We know you've been pining for your Good Morning America moment, and Dan Cochell knows it too. That's why, after spending three weeks selling cars following a multi-year stint at KRDO News Radio, Cochell is using his new position at KREL 1580 AM to partner with FOX 21 News and open a radio and TV studio at 8 S. Tejon St.
"We [will] repurpose their morning news on the radio station in the morning, from 6 to 9," says Cochell in an interview with the Independent. (Disclaimer: We learned in the reporting of this story that our newspaper is a likely partner as well.) "And I’m gonna be doing live reports and traffic reports from my brand-new studios on-camera.
"Tejon, as you know, is an absolutely beautiful strip of Colorado Springs, and what better place to put a ... live studio? And the camera angle, when I’m on TV, is the shot that all TV people want on a consistent basis; you know, we’re on the ground level, everything behind is people walking by in their busy lives, and it’s the most ultimate live feel that you can get."
Cochell says the radio portion of the partnership will always be based downtown. The live televised shots will come when he's on-air with FOX 21. As well, when there are big downtown events, FOX will host its 6 and 9 p.m. broadcasts from the new studio.
In the meantime, along with the location change comes a change of format: KREL was previously pumping in Denver-centric info — weather, traffic and the like — as well as running a few business-oriented shows. Now it's all local news and talk, 24 hours a day. This puts the three-week old station in direct competition with outfits like KRDO and 740 KVOR, meaning Cochell's got his work cut out for him.
"Oh, beyond belief: I consider myself the underdog," he says. "But what’s gonna separate us is in the very near future we’re gonna do a lot of local programming, obviously from our studios here on Tejon. I mean, you’ve got all these other radio stations that are corporately owned, and they can’t make the decisions that I can make in an instant."
One example is the rapid expansion of the Waldo Canyon Fire, then called the Pyramid Mountain Fire.
"I went on the air when it was about 50 acres big; and we weren’t even ready to go on the air from a phone standpoint, or computer standpoint — I had no commercials or anything," Cochell says. "All I had the capability of doing was going on the air by turning the microphone on and hooking up the phone system.
"And so I go on the air to start talking about these flames that I’m seeing from South Eighth Street, and all of a sudden I’m asking people if they see the same thing, and 'What do you see?' and at that point not one other radio station was on the air — and the phones lit up. And it was people that were hitting ‘scan’ on their AM radio to see who was talking about the fire, and I was the only one on."
Though still waiting on things like the microwave signal, lights and cameras to be installed, Cochell plans to be fully operational before the Aug. 10 fanfest for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
"I’m just excited to be back in radio," he says. "And I’m excited to do what I do best, and that is to be a huge part of the community of Colorado Springs, and continue to do the things that made me successful in Colorado Springs. And I hope they like what they hear."
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