An FCC commissioner scolded a local Colorado news outlet for its ‘tacit support’ of pirate radio

Here’s a doozy.

“A pirate radio signal that first shot out across Longmont’s airwaves late last year has drawn an unusual, high-level scolding from the Federal Communications Commission — directed not at the illicit broadcasters, but to an online news outlet that wrote about their hijacking of an FM frequency,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The letter from FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly raised concerns about the Longmont Observer’s ‘tacit support’ of the pirate radio signal in a Dec. 6 article, then stated the ‘proper action’ would have been to alert the FCC’s Denver field office to its existence, ‘not suggest people listen while they can.'”

Oh, really? Because news-gathering operations should just act as an arm of the government whenever possible in that part of Colorado, apparently.

Here’s how the nonprofit Longmont Observer responded:

“The Longmont Observer generally doesn’t comment on letters to the editor, however, we do find it odd, and by what we can tell, unprecedented, that an FCC commissioner would write a tiny digital-only, locally focused news outlet in Longmont, Colo., and tell us what story we should write, and how to write it.”

Odd? These days? Pardon me while I go read more about simulation theory and rewatch Pump up the Volume.

That time Kyle Clark turned over his anchor’s chair

No, he wasn’t mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, and no he didn’t actually knock over the anchor’s chair. But he did do something you don’t see every day from a popular TV news anchor in a major metro market: He turned over his anchor chair to a reporter who not only doesn’t work at the station, but also isn’t even a news partner. But that’s what Kyle Clark of the KUSA 9News show “Next” did when he asked public radio reporter Bente Birkeland to sit in for him and moderate a panel for a segment about sexual harassment at the Colorado Capitol.

Why Birkeland? I mean, who else? She was the reporter who broke the story of a sexualized culture under Denver’s gold dome in early November and stuck on it like your kid’s tongue to a chairlift. “Bente has led the way reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct at the Capitol,” Clark told me. “I wanted her to lead the discussion, as opposed to being a guest panelist.”

When Clark first started “Next,” he gave an interview to Westword where he said this: “We are at a point where we can move past our traditional concept of competition. I would rather someone watch a competitor than not watch or read any news.” So kudos to him for walking the walk even when it means giving up his own throne. And he’s also still talking the talk. “Journalists shouldn’t be tearing each other down or ignoring scoops in the name of competition,” he told me. “If a viewer was introduced through Bente’s work on our program, I think that’s good for her news outlet, good for ours, and good for our community.”

Speaking of Bente…

Birkeland will be at The Denver Press Club on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m., where she and I will reprise the Q-and-A I did with her for Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project, but in front of a live audience. She’ll also offer updates on the impact of her reporting and the mood at the Capitol now that the legislature is back in session.

Wow, did you see this Comcast ad?

Here’s an ad that was appearing in news stories this week at, the politics website for Clarity Media, which owns The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs.

Behold some reactions when I posted the pic on Twitter:

“A bit on the nose.”

“This has definitely become some sort of Orwellian dystopian prophecy come true. Especially since Comcast could not even see the problem with this ad.”

“Who the fuck thought that was a good idea?”

“It sounds like a threat.”

h/t Gavin Dahl for the spot.

What you missed on the Sunday front pages

The Gazette reported how animal poop could threaten an Air Force rocket programThe Greeley Tribune wrote how stricter regulation of wells is causing a local water shortageThe Loveland Reporter-Herald profiled a local police K-9 retirement foundationThe Pueblo Chieftain reported how election-year politics could shape the legislative sessionThe Longmont Times-Call reported on local lawmakers suggesting a flurry of oil-and-gas bills this sessionThe Grand Junction Daily Sentinel focused on the plans of rural lawmakers for the session. The Steamboat Pilot looked at 2017 in reviewSummit Daily reported on traffic problems at KeystoneThe Boulder Daily Camera covered a lawsuit against the county by a substance abuse centerVail Daily reported the Eagle County real estate market topped $2 billion for the first time since 2008The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reported how sexual assault figures can be hard to quantifyThe Denver Post previewed the legislative session that began Jan. 10.

The Longmont Times-Call responds to calls for more local news by expanding staff

Here’s a man-bites-dog story from a Digital First Media-owned newspaper in Colorado.
“Readers, we hear you,” the paper reported this week. “Out in the community, on social media, even in this newspaper, you’ve been telling us you want more Longmont news. Starting Monday, you will have it. We’re adding two reporters to our staff who will be dedicated to covering general news and business.”

More from the LTC:

This era of shrinking newsroom staffs has not been easy on any newspaper, particularly the Times-Call. But that has not diminished the desire of our dedicated staff to work hard every day to deliver news to the community where most of us live, or of our management to give our readers a product worth what they’re paying for it.

So welcome new reporters Sam Lounsberry and Lucas High. (Lucas is another reporter from South Carolina who moved to Colorado. More than half a dozen have moved in and out of here from the Carolinas in the past four years if I recall correctly.)

Meanwhile, in Durango…

The alternative weekly newspaper DGO is hiring an editor and staff writer. “The jobs are great for people who love to write about off-beat topics, food, weed, beer, art, music and more. It’s not a mainstream weekly, so creativity is highly valued,” writes Amy Maestas, who is also editor of The Durango Herald. She adds, “To boot, we are a family-owned company that places a high premium on being locally owned and supports journalism first.”

Here are the job listings.

*This roundup appears a little differently as a published version of a weekly e-mailed newsletter about Colorado local news and media. If you’d like to add your e-mail address for the unabridged versions, please subscribe HERE.

Photo by Dave Dugdale for Creative Commons on Flickr. 


  1. Blog?

    They look a lot like you do.

    Are you a blog too? Based on what you do, and what they do, I’d have to say, yes.

    We all know what ex-DP journalists mean when they say ‘blog’.

    I would have expected you guys to be a little more supportive of a fellow non-profit media outlet. Especially one under attack.

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