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Steamboat talk radio show hits its stride

Cari and Rob Show gains national attention tapping into heated campaign season

— Discussions from the political talk radio show hosted in Steamboat Springs are echoing even farther than the broadcast signal can carry them.

The Cari and Rob Show, hosted by Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski and former Steam­boat Pilot & Today columnist Rob Douglas, was the venue for a U.S. Senate candidate's comments that received state and national attention early this week. During an appearance on the show Monday, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck said it would be "rude" for former Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin to take attention away from the GOP's state assembly that same day by scheduling her own appearance in Denver.

Buck's GOP competitor, Jane Norton, who has received some praise from Palin, seized on Buck's remarks for her own political gains. The Associated Press put out a story about Buck's comments before The Cari and Rob Show was even finished broadcasting Monday. And by Tuesday, "Palin visit stirs up GOP rivals" was the headline at the top of the Denver & The West section of The Denver Post. Blog writers and website commenters continued to discuss the event throughout the day, with both candidates issuing press releases.

And, of course, it all played out perfectly for a politics-focused radio show with aspirations that stretch far beyond Northwest Colorado.

Hermacinski said the show has gained momentum since it switched from a Saturday-only format to a Monday through Friday daily format. It also switched to KRAI AM 550 radio, which has helped widen its coverage area.

The string of guests on the show likely will heat up as the campaign season continues, Hermacinski said.

This morning, gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is scheduled to appear on the show for an hour. Maes, who is traveling through Steamboat and Craig, said he was introduced to the show by a local chairman and spoke with Douglas and Hermacinski by phone in the past.

"They offered to give me some time a couple months ago," he said. "I like the style and format of their show and their focus on conservative politics. It was a positive experience."

Hermacinski said that as the show has gained attention, campaign workers have begun to contact them to book time for their candidates.

"In both (Maes') case and Ken Buck's case, we interviewed them by phone, and we always invite them and encourage them to come," Douglas said. And they come, "knowing they can come up here; they can get an hour interview; they can reach this part of the Rocky Mountain West and specifically Colorado."

The hosts said they plan to continue having a guest on the show every day at 11 a.m. As for a Palin appearance, well, Hermacinski and Douglas would happily offer her the opportunity.

"Our airwaves are open to any legitimate politician, anyone with a legitimate point of view, so sure," Hermacinski said.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com