Colorado Public Radio will remove its all-news format from KCFR 1340 AM this fall and introduce a new alternative music station in its place.
Mike Flanagan, general manager of KVCU 1190 AM in Boulder since 2005, will manage the new station, whose call letters have not yet been confirmed.
The digital AM station is expected to reach many listeners via computer streaming and handheld devices other than radios. Public stations nationally are following this model, like “The Current” from Minnesota Public Radio.
“It’s like college radio but it’s graduate school,” Flanagan said.
The format, emphasizing contemporary local artists, will be “based in indie rock but with the cool alternative stuff that you don’t hear on the big FMs,” he said.
A minority of AM news listeners will be disappointed with the announcement. “Since the majority of our Denver metro listeners get their news on 90.1 FM, we don’t anticipate any issues for those who currently still listen to news on 1340 AM,” CPR chief Max Wycisk said in a statement.
The debut is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 1.
Fidelity issues on the AM are a minor concern. “We are seeing a change as far as where people are getting radio,” Flanagan said, noting computer streaming and new cars with digital technology. Think of it as “an internet station that just happens to have an AM tower.”
A large part of the format will be devoted to local music and musicians. “The Colorado music scene is so vibrant and nationally recognized,” Flanagan said.
Flangan has worked in radio for more than 30 years, including an eight-year stint with CPR in the 1990s as an on-air and “Midday Mozart” music host. “I was counting radio stations yesterday,” he said, “and CPR was No. 9 and 14.”
Joanne Ostrow is the The Denver Post’s Television Critic and an occasional contributor to Reverb.