Radio Daze

Ick’s Radio Daze: Boulder’s KBCO

Welcome to the third installment of Ick’s Radio Daze. This time, we have a report from our first remote correspondent, Kathy B., who lives in the great state of Colorado. Kathy will be checking out a few of the local stations in the greater Denver area. If there’s anyone else out there who feels like geeking out on their local radio market and writing about it for this series, feel free to to shoot me an email. The more the merrier. It’d be especially cool to go international, and be able to explore radio throughout the world. So wherever you are, feel free.

This time around, Kathy zones in on Boulder’s KBCO – one of my favorites when I lived in Colorado…

Station: 97.3 FM KBCO
Format: AAA
Type: Terrestrial (Boulder, CO)
Slogan: “World Class Rock”
Date / Time: Jan. 16th, 2010 / 12:05-1:10pm MST
Commercials: 11 minutes or so (I stopped paying attention)
Hot Dude on Home Page of Web Site? There are some rotating pictures that include a couple of guys who may possibly be hot but it’s hard to tell from the photography. However, one of the rotating pictures has (I believe) Jack Johnson playing Studio C, and he definitely looks hot in that photo.
Hot Chick? Yes—Norah Jones.
DJ: Ginger (No last name; as far as I know, only one DJ on KBCO has a last name that’s used on the radio.) I’ve been listening to her for 20-something years, even following her to another radio station for several years (until they folded and she went back to KBCO).
Favorite Song: Marc Cohn – “Walking in Memphis”

Least Favorite Song: Tie: Train – “Hey Soul Sister” (because it’s so annoying) and Robert Plant— “In the Mood” (which has always rubbed me the wrong way because it has something like a three-note range and requires no actual singing ability to sing. Not that I’m suggesting Robert Plant has no singing ability, just that he doesn’t need it to sing this song.)

Song List:
Van Morrison – “Tupelo Honey”
Natalie Merchant – “Jealousy”
Coldplay – “Life in Technicolor II”
Lenny Kravitz – “Fly Away”
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – “Circle”
Foo Fighters – “Wheels”
Marc Cohn – “Walking in Memphis”
Neil Young – “Cinnamon Girl”
Snow Patrol – “Take Back the City”
Robert Plant – “In the Mood”
Modest Mouse – “Float On”
Counting Crows – “When I Dream of Michelangelo”
Moby – “Southside”
Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Down on the Corner”
Train – “Hey Soul Sister”

Comments: The first thing I can think of is how “safe” this playlist seems compared to the KBCO of the late ‘80s to early ‘90s. No deep album cuts, no unknown local bands (although they did play The Fray in the hour following, and they’ve been playing them since that band actually was unknown). But since they were bought by Clear Channel, they haven’t been quite the same. A lot more repetition, for one thing. I have been hearing that stupid Train song every morning. I’ve also been hearing The Avett Brothers’ “I and Love and You” a lot, but that doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I was hoping it would come up during this hour so I could brag about the cool music this station still occasionally plays. (It came up about 15 minutes afterwards.)

KBCO fits into a niche in this market — I could listen to KTCL for some more obscure artists, but their music is a lot harder than I really like. Or I could listen to the lite rock and Top 40 stations for some softer music that gets played to death. Even with its faults, KBCO is still my favorite station in this market.

One of the things I like about them is the artists who play live in Studio C, who then get recorded for posterity, and if their record company says yes, put on a CD at the end of the year that thousands of people stand in line for hours in the bitter cold to buy. (I am one of those silly people.) I remember when the first Studio C CD came out, there were copies of it at the record store two weeks afterwards, and even when the 6th one came out, I was able to pretty easily pick up a copy later that week. But now the station promotes the CDs to death just before they come out, and they sell out within four hours and are put up on eBay immediately. Unfortunately, no Studio C tracks were played this hour.

Very male-centric playlist this afternoon, which surprises me from a station that introduced me to so many of my favorite female artists (Shawn Colvin, Rosanne Cash, Indigo Girls, Brandi Carlile, to name a few). Only two and a half women artists, if you count Gwen Stefani duetting with Moby. Although Edie Brickell’s New Bohemians were all men… And very little DJ chatter, which might also have increased the estrogen factor.


  • Pete

    I’ve never considered that someone could think anything negative about Robert Plant’s “In the Mood” – to me, it’s – along with “Big Log” – one of my favorite Plant songs.. calming and peaceful… interesting to see a perspective from the other side!

    • KathyB

      Well, as I mentioned, it just rubs me the wrong way. Nothing personal against anybody who likes the song. It’s also been stuck in my head for three days.

  • trrish

    My favorite thing about KBCO is Bret Saunders, the morning jock. He is intelligent, funny and genuinely loves music – though not necessarily the music on KBCO’s playlist these days. My second favorite thing was that they are right here in Boulder – I can drive by and look up and see the studio while they are broadcasting. Sadly, they just decided to move the station to the Denver Tech Center. They say it won’t change the station, but how can it not?

  • Nicole

    The dj Kathy listened to back in the 80’s .. who left and returned to KBCO .. was Roxanne, not Ginger. I always liked KBCO when Roxanne was on, she played great music.

  • Lindyloo502

    The days of Dennis Constantine(now in Seattle), Ira Gordon (Santa Fe KBAC), Roxanne, Doug Clifton, Scott Arbo. Those were they days of GREAT radio in Denver. KBCO was a pioneer in Album rock. Clear Channel has taken us back to the days of Top 40 music, played again, and again.

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