Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 25, 2010

As of this writing, I have spent a combined total of 6 years in my hometown of Colorado Springs. But this city keeps changing (probably more so than NYC over the last 3 years), and not always for the better.

With maybe 3 exceptions, the people I knew and socialized with during my last stint in the Springs (May 2007-May 2008) aren't here anymore. This city has one of the highest turnover rates in the country. Some of it is due to the military presence. That's how my family ended up here in 1973 and why it left by the end of the 1970s. In 2007, medical marijuana had few dispensaries in this state. Now, there's too many to count in this city (including one just 2 blocks from where I go to Mass) and the unincorporated parts of El Paso County are trying to outlaw them. And it is not that difficult for a physically well pothead to get a prescription for a joint. Wisely, all the major colleges outlaw "legal" marijuana on their campuses. Maybe the Feds should step in and remind them that non-medicinal use of marijuana is still illegal under Federal law, despite what one would believe by reading the back "Cannabiz" section of the Colorado Springs Independent.

The media and politics are also screwed up here. Why is it that the Republicans have a better chance of taking back Albany than Denver? Because the Colorado state Republican party totally screwed up. An unknown candidate by the name of Dan Maes beat the establishment candidate of Scott McInnis (mainly due to Maes's strong support in this county, since excluding the El Paso Republican results, McInnis won everywhere else in the state). And what does that mean now? An underfunded candidate being attacked by the right (Tom Tancredo, who left the Republicans for the American Constitution Party) and the left (Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who is a lot more liberal than outgoing Democrat Governor Bill Ritter). At least the tea party is actively supporting Republican candidates Ken Buck (for Senate) and Scott Tipton (who is running against a member of the infamous anti-Springs Salazar clan for Pueblo's Congressional seat). At least in New York, Carl Paladino has enough money to counter the Democratic machine. Hell, Carl Paladino and Rush Limbaugh recently discovered that Village Voice article from 2008 that ties Andrew Cuomo to HUD policies that caused the housing crisis that caused the Great Recession. What is it with New York Democrats and their love affair with candidates that are proven job and economy killers? Hello- read anything I've written on this blog between 2006-2008 with the keyword of "Spitzer".

And the local media... I understand Colorado Springs is too small to have all the dailies and free papers that New York City has. But 75 cents is way too overpriced for what the only paper in town gets you. And according to the Nielsen ratings, the number one station in this media market isn't even based in Colorado Springs or affiliated with a watchable network. Between KKTV, KRDO, and KXRM, are there are 3 pretty good alternatives. As far as broadcast quality, I would probably rate KRDO and KXRM ahead of their broadcast networks' owned stations in New York (although WABC and WYNW get better ratings in New York than KRDO and KXRM do in Colorado Springs). And now that the damn Pueblo station's main digital signal picks up in the Springs, why are they on both Channel 42 and Channel 30? KHWS TV is fairly good, but it can only be picked up on cable since they don't have a digital signal. And one also needs cable to get the Ion family of networks. And how come Accuweather isn't on any digital subchannels here? And let's not forget our local cable company is Comcast, which also now owns the worst network in broadcasting and gives it channel preference over most of the Springs stations.

And as far as KKTV, while they're no WCBS, they tend to have the best local news, although one would not believe that by reading the local Nielsens. But I do have a gripe with KKTV- despite being the last VHF station in town (and by far the strongest digital signal on my converter box), they want to move from Channel 10 to Channel 49. Why, so they can weaken their signal? So they can lose their coverage in the the southern Denver suburbs and in Southeastern Colorado? Ever since WCBS was forced to move to UHF in New York, they've lost a lot of coverage in Orange and Suffolk Counties. The FCC is allowing WCBS to get a repeater signal on 22 since WCBS's main signal on 33 conflicts with WFSB Hartford's signal, also on 33. Before 2009, WCBS was on Channel 2 and WFSB was on Channel 3, and both could be picked up in the far northern suburbs. Now, neither can be picked up without cable. Great going, FCC. I see KKTV moving to Channel 49, falling further behind in the ratings, and possibly losing their longtime CBS affiliation if they don't apply for more repeater signals.

While CBS is the dominant primetime network and (in NYC, Philly, Chicago, and LA) a heavily listened to radio news source, there is no CBS radio news in Colorado Springs. CBS lost their longtime affiliate, KVOR-AM (the original owner and callsign of KKTV) in 2007. Despite the fact that KRDO-AM/FM was (and still is) an ABC news affiliate, KVOR's owner decided to switch to ABC. But then KVOR's owner (Citadel) bought ABC's radio networks and could have easily yanked that from KRDO-AM/FM, but didn't. There are also 2 Fox News radio affiliates that pick up here (KZNT and KCSJ).

And now, I need an internet connection to listen to anything resembling a news radio station or a dance music station