Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Eagle has landed

Classic rock station KYZX (103.9 FM) re-launched itself this morning as KRXP "Colorado's Rock Experience."

Program director Jason Janc said the new format would incorporate more current music and bring in younger listeners.

"Classic rock is always evolving," he said.

Expect to hear artists like Sheryl Crow, Matchbox 20, Maroon 5 and Live on the reformatted KRXP, Janc said, along with the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith the station was already playing. Although there's some crossover with stations like adult contemporary KVUU (99.9 FM), Janc said no one in Colorado Springs has the same format.

"We're trying to do something new," he said. "You'll get the rock hits: It should be one familiar song after another."

KYZX typically trailed classic rock rival KKFM (98.1 FM) in the Arbitron ratings. The format switch may mean that the station will compete more with KVUU, KKPK (92.9 FM) and KDZA (107.9 FM) than KKFM.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's some socialism we can get behind

Sen. Ken Salazar leans on the NFL:

"DENVER, CO – United States Senator Ken Salazar and a bipartisan group of
13 senators have sent a letter urging National Football League Commissioner
Roger Goodell to make NFL games widely available to fans in markets outside
cities in which NFL teams are based.

On Nov. 6, the NFL is scheduled to begin restricting games to the
NFL Network in areas not considered part of the ‘home market’ of a team.
As a result, many viewers in the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction media
markets will not be able to watch the November 6 game between the Denver Broncos
and the Cleveland Browns. The NFL is not considering Colorado Springs,
Pueblo, Grand Junction, Durango, and other communities outside the Denver
television market to be part of the Denver Broncos’ home market.

“We in Colorado love to watch our Broncos and we should continue
to be able to see the games on television throughout the state,” said Sen.
Salazar. “The NFL’s narrow interpretation of a ‘home market’ does a
disservice to fans across Colorado and across the country. The NFL needs
to change course, and it should start by allowing all Coloradans to watch the
Broncos pound the Browns next Thursday.”

My interpretation: "You know who's going to have 60 votes in the Senate after Tuesday? Not you, Roger."

Never say never again

The name’s Desiere, Tony Desiere.

The former host of the Tony D show on KKML (1300 AM) “The Sports Animal” will apparently soon be back behind the mike and on the airwaves. On 1300, oddly enough.

The station switched from sports to classic country two months ago, when Desiere was let go in a cost-cutting move. The format won’t change, but country will take a break for Desiere’s show weekdays 5-8 p.m.

The first show is supposed to be in early November.

Friday, October 24, 2008

DirecTV adds most local channels in HD

UPDATE: Sorry, I meant to do this on Friday. DirecTV says they're still talking to KRDO, sounded positive that something would be worked out (and why wouldn't it be - there's no advantage to KRDO to holding back when everyone else is on board, right?).

KTSC said it's a technical problem on their end that's holding things up. They have the required parts on order and PBS should be in HD on DirecTV by the end of the year.


DirecTV is finally offering Colorado Springs local channels in HD. That would be the good news. The caveat is that DirecTV and KRDO didn’t come to agreement, so no ABC-HD. And no KTSC/PBS.

To which I, and everyone, says, “Huh?” I’m checking on it…

Still no word on when Dish will add HD locals.

Here’s the DirecTV press release:
Oct 22, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WHAT: DIRECTV, Inc., the nation’s leading satellite television serviceprovider, is now offering local HD programming to customers in the Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo., designated market area. The following broadcast networks are available in HD: KOAA/NBC, KKTV/CBS and KXRM/FOX. With the addition of Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo., DIRECTV now offers local HD broadcast channels in 103 cities, representing nearly 85 percent of U.S. TV households.By the end of 2008, DIRECTV will provide local HD broadcast channels in more than 121 cities, representing approximately 88 percent of U.S. TV households.WHEN: Beginning today, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008.HOW: To receive DIRECTV’s local HD programming, customers must have an H20 or H21 HD receiver or an HR20 or HR21 DIRECTV Plus(R) HD DVR and a Ka/Ku band dish. For information on how to get DIRECTV HD consumers can visit for local channels is based on service address within certain designated market areas as defined by Nielsen Media Research, Inc. Visit for more information.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arbitron radio ratings

The latest radio ratings, courtesy of Arbitron.

Some interesting nuggets in the list: KILO continues its strong run. KKMG opens up a wide lead on KIBT. Cat Country KATC handily beat KCCY both overall and in the 25-54 demographic. KVUU continues to slide in favor of KDZA (what are they calling it? Jet 107?).

And way down at the bottom of the list are a bunch of intriguing things. KRYE comes in at 22nd with a regional Mexican format on 104.9 FM.

I think that frequency was once supposed to be part of the great KKCS-to-Denver maneuvering that ended up killing KKCS dead as a doornail.

Speaking of which, the station that took over KKCS old frequency, "La Grande D" KGDQ (101.9 FM), flipped its format from regional Mexican to smooth jazz back in June (and just missed showing up in these numbers).

And the station that took over the KCS moniker, if not the call letters, KCSF (1300 AM), makes an appearance at No. 21.

And we still have no sports radio in the Springs. Sorry, World Series fans.

1. KILO (94.3 FM)
2. KKLI (106.3 FM)
3. (tie) KATC (95.1 FM)
KVOR (740 AM)
5. KKMG (98.9 FM)
6. KKPK (92.9 FM)
7. KKFM (98.1 FM)
8. KCCY (96.9 FM)
9. KDZA (107.9 FM)
10. KBIQ (102.7 FM)
11. KVUU (99.9 FM)
12. KIBT (96.1 FM)
13. (tie) KOA (850 AM)
KYZX (103.9 FM)
15. KRDO (105.5 FM and 1240 AM)
16. KZNT (1460 AM)
17. KHOW (630 AM)
18. (tie) KCMN (1530 AM)
KGFT (100.7 FM)
20. KPHT (95.5 FM)\
21. KCSF (1300 AM)
22. KRYE (104.9 FM)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A post in which I predict the future... poorly

Here's an interesting story in which former Washington Post editor Len Downie Jr. ponders whether the Internet is more likely to kill off newspapers or television news. He's coming from the perspective of the very large, very well-funded Washington Post, but his argument has some relevance locally.

The survival of newspapers is, naturally, a subject near and dear to my heart. Generally, I've thought that losing audience to the Web challenges TV and newspapers in a similar way, but that newspapers had a several-year head start on the firing line (compared to TV news) because of the relatively recent emergence of Web video.

While newspapers can and do shoot video and put it on their Web sites, telling a story with both video and text is more often the exception than the rule (you can see a bunch of our video stories at TV news stations seem to have an easier time writing text versions of reporters' stories to place on their Web site (although those stories sometimes read like afterthoughts).

TV news on the Web, however, is still limited to the kind of stories TV news does on TV - there are a lot of stories you read in the newspaper that TV news generally doesn't cover. Newspapers also have an advantage in that they usually have a local monopoly: There's only one daily newspaper in Colorado Springs, but there are four competing TV news departments. And newspapers have more reporters than TV stations do. Of course, economic pressures and falling print circulations are shrinking that gap, so being able to produce the news with fewer reporters might be a long-term advantage for television.

The real problem for local news on the Web, no matter who produces it, is that there isn't a strong financial model to pay for it. The Internet aggregates content and creates online communities extremely well, but it's a poor platform for localization. Most advertising goes to search ads at Google and Yahoo, but those ads are, thus far, not that useful if you want coupons for the local Safeway or to advertise the stamp shop you own. A newspaper or a television station is a fine platform for local advertising, but online, those local sites are competing against the New York Times and Google News and every other news source on the planet.

What happens next is something I think about a lot, but I have no good answers for. Will slimmed-down versions of our current news products continue to straddle both worlds? Could a single news source, either from a newspaper or a TV station, become dominant in a community, thereby attracting a large enough online audience for the economics to work? If advertising-supported local news was no longer econmically viable, would new news sources - perhaps subscription-supported, or paid for by non-profits or partisan organizations - pop up to replace them?

Um, maybe?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Goodbye "SNL," hello "Daily Show"

This news item about "The Daily Show's" Rob Riggle getting his own CBS sitcom plays into a theme I've been thinking about recently: "The Daily Show's" utter domination of "Saturday Night Live" as a starmaking machine.

This is sort of a weird time to bridge the topic, given all the attention "SNL" has garnered recently for Tina Fey's Sarah Palin imitation (which perhaps culminated last weekend with the Palin cameo).

But really, look around: "The Office" has two "Daily Show" alums - not to mention Steve Carell's burgeoning movie career - Jason Jones was guest-starring on "How I Met Your Mother" last night, Rob Corddry has done movies, Mo Rocca is annoyingly ubiquitous on cable... I'm probably missing a few others. And that's leaving out Stephen Colbert, who never left the network.

And, over roughly the same period, "Saturday Night Live" has produced who exactly? Tina Fey. That's it, really. If you go back before 2000, when Jon Stewart took over at "The Daily Show," you'd get Will Ferrell, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon and Darrell Hammond, but since "TDS" hit its modern era, it's clearly eclipsed "SNL" as a launch pad.
There's an obvious irony here, given that Riggle was actually on "Saturday Night Live" for a season. But it was clearly "The Daily Show" that made him famous.

Now, I might also argue that "The Daily Show" manages to be funnier two hours a week (half an hour, Monday through Thursday), all year long than "SNL" does with its 90 minutes 16 or 20 episodes a year (I'm not really sure how many episodes "SNL" averages these days, but it ain't year-round. Obviously, playing off the news helps keep the half-hour moving along, but that's a big part of "SNL," too, and pretty often "SNL" can't do it.

I know, I know, people have been complaining about how much "SNL" sucks and how good the show used to be since about five minutes after it premiered in 1975, but I think if you simply look at it empirically "TDS" is a more successful comedy show.

Now, having said all that, Todd Palin in a snowmobile suit was comedy gold. And anyone wondering whether "The Daily Show" can be anywhere nearly as funny in an Obama administration... my guess would be, "No."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Actual bumper sticker actually printed by the thousands over at NBC

Oh bad television. Why do I love you so?

UPDATE: I'm not the only one, apparently. Despite unimpressive ratings, "Knight Rider" just earned a full season pickup. Um, congratulations on your craptacularness?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ghost Hunters at the Briarhurst Manor

The Sci Fi Channel's popular "Ghost Hunters" reality show has been filming this week at Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs for a Halloween special.

Manager John Kerr said the crew has apparently been successful in the hunt.

"It makes me not want to come to work," he said.

The hunters also visited the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, a perennial favorite on the show.

The show plans to finish taping today. The special airs Oct. 31.
CORRECTION: Jason and Grant and the rest were not actually in Manitou, at least not yet. Turns out, the Briarhurst is a finalist in a contest Sci Fi will run during the Halloween live show, in which viewers can vote for which of three finalists gets a visit from the Ghost Hunting troops. So the filming going on there now is for a segment that will run during the Oct. 31 event.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm back

Someone needs to make a driving video game based on Naples traffic. It would be the most exciting thing ever.

Also, next time you're in Tuscany, you must go to Volterra and have dinner at Del Duca. It will be ridiculously expensive, but it will be worth it.

That's all, until I get the chance to mind-meld with my DVR.