Media

The Uninspiring AM Radio Dial

The July 9 move of KCFR, Colorado Public Radio's news-and-information outlet, from 1340 AM to 90.1 FM opened up a pre-set on the dial in my sweet 1994 Geo Prizm -- and I'll be damned if I know what to do with it. I have twelve FM pre-sets, and giving up one of them in order to make room for KCFR wasn't easy; at least for now, 107.1/OneFM is on the outside looking in, although that could change. I have just six AM pre-sets, however, and figuring out another station that deserves a button is proving oddly, and sadly, challenging.

The five stations on the current roster are KHOW, AM 760, KOA, Radio 1190 and KEPN/ESPN Radio -- and a compendium of Denver AM signals isn't chock-a-block with great alternatives. KGNU's 1390 AM signal doesn't come in well in the vicinity of my Ken-Caryl Ranch home -- in fact, my radio struggles with it until I'm nearing downtown. (Same problem with KRCN, out of Longmont.) In addition, I find most contemporary Christian music to be slick and (yes, it's true) soulless, and this bias, combined with my dislike of proselytizing, instantly knocks out six selections. Likewise, my inability to speak Spanish means that two other signals have only limited appeal. Of course, I could add Mile High Sports Radio, at 1510 AM, but I already have two other sports pre-sets -- the move of The Fan to 104.3 FM required another series of tough choices -- and there's only so much jock talk even a booster like myself can take. And there's always KNUS, at 710 AM, but doctors have warned me that too much exposure to Sean Hannity could destroy my brain stem -- and that's the kind of thing you've got to take seriously.

I'm sure I'll find a solution eventually, but the difficulty of the decision speaks to the decline of AM in recent years, in this area and elsewhere. Once upon a time, the band ruled the land. But that was then, and this is now. -- 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