Local radio station KIDN changes format

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Madonna, AC/DC, Poison: There were big changes on KIDN this week.

The Yampa Valley Radio Group on Tuesday dropped the station's mostly alternative/modern rock format for JACK-FM -- a random mix of modern and retro hits that has gained a strong foothold in Denver and other cities.

The switch is among changes and additions aimed at offering Steamboat Springs-area listeners four distinct stations and formats, said Brian Harvey, general manager of the Yampa Valley Radio Group.

The Radio Group, owned by NRC Broadcasting of Denver, also owns KFMU music radio and talk station KRMR.

The company runs KQZR or ZROCK, a Meeker-based classic rock station, through a lease-management agreement with Craig Broadcasting. The Radio Group is working to install a translator on Emerald Mountain that soon will transmit the much-requested station in Steamboat at 97.3 FM, Harvey said.

Too much overlap between KIDN (95.5 FM) and KFMU (105.5 FM) motivated the KIDN change, he said.

Both stations followed the "adult album alternative" format, though KIDN targeted younger listeners and more recently added hip-hop to its mix.

"As time went on, we were stepping on each other's toes," Harvey said, noting that KIDN's old programming came from another NRC Broadcasting station in Breckenridge, which has a different radio climate than Steamboat.

Radio stations, in general, are contending with a tough market with competition from satellite radio and Internet music, he said.

About two years ago, Denver was the first U.S. city to broadcast JACK-FM through NRC Broadcasting. The company opted to try it in Steamboat after a successful launch in Avon.

JACK-FM is music-driven with little deejay presence, though the Radio Group plans to add local deejays to KIDN as it gets established, Harvey said.

KIDN probably will have daily ski reports but not regular news.

"We're trying to eliminate the clutter," he said.

With the motto "Playing What We Want" the station samples from a rotating music library of about 3,000 songs dating back almost four decades.

"If it was a top-five hit in any genre, it will probably get played," Harvey said.

Although the change likely has angered some core KIDN listeners, the Radio Group is hoping to pull them on board with KFMU, which soon will have an expanded music library including songs from KIDN's old format, he said.

As expected, feedback on JACK-FM has been mixed.

"It's tough when you're trying to please a lot of people," Harvey said.

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