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|Broadcast area||Denver-Boulder, Colorado|
|Slogan||Colorado's News, Traffic and Weather Station|
|Translator(s)||94.1 K231BQ (Golden)|
|First air date||December 15, 1924|
250 watts (translator)
ABC News Radio
(Citicasters Licenses, Inc.)
|Sister stations||KBCO, KBPI, KHOW, KDSP, KPTT, KRFX, KTCL|
KOA (850 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Denver, Colorado. Owned by iHeartMedia, it serves the Denver-Boulder media market. KOA broadcasts a news/talk radio format, and is also the flagship station of the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Buffaloes. KOA has studios in Southeast Denver, while the transmitter site is off South Parker Road in Parker.
KOA is a Class A clear-channel station, broadcasting at 50,000 watts non-directional, the maximum power permitted by the Federal Communications Commission for AM stations. By day, the station is easily heard around Eastern Colorado, including cities such as Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Fort Collins. With a good radio at night, the signal can be heard over the Central and Western United States, and parts of Canada and Mexico. KOA is nicknamed "the Blowtorch of the West".
As of November 1, 2015, KOA is also heard on 94.1 MHz K231BQ, which is licensed to Golden, Colorado as an FM translator of KBCO-HD3. The station now identifies itself as "KOA News Radio 850 AM and 94.1 FM."
KOA airs news blocks during morning and afternoon weekday drive times. The news blocks feature updates of traffic conditions in the Denver area, broadcast from a helicopter KOA shares with NBC affiliate KUSA-TV 9. Alan Roach, stadium announcer for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies and Colorado Avalanche, is featured on the morning program as the sports anchor.
Mandy Connell (previously on WHAS Louisville) does a call-in show heard in early afternoons. From 4-7pm Rick Lewis of KRFX 103.5 The Fox's morning drive show The Rick Lewis Show, and Dave Logan who does Denver Broncos live play by play, team up for Lewis and Logan, featuring lewis' long time producer and morning co-host Kathy Lee. Andy Lindahl and Ed McCaffrey host a sports talk show in the evening. Nationally syndicated shows include Rush Limbaugh, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and This Morning, America's First News with Gordon Deal. Weekends feature shows on money, real estate, movies, religion and sports, as well as syndicated shows from Joe Pags and Bill Cunningham. World and national news is supplied by ABC News Radio.
KOA was first owned by General Electric and began broadcasting on December 15, 1924. The station started with 5,000 watts, and in 1927, increased to 12,500 watts. On July 7, 1934, power was raised to the current level of 50,000 watts.
Former Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Rosen, who retired at the end of 2015, was the long running host of the 1 to 3pm show. Rosen is a fiscal conservative and social libertarian who occasionally was a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh. Common Rosen-isms are "tell me where you sit before you tell me where you stand" and "a politician asks what you want, an economist asks what you want more." Rosen's philosophy is reflected in his recommended reading list which includes Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, Paul Johnson and Thomas Sowell.
Other well-known local voices previously heard on KOA include Dave Logan, Steffan Tubbs, April Zesbaugh, Rollye James and George Weber. The late Rick Barber was heard for 30 years on KOA. Consumer advocate Tom Martino and former FEMA official Michael D. Brown were KOA hosts until they switched to sister station 630 KHOW.
Radio host Alan Berg broadcast his talk show from the station, but was shot and killed by members of the white supremacist group The Order on June 18, 1984. Another host from an earlier era was Leigh Kamman, who hosted jazz programs during World War II. Kamman returned to his home state of Minnesota after the war. The Sports Zoo with Dave Logan and Scott Hastings ran for 12 years until Hastings left in April 2005 for the Altitude Sports and Entertainment network. Hastings resumed sports radio broadcasting on KKFN in January 2006 alongside former Denver Broncos lineman Alfred Williams. Ken Hamblin, "The Black Avenger," also hosted a popular and long-running show during the 1980s.
Also in the 1980s, during the weekend evening hours on KOA, Larry Cox, and his dog Wilbur, would host the radio program, The National Recovery Act, a listener-friendly call-in show. A certain topic was announced and people from all over the nation, picking up the KOA signal at night, would call in with their memories. Big band music from the 1930s and 1940s was also played. The program would always end with the song "And So To Bed". In December 1987, Cox began a new radio program, No Place Like Home, broadcast from his home on Chicago Creek. Listeners would often hear the fireplace crackling and Cox's dog, Wilbur, snoring.
The station was one of ten stations honored at the 2007 NAB Crystal Radio Awards for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honored at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The station was named Large Market Station of the Year at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards.