New studio, new freedom come with The Mountain’s new owners |

New studio, new freedom come with The Mountain’s new owners

BRECKENRIDGE – Radio listeners would never know it, but KSMT’s disc jockeys are smiling much wider these days.Staff at the Breckenridge-based “The Mountain” are brimming with excitement over the station’s new studios – a by-product of new ownership. The station was recently purchased by NRC Broadcasting, which owns three Denver radio stations and nine more in the mountains.The biggest internal change the ownership shift has brought is new studios in the station offices. An example: When rappers Too Live Crew visited the station last year before a local performance, the group arrived – as any decent hip-hop act would these days – with a large entourage. But because of the confined space of KSMT’s studio, only two at a time could gather around a microphone.These days, radio station visitors can lounge comfortably at any of four microphones for guests. The space means that touring acts will have enough elbow room to perform for radio audiences.Station staff also have a new production studio to record advertisements and promotions. Previously, the technical limitations at KSMT meant that if a DJ was on the air, no such recordings could be made, or vice versa.”We’ve gone from a closet to a real studio,” said station manager Lisa Cheek.According to Cheek, the change is also benefiting listeners in numerous ways. The station has augmented its news-gathering efforts, to include technical capabilities for not only giving snow reports and weather information, but featuring ski patrollers on the air via cell phone.The studio features a dual-turntable set-up, so DJs can play their favorite vinyl hits and spinners, or club DJs can keep the radioland audience raving ’til dawn.Probably most importantly, the new ownership is keen on local programming. Whereas corporate radio chains like Clear Channel have stations broadcasting cookie-cutter music selections based on demographics and marketing, Cheek said KSMT is tuning its musical selection to locals’ preferences. Whereas a large corporate station might play 15 minutes of commercials in an hour, KSMT listeners might only hear half that.”With the new owners, we’re able to simply talk on-air about things we would have had to play a pre-recorded commercial for before,” said DJ Johnny Brokaw. “They’re giving us room to be creative and flexible.”New programming features also include a lunch-time commercial-free hour of music and another half-hour of music without ads during the 5 p.m. traffic jam.Brokaw added that listeners will notice an increased diversity in music on KSMT.”Just look at what we’ve got here,” Brokaw said, pointing to the new computer monitor that previews upcoming selections. “Modest Mouse, Government Mule, Black Eyed Peas and the Police. Where else are you going to hear that mix?” Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237 or

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