‘The Colorado Sound’

Tell us about ‘The Colorado Sound.’
Broadcasting at 105.5 FM on Colorado’s Front Range, translator 88.9 FM in Steamboat Springs, and now at 94.3 in Summit County thanks to Summit Public Radio & TV, the non-commercial, listener-supported station plays a combination of emerging and established artists—blending rock, blues, soul and more.

How did it come about?
“The Colorado Sound” launched in 2016 when NPR-affiliate KUNC—heard at 90.7 in Breckenridge and 88.1 in Dillon—purchased 105.5 FM, allowing it to expand its news and information format to 24-hours a day, and provide a 24-hour music discovery station, “The Colorado Sound,” at 105.5 FM.

What kind of music does ‘The Colorado Sound’ feature?
Here’s a sample from a recent playlist: “Baby I Want You” by Amos Lee, “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, “Second One to Know” by Chris Stapleton, “Man Out of Time” by Elvis Costello, “It’s a Trip” by Joywave, “Decks Dark” by Radiohead, “I Dare You” by The xx, “Meet Me in the Woods,” by Lord Huron, and “Lift Me Up (Leave Me Here)” by Brent Cowles.

So Colorado musicians feature prominently?
We play music from Colorado artists we think fit in with the national artists that get wider airplay, and we don’t differentiate between them. While many stations have a “local music” show on weekends, we incorporate those Colorado artists into our daily playlist, exposing them to listeners who might not realize the talented musicians we have right here in our backyard. Hopefully that makes our listeners more likely to see bands like Edison, Gasoline Lollipops, Brent Cowles, The Burroughs, and dozens of others when they’re playing in local clubs before they go on to bigger things like Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and The Lumineers have done.

What do your listeners think?
They say we play a better mix of music without the single-style limitations most other stations have, and because we’re a non-commercial, community radio station, we don’t play any commercials. Denver’s Westword named “The Colorado Sound” as the “Best New Radio Station” in its 2017 Best of Denver issue.

What do you like about the station?
I love the depth of our playlist, and the knowledge our hosts bring to what we play. All of our hosts are long-time music fans, with a tremendous knowledge of music trivia and history. We also have special features like “Music 101” on weekends, where our mid-day host Margot takes a topic and spends an hour playing related music, historical audio clips from the time, etc.

Why do you feel public radio is important?
Public radio provides an important alternative to the big commercial radio companies. We focus heavily on our local community, and are committed to community service, not making a profit for shareholders. That allows us more freedom to cross boundaries, to take chances, to support local events, and to really listen to our audience for feedback.

Robert Leja is the director of corporate support and marketing for ‘The Colorado Sound’ and KUNC, two Denver-based public radio stations broadcast into Summit County by SPRTV.

The Colorado Sound // coloradosound.org