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Unintended Consequences of The Fan's FM Move

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In early March, The Fan, a sports-talk station long heard at 950 AM, announced its move to 104.3 FM -- and as noted in this More Messages blog on the topic, a simulcast on its old dial spot was slated to continue until March 31. Well, the last date has arrived, and as of this writing, the simulcasting continues. However, no announcement of a new format for 950 AM has reached yours truly, and the closest thing to an update available on the station's website (still accessible at Fan950.com) pertains to a home-page advertisement for board operators and interns.

In the meantime, the FM shift is receiving mixed reviews from radio insiders, and it's resulted in diminished time-spent-listening by at least two people who've frequently tuned in the outlet over the years -- one of whom is yours truly.

The first gripe comes from John Lacey, who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. "I was an original listener of KKFN when it went on the air around 1995 and have been a regular listener of all its programming (even the fishing show on Saturday mornings) over the years," he writes via e-mail. Too bad the FM signal doesn't carry north as well as its AM equivalent did. "Having a headphone radio was the way I would listen when not in my truck," he explains. Unfortunately, that set doesn't pick up 104.3 FM well, and neither do table-top or transistor radios. That leaves Lacey to either listen online, which isn't as convenient for him as the old method, or to find another station.

As for me, I had The Fan set as one of six AM buttons on the radio of my fabulous 1994 Geo Prizm, along with my other favorite talk stations -- and I'm able to change them without looking away from the road. It's the equivalent of touch typing. But after switching my Fan selector to 104.3 FM, I have to look at the radio while pushing a series of buttons. Moreover, if the station is on a commercial, I must go through the same process to get back to the other talk purveyors. This minor hassle means I tend to forego visiting the station at all on many days.

I'll have more of an incentive to alter my habits once Colorado Public Radio's news branch moves to the FM dial, too; details of that development can be accessed here. Until then, The Fan won't have much talk company on the FM band. And the longer that continues, the lonelier it may get. -- Michael Roberts

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