weren't just reporting the news but making the news," he says. "We had the Freda Poundstone blank-check picture, Tancredo and [Colorado Republican Party boss] Dick Wadhams on the show together, Dan Maes saying all kinds of stuff."

The campaign was so crazy that "if you couldn't get good ratings, you weren't trying," he adds, laughing.

Another factor, Boyles believes, is that he's kept his focus on Colorado events and personalities, as opposed to constantly commenting on happenings beyond state lines.

"I really do feel people are looking for local issues," he says. "A lot of guys in town try to do national stories, but you already you have the Limbaughs and the Hannitys and the Becks doing that. I don't think you can compete with that, and I don't think you have to."

In addition, he feels listeners respect the fact that "I take a lot of risks, like doing the birther stories, which a lot of guys won't touch. And being pro-gay rights always draws a lot of lightning here. But there are no sacred cows. You don't have to kiss anybody's ass to do a radio show, and I don't -- and believe it or not, it's worked.

"Most of the men and women in this business seem to have a side -- they're either Republican talk-show hosts or Democrats. But my view of the world is, they're both bad, and I think people identify with that."

Page down to see the ratings information:

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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