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Vote for your favorite music now

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit Public Radio (SPR) board members most likely will decide whether to stop transmitting world-class rock station KBCO in favor of country station KSKE on Monday.SPR operates the 94.3 frequency in Summit County, which brings KBCO to the High Country.Last summer, NRC Broadcasting, the parent organization of country music station KSKE, approached the nonprofit public radio organization, asking if it would replace KBCO with KSKE’s country music to reach a wider audience.

In the last couple of weeks, KSKE has run ads in the Summit Daily asking supporters to call or e-mail SPR if they want the country station.Meanwhile, KBCO began announcing how SPR brings the Boulder station to Summit County through its translator. It also e-mailed its interactive members – of which program director Scott Arbough says there are more than 500 in Summit County alone – asking them to support SPR through contributions.SPR president Marsha Cooper said 28 people called her, supporting both KBCO and KSKE and saying they’d like to see things like local traffic and weather on whichever station prevailed. The most opinions came through e-mail, where 181 people wrote in saying they supported KBCO, while 16 wrote to say they wanted KSKE, said Gary Peterson, SPR engineer.Cooper encourages locals to call or e-mail with their votes, because the board will take them into consideration.

Board members have talked to both station managers, asking each how they will benefit the community. She said both stations are very willing to support local activities.”One thing we don’t want to get into is accepting money directly from any radio organization,” Cooper said. “That would make us beholden to that radio station.”Instead, she’d like to see stations step to the plate by offering to educate listeners about SPR through radio spots, broadcasting local weather and traffic and announcing community events.KSKE offered to feature more Summit County high school sports and organize fundraisers to help the community. It currently covers Summit High School’s hockey games in Vail, Aspen and Steamboat and plans to pick up local high school football this fall. It also would encourage people to contribute to SPR, said Steve Wodlinger, general manager of NRC Broadcasting’s mountain division.KSKE transmits through most of Summit County, except for Breckenridge. SPR’s adoption of KSKE would expand transmission into Breckenridge.”We’ve been responsive to the needs of Summit County, and KBCO is not,” Wodlinger said. “It makes sense to rebroadcast new or local stations that serve the needs of the Western Slope population.”What bothers me the most is KBCO has done nothing for the past 10 or 15 years. We came into this looking at it as a way to do a better job in the community. KBCO is seen as hip, but it doesn’t serve the needs of the local community other than entertainment, and there are other options for that (like satellite radio).”However, KBCO didn’t quite have the opportunity to educate listeners about SPR or become active in the community, because they didn’t know SPR took over responsibility for transmitting them into Summit. KBCO first came to the county when a group of Red, White and Blue volunteer firefighters set up and maintained the translator. Summit Public Radio took over bringing KBCO into the county after it incorporated in 1998.”It’s unfortunate we haven’t communicated before now,” Arbough said. “We want to be the Denver and Boulder voice for Summit County and let people know what’s going on in Summit County, now that they know about us and we know about them. We want to educate people in Summit County who listen and appreciate KBCO that SPR is bringing it in, and SPR survives off of donations. We want listeners to step up and support SPR.”KBCO has begun to include Summit County weather reports as well as relevant High Country stories in its news cast. It also has begun announcing SPR’s involvement in bringing the station to Summit, and it will give the nonprofit 30 seconds of radio time every hour to announce anything it wants. However, SPR can’t put the 30-second spots into effect until May, when the snow clears and Peterson can climb Baldy Mountain to install the proper gear on the transmitter to automatically interrupt the signal for announcements. Wodlinger believes KSKE’s proposal fulfills Summit Public Radio’s priority to offer nonduplicate, diverse programming with a local radio station that serves the community.”If you don’t like a song on KBCO, turn it to Krystal 93 because you’re going to hear the same music,” he said.SPR’s mission is to import music not otherwise available to the community, so Monday’s discussion will focus on whether transmitting KBCO or KSKE fits its mission best and how each station best benefits the community. To cast your vote for a station, visit Summit Public Radio on http://www.summitpublicradio.org and respond by e-mail or leave a message with your name and number at (970) 513-2107.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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