There has been a lot of cynical speculation about the decision of the notoriously GOP-supporting Clear Channel to convert KKZN, apparently now KTLK AM 760 from an all sports talk format to being an Air America affiliate. They're trying to pre-empt KGNU's entry into the Denver market, they want it to fail, or whatever. I mostly take the decision at face value as being in their economic best interest. 760 was getting destroyed as a sports talk station by the ESPN radio affiliate and 950 The Fan. (Yes, until today we had three all-sports stations, not to mention 850 KOA that carries Rockies baseball and Buffs football.) They have to know Air America will do well in this area. The fact that Air America provides packaged programming for the entire country, without local expenses, makes it a low risk deal from a pure business perspective. And maybe there is a little hedging of bets going on -- Clear Channel likely realizes there is a realistic chance Kerry will win the election, and they want to do whatever they can to avoid hostile scrutiny by the FCC and for possible antitrust violations.
But there is one way Clear Channel is trying to marginalize their own Air America affiliate -- by relabeling 760 as "Boulder's Progressive Talk." If you check out the cached page from the old 760 website, you will see that 760 The Zone wasn't labeled as a Boulder station. And I can say as a Denver driver that we just don't get Boulder AM stations in most of the city -- AM radio signals have a hard time getting over the ridge that separates Boulder from the (rest of the) metro area. In fact, that's why KGNU has been reportedly looking to acquire a Denver station. I suspect that 760 is just another Lookout Mountain based radio station, in other words, a Denver radio station, which is being labeled by Clear Channel as a "Boulder" station in order to send the message to non-liberal true believers that the Air America message isn't a mainstream message -- it's just something for those weird Boulder pet guardians. Note that Air America itself calls AM 760 a Denver station.
So this is how Clear Channel can make the Air America money without too much compromise of their conservative principles.