Think Tank Express: Rocky Mountain Low

The Colorado State capitol dome in real Colorado gold gilding stands on the left in this skyline shot of downtown with the distant Pike's Peak mountain looming in the background in Denver on April 30, 2011.
The City of Denver gets an “all-pot” station in KBUD-FM. (credit: UPI/Gary C. Caskey, 2011)

All-pot radio sends a bad message

Remember a few months ago when yours truly said Chicago radio was the worst in the country?

We have a new market already contending for the title.

In perhaps one of the all-time worst ideas ever in radio, a local Denver rimshot signal station dropped sports talk last week and adopted a format centered around “the pot lifestyle”, with the slogan “Smokin’ 94.1”.

Targeting a demo full of stoners, slackers, and unemployed dufuses. Great idea. What’s next? “The All-New Ass 98.5”? How about “Fart 103.1”?

Can’t wait for the next new format out of Denver, “Bang My Wang 101.5 FM!”

Recently, the state of Colorado legalized marijuana, making it one of the first stares in the Union to do so.

But the lifestyle as a radio format? The number of songs are limited at best: there’s Afroman’s Because I Got High or Brownsville Station’s (or Motley Crue’s) Smokin’ In The Boys Room, and of course, anything by Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg, since he’s a user. But the station is going with a classic rock format, since playing Journey and Def Leppard ten times a day actually appeals to people who are high.

Does this sends the wrong message to youth? A format like this would never work here, given pot is not a legal product in Illinois, and the influence of community leaders like the Rev. Michael Pflager and others – many of them already have a beef with Power 92 (WPWX) and WGCI over the type of songs played on those stations – is a huge factor (interestingly enough, WGCI refused to play Because I Got High when it was released in 2001.)

And keep in mind drug dealing – especially marijuana – still drives gun violence and homicides, especially in Chicago and in Denver, who has a large contingent of Crips, Bloods, and Latin Kings gang members.

For once, this idea didn’t come from the infertile mind of Randy Michaels, who came up with the inane and short-lived “Hell 94.7 FM” slogan for WYTZ (now WLS-FM) in early 1991. Credit – or blame – station owner Marc Paskin for coming up with this. “I have created a unique radio format, there is no radio station anywhere in the country like Smokin 94.1,” said the Chicago-raised Paskin, who must have been high doing so.

It proves Big Media does not have a monopoly on stupidity, which describes much of the radio business these days as the medium seems to be very desperate to keep young listeners, who continue to migrate to satellite and Internet radio, iPods/MP3 players, and other alternative audio forms.

Not sure what the first song was on “Smokin’ 94.1”, but I assume it was “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver.

There I go with the bad jokes.