The Wolf Howls

Earlier this year, in a Message column profile, radio executive Don Howe talked about how the Wolf, a relatively new country station, planned to sink its teeth into KYGO-FM, which has been the area's most powerful C&W purveyor for well over a decade. At the time, many media observers thought Howe was barking up the wrong tree -- but it appears the Wolf has some bite after all.

Corresponding by e-mail, Howe writes, "The Wolf, in its first full ratings book, beat longtime country leader KYGO in persons 18-34! The Wolf increased from a 0.9 to a 5.0! KYGO dropped to a 3.8. This is the first time another country station has beaten KYGO in the key 18-34 demo."

How has The Wolf done it? Naturally, Howe has some theories.

For starters, he gives credit to Jonathan Wilde and Tracy Taylor, a pair of former KYGO personalities who jumped to the Wolf, and now helm the afternoon drive shift at the latter signal. According to Howe, the pair "had a great debut. In their first month on the air, the program ranked number two with persons twelve-plus!!" He adds that he expects the Wolf's audience among radio users between the ages of 18 and 49 -- a demo currently more beloved by ad buyers than the 18-34 category -- to keep growing.

Of course, KYGO won't go away quietly. The outlet's TV commercials have been ominipresent of late -- not that such an advertising onslaught worries the legendarily cocky Howe. "No matter how much money KYGO continues to spend in television, it will never be enough to keep The Wolf from becoming a dominant country radio station," he declares. "Denver listeners have always wanted a choice and we've given them that. KYGO is the OLD choice and 92.5 The Wolf is their NEW choice!"

What's Howe's overall reaction to the ratings news? "OWLLLLLLLLLLLL!" he exclaims.

He's clearly a man who knows his way around an exclamation point. -- 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