10 Questions with ... Doug Clifton
March 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Early in my career I worked at KILO in Colorado Springs and 91X in San Diego. I moved to the Denver-metro area in the 1980s and worked at KAZY before spending 11 years at KBCO. In 1994, I took a position to help launch KXPK "The Peak." After that, I worked at Jones Radio Network as OM for their Rock Alternative format. I spent the next decade at various other stations along the Front Range of Colorado, doing everything from program management to promotions for a variety of formats. I landed at CPR in 2011 to oversee the organization's music service, which includes classical and new music on OpenAir.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
My father got a job at the local station in the town where I grew up. I was eight years old and completely taken with being around a real radio station. I got to read Billboard Magazine, and rip and read AP newswire stories while he did his work. I've been hanging out in radio stations ever since.
2. Colorado Public Radio is actually three different services. Tell us about that.
Colorado Public Radio is a statewide network, broadcasting CPR News, CPR Classical and OpenAir to thousands of listeners across Colorado. Each service has unique content, but collectively Colorado Public Radio's mission is to provide news, information and music for people who want to be informed, enlightened and entertained.
CPR News offers in-depth news from around Colorado, the nation and the world. We're committed to covering the issues that impact Coloradans, which has led us to boost our local coverage, including developing an enhanced digital presence, doubling our daily interview show, "Colorado Matters," and launching a new arts bureau and weekly arts show.
CPR Classical has a long history and connection with the Colorado classical music community. Last year marked the 10-year anniversary of "Colorado Spotlight," our flagship program that profiles the state's major classical organization, and a decade of partnering with organizations like the Colorado Symphony, Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, Bravo! Vail, the Colorado Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. More than 400 artists have visited the CPR Performance Studio, sharing intimate performances and insight into the repertoire.
OpenAir is our newest service, launching in 2011. Like our classical service, we have a strong commitment to covering the local music scene. Aside from helping our audience discover the wealth of talent that exists here in our state, we're also known for featuring recordings from the CPR Performance Studio, which has hosted over 200 musicians in just two years. We're very committed to partnerships in our community, including the Denver Post's Underground Music Showcase, which OpenAir has participated in as a media sponsor for the last two years, to feature local and national talent.
3. When did Open Air launch and how is it doing?
OpenAir launched on Oct. 31st, 2011. Building a whole new service and generating a new audience is challenging, but we're thrilled with the progress so far. We're continuing to beef up our digital presence and are looking for partnerships that helps get the message out about new and local music.
4. How would you describe the music on the station?
OpenAir is adventurous, eclectic and local. It's music for the true music lover who wants to discover everything new in the indie-rock world. But we don't just play new music. PD Mike Flanagan also likes to focus on all of those important artists from the early days of rock that continue to have an impact on today's music.
5. What type of features do you run on the station?
We have a countdown of the week's best music "Off the Charts," hosted by MD Jessi Whitten. We are also highlighting the Colorado music scene with a locally-themed daily segment "Mile High Noon," which is hosted by Alisha Sweeney; and Retrofit hosted by PD Mike Flanagan that connects the old with the new.
6. Is it a challenge to get folks to go to AM dial?
AM certainly does not have the same sound quality or familiarity as FM so those will always be challenges. But we find that a good portion of our audience streams us online since it's easy to access on any device.
7. What do you view as the most important issue facing Public Radio today?
An issue that we've recently begun to address is moving more deeply into the digital platform. Several months ago we launched a new website that provides CPR with the opportunity to offer much more content than ever before. We added an arts bureau to our expanding news service. With these additions have come more employment opportunities in the digital content development. We've made video more of a priority for our music services and continue to build the archive of video work featuring local and national acts and musicians that pass through our performance studio.
8. What is your typical day like?
Meetings. Lots of meetings. Late in the day, I have time blocked out for listening to shows, monitoring programs ... the real work.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Working with a team of talented people who can set aside ego and work together for a common goal. That's when you can accomplish great things! Also, you can always improve what you do, no matter what the task, no matter how long you've been doing it.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
...Lots of coffee.
Last non-industry job:
Call center working on 2010 census, then customer service for United States Postal Service (at Christmas time) ... so glad to get back to radio!
First record ever purchased:
The 45 of "Light My Fire."
John Denver at the United States Air Force Academy
Favorite band of all-time:
Are you kidding, name just one band? That's not possible!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Working ... on other stuff.