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Randy Jay Out at KOOL 105

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On July 19, Radio & Records, the online home for inside dope about the radio industry, posted the following item:

Many changes at CBS Radio/Denver: Michael "Giff" Gifford, MD/afternoon jock on Hot AC KIMN (Mix 100), is now the new APD/MD/morning dude across the hall on Oldies KXKL (Kool 105) as Kenny Campbell and producer Aaron Davis exit. Giff's arrival also pushes Kool 105 morning talent Dan Mitchell to the slightly more humane midday shift, as Randy Jay departs.

These last words -- "Randy Jay departs" -- will come as a jaw-dropper to longtime radio fans in Denver. Jay, pictured here, has been a major voice in the market since the 1970s, and in 1980, he began an eight-year run at KIMN, then one of the area's most influential and dominant signals. Afterward, he became one of the signature personalities on KOOL 105, and a power on the management side as well. Back in August 2006, when he spoke to Westword for this More Messages blog, he was serving as the outlet's music director, assistant program director and midday host.

Why did KOOL 105 give the heave-ho to such a Denver vet? The evolving sound of the station offers the first clue. In an effort to attract more listeners between the ages of 35 and 54 -- a demographic seen as attractive to advertisers -- execs have been steadily dumping the '50s and early '60s sounds on which KOOL 105 was founded in favor of a greater emphasis on the late '60s and '70s. (The latter decade is celebrated with "'70s Sundays," when tuneage from the era runs virtually wall to wall.) This approach essentially invites longtime listeners who loved rock oldies epitomized by Elvis and his ilk to listen online or on HD Radio to the "Classics Channel," which features a more vintage playlist, or tune out permanently.

Radio & Records' latest listing of ratings among listeners age twelve and older lists KOOL (actual call letters: KXKL) in seventh place, and the numbers generally trend upward. However, these digits don't tell how nearly as much about how the station is doing in its target demographic than the staff changes do.

Jay's name has already been stricken from the programming schedule on KOOL's website, and the receptionist at the station perkily informed yours truly that he "no longer works here." That's a shame, and an unfortunate sign of the times. -- Michael Roberts

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