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The end of KCUV

Colorado's Unique Voice no more.
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As a new radio station, KRWZ/950 AM, is born, another one dies. KCUV/102.3 FM, known as Colorado's Unique Voice, has ceased operations. As of now, the outlet is simulcasting the programming from its sister operation, Jack/105.5 FM.

The station -- which began life on the AM dial as an Americana station conceived by entrepreneur Tim Brown, profiled in this December 2003 Message column -- never generated impressive ratings. Nevertheless, it accrued a devoted following that included Bob Swanson, who was part of the Rock Advocates, a signature Denver band circa the 1980s. His comments below illustrate how much the station will be missed by its core audience.

Here's what Swanson wrote in a September 1 e-mail:

I turn the radio on in my car this morning and listen to some drivel coming out of the speakers... (Did my wife change the presets?)... I gaze at the dial. Yep, 102.3... ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down"??? Followed off and on later by Steve Martin's "King Tut," Rick James' "Super Freak" (which my pop sensiblities can love). But THIS IS NOT KCUV!... and why on earth should a human being be subjected to LInda Ronstadt's version of "Heatwave," which pales to the Martha and the Vandellas version??

Oh, it's the new "Jack" (shit)... Don't Bring Me Down, indeed.

And here's an elaboration on what Swanson loved about KCUV from a follow-up note:

The great thing about KCUV was that they played stuff you would never hear on the "radio"... Graham Parker, Mott The Hoople... I enjoyed the new stuff too. I may be an old rock and roller, but I did discover Ryan Adams, Corinne Bailey Rae... and then they'd play "Duke of Earl" or something when you would least expect it...

Another loss is that they did play a lot of music by women on KCUV... I will miss that too...

I would assume that G Brown (and perhaps some of the other DJs) was the "heart" of the station...

Haven't felt this bad since I lost my dear KAKC in Tulsa growing up... (AM radio, mid to late '60s for me. They would play the Monkees, then follow with the Doors or Hendrix.)

Swanson's point is well taken. In my view, the station's programming was fairly erratic -- but that was part of its throwback charm. Moreover, the jocks spun tunes that aren't getting airplay anywhere else: During the last weekend, I heard T-Bone Burnett's "The Sixties," Johnny Cash's version of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" and a lot of other intriguing selections. Apparently, KCUV's style was a bit too anachronistic to survive in today's media environment, and that's a shame -- and so is having two dial positions broadcasting Jack. Hope something else pops up on 102.3 FM soon. But I doubt if it'll be nearly as unique. -- Michael Roberts

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