Steamboat Springs For KBCR music director Debbie Duncan, good music is simply good music.
"That's my philosophy of programming," Duncan said. "It doesn't matter if it's a little label or a lesser-known artist - if it's good music, it's good music. There's a lot of great music out there that's not on a label."
Duncan's attention to quality music, no matter where it's coming from, won her the title of Country Music Director of the Year at a Nov. 10 awards show hosted by New Music Weekly magazine.
The magazine, a national trade publication that charts new music and radio play in genres from hip hop to honky-tonk, took nominations for its annual New Music Awards from people in the industry.
Duncan said she's not sure who nominated her - her guess is one of the many record label representatives or promoters she talks to once a week for station programming. She certainly didn't think she'd take a top honor at a show that recognized artists such as Brad Paisley and Kanye West.
"Actually, I couldn't believe that I won," Duncan said. "I was up against five music directors from all over the country, and we have our tiny music station up in the Northwest corner of Colorado."
As music director, Duncan chooses all the music that gets played on KBCR. She sends weekly airplay reports to New Music Weekly and MusicRow magazines, keeps up contacts with labels and PR teams, has an on-air shift and has sole say in the station's programming.
Before her five years as music director, Duncan was a mid-day disc jockey and worked in production. But giving new, independent artists a chance to be heard always has been her focus.
"The music is really what it's about for me, and that's what it's always been about," she said.
Debi Fee, a publicist for FAF Media and a friend of Duncan's, said the award was an acknowledgement of Duncan's "outstanding programming" and willingness to give smaller acts their due.
"She won because she is one of those people - everyone in this industry is 24/7, and Debbie is one of those people. She loves music, and she's an outstanding programmer with an outstanding station," Fee said.
"Independents are really the backbone of the music industry," she said, adding that Duncan has gone "above and beyond the call of duty" to play them.