- Olivier Le Moal /Shutterstock
- Upstart station KCOS plays more than 300 Colorado artists, including weekly remotes from the Gold Room.
The start of May brings good news for local musicians and fans alike, as another outlet for local music is emerging on the airwaves — or, at least, the virtual airwaves.
Mark White, founder of KCOS Digital Media, came to appreciate the local music scene as a photographer and felt there was a dearth of representation of Colorado music.
"I'm so tired of corporate radio selection and repetition," White says, explaining the origins of the station. "Our talented musicians and bands needed an outlet to play their music after learning their craft, spending hard-earned money on CD production, working tirelessly, and still not being played."
After White was forced into retirement following a battle with cancer, he felt he needed a new project, and began work on an interview radio show in 2015. This project, White says, turned out to be a springboard to the development of KCOS Digital Media, which officially launched in September 2016 and consists entirely of music from Colorado-based acts.
"We already had the catalog of music and are continuously asking for more music from all over the state. It's basically an export product, or our gift to the world."
Six months later, KCOS boasts an already-impressive array of programming. The station hosts live, bimonthly remote broadcasts from Stargazers Theatre, a weekly remote broadcast from The Gold Room showcasing an individual band or artist, a 24-hour, all-blues show each Sunday, and a planned late-night, all-metal program to launch in the near future. White says the horizontal growth of the internet station, in tandem with its social media presence, will hopefully capture the attention of an audience that appreciates musical diversity.
"We follow the cooperative logic," says White, adding that the station is always accepting submissions of local artists' works. "We wouldn't be serving the region and state if we didn't include everyone. We've received a few comments that hearing blues, jazz, Americana, reggae, alternative and metal in a random sequence can be a bit much, but the positive comments far outweigh any negative."
As if this weren't ambitious enough, the station is also working on a series of additional projects, including a nonprofit, Mountain Kidz Music, which assists children in the region who otherwise couldn't afford musical instruments or instruction. A music-therapy project for those with special needs, hospitalized children, and veterans also remains in the works. It seems a tall set of orders for a project with a tight budget and four partners, but White is wholly optimistic about KCOS' goals, both in the short and long term.
"We're hoping to help the vision of the Springs being the next Austin," says White.
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