One upon a time, radio was a formidable cultural force. It had a vital, exuberant immediacy that gave voice to the rebel-without-a-cause inner life of adolescence and young adulthood. Nowadays, radio has been reduced to corporate deals and boardroom bottom lines -- with all the dynamism of an ice flow in the North Atlantic.
Hood: Rye, Colorado
What's your radio-listening preference? Talk radio. I listen to NPR and I'm a huge fan of Art Bell, the talk guy of the century. I also enjoy Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh -- who, admittedly, is totally nuts, but I like the way he gets everybody riled.
Are you a Chuck Baker fan? Who's Chuck Baker?
How would you assess contemporary radio? Mainstream radio is bought and sold by corporations. And most of the music is hip-hop. I haven't heard a station that plays good jazz or really good blues.
What's your all-time favorite radio station? KGNU, an alternative, environmental, left-wing station in Boulder that does weird political stuff and interviews people you'd never hear on mainstream radio, like Noam Chomsky.
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Hood: Mountain Shadows
What's your assessment of local radio? It stinks. There's no variety and only one alternative station. Mostly, I listen to National Public Radio. It keeps you current on the news with a wide variety of music in between.
Who's your favorite radio jock? It used to be Jerome Davis on KRCC. Now it's probably Bob Edwards or Cokie Roberts on NPR.
Are you a Chuck Baker fan? I avoid Limbaugh-wanna-bes. I'm not big on anger and mockery. On the other extreme, easy-listening schlock seems all but omnipresent in Colorado Springs radio. It's like being permanently stuck in the elevator or dentist office.
What's your favorite station? I recently discovered this fantastic station out of Pikes Peak Community College. They'll play a block of blues, then a bunch of Nirvana, then a string of Bonnie Raitt songs. It's an eclectic mix that keeps you guessing.
Hood: Broadmoor Bluffs
What's the state of contemporary radio? It sucks. It's way too planned-out, formatted and devoid of variety. There's no immediacy or spontaneity.
What station do you listen to? I stopped listening to the radio five or six years ago when The Max was bought out by some Christian or country station. Most local stations play too much classic rock. They give Steve Miller more airplay than what he got when he was actually a band.
Are you a Chuck Baker fan? Oh, God, no. He's deliberately inflammatory, sometimes to the point of irresponsibility. His job depends on keeping his listeners riled up. I'm not sure he actually believes a lot of things he says.
What would improve local radio? More humor. When I lived in Minnesota and Washington, D.C., there were stations that got me laughing so hard while driving to work that I literally had to pull the car over. It would be great to have that here, too.
-- Bob Campbell