At a time when radio stations are dumping local talk shows in favor of national (and cheaper) yakkers, Denver’s KNUS is heading in the opposite direction, filling its lineup with local flotsam and jetsam tossed from competing stations.
KNUS’ latest addition is Denver Attorney Dan Caplis, a social conservative with decades of experience on the Denver airwaves, most recently at KHOW, where he was paired with fellow attorney Craig Silverman.
For his first broadcast Monday, Caplis interviewed GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo as well as former state GOP chair Dick Wadhams. He said he’d put any callers with differing opinions at the front of the line.
“For 20 years, it’s been my policy to take callers who disagree first,” Caplis told me later after I asked him if he was serious about wanting to talk to progressives. “People want a battle of ideas. All I want from a caller is to answer the question directly.”
Caplis’ first show made a news bit when Wadhams said Republicans need a fresh face in the gubernatorial race, and Wadhams thinks the face of GOP candidate Mike Kopp has the best chance of defeating Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014.
Will Caplis’ show focus on politics?
Caplis says politics will be part of his show, but his content will be determined largely but what’s happening on the ground.
“I don’t want to sit around talking about this stuff; I want to affect the outcome,” he told me, citing Boyles’ recent focus on Masterpiece Bake Shop, which got into trouble for turning away a gay couple seeking a wedding cake.
Caplis promises “lots of investigative reporting and the use of public records to expose corruption.”
At KHOW, Caplis and Silverman dove deep into the JonBenet Ramsey case, and Caplis took the national spotlight for supporting Broncos QB Tim Tebow. They also had a major impact on the 2010 election, with their frequent and intelligent interviews of political candidates.
A Caplis interview with Rep. Mike Coffman might come into play during the upcoming election. Coffman asked Caplis to clarify, on air, that Coffman opposes all abortion, even for rape and incest.
The show’s interviews will likely be diminished without Silverman’s edgier questioning of conservative guests and with most progressives refusing to appear.
“We did smart, tough talk radio,” Caplis said, adding the he hopes Silverman will be a regular part of his new show. “Craig asked tough questions of Republicans, me of Democrats. I will continue to invite Democrats, but I doubt they’ll accept because, frankly, they don’t have the answers–with the impressive exception of [Boulder Congressman] Jared Polis. He comes on.”
Caplis calls it a “brilliant” move of KNUS, which owned by Salem Communications, to scoop up talk-radio hosts, like Boyles, Kelley, and him, who have name recognition in the Denver market.
“There’s a demand,” he said. “It’s a very smart move on their part to go live and local.”
He has a point. The market for a brand runs deep. Twinkies was even scooped up by some big company. Boyles, Kelley, and Caplis have their followers.
I asked Caplis if he had a contract or any expectation of how long his newest gig would last.
“In the words of Chris Brown on ESPN, ‘We’re all day-to-day,'” Caplis replied. “I only want to do the show if it’s succeeding. I have other things to do in life.”
It looks to me like progressive Keith Olbermann said the day-to-day line first, but it doesn’t matter. It’s true, especially in radio.