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KOA (850 AM, "NewsRadio 850 KOA") is a clear channel, news/talk radio station serving the Denver, Coloradomarker, market. It is owned by Clear Channel Communications and is nicknamed "the Blowtorch of the West" for its 50,000 watt signal.

KOA was originally owned by General Electric and began broadcasting in 1924. They started with 5,000 watts, and in 1927, increased to 12,500 watts. In the early 1930s, power was raised to the current level of 50,000 watts.

Today, the antenna is located about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of the city of Denver. It is a 5/8 wave, 660 foot (198 m) guyed tower. At night the signal can be heard in over 30 states of the U.S. and over most of Canada and Mexico. KOA sometimes can be picked up in Californiamarker, which is west of the Rocky Mountains, an obstacle that prevents east coast radio stations from traveling west of the Rockies. KOA is frequently heard in northern Europe, Australia and Japan, and is one of the most frequently reported stations world wide.

KOA has a news/talk format. It is also the flagship station of the Denver Broncos football team, the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and the University of Coloradomarker Buffaloes.

Current shows

Former Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Rosen is the long running host of the 9 to 11:59 a.m. morning show. Mike is a fiscal conservative/social libertarian who occasionally has been substitute host for Rush Limbaugh. The Colorado governor and Denver mayor are regularly scheduled guests on his show. Common Rosen-isms are "tell me where you sit before you tell me where you stand" and "a politician asks what you want, an economist asks what you want more." Rosen's philosophy is reflected in his recommended reading list which includes Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, Paul Johnson and Thomas Sowell.

Other well-known local names heard on KOA include Rick Barber, who hosts the station's overnight show. Regular monthly features on Rick's show include his own unique style of commentary.

Both of the morning and afternoon programs feature constant updates of traffic conditions in the Denver area, broadcast from a helicopter it shares with NBC Station KUSA-TVmarker.

Also, Alan Roach, announcer for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies and Colorado Avalanche, is featured in the morning program. He, in conjunction with Adele Arakawa from KUSA-TVmarker (news at 5,6,& 10) are the voices for the trains at Denver International Airportmarker (DIA). Roach is recognized as being the identification voice for many radio stations nationwide.

KOA is unusual in that it is one of the few stations that air The Rush Limbaugh Show on a two-hour tape delay instead of live. Other programming includes The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold, Brian and The Judge (Brian Kilmeade and Judge Andrew Napolitano) and The Weekend with Mike McConnell.

Past shows

Radio host Alan Berg broadcast his talk show from the station, but was shot and killed by members of the white supremacist group The Order on June 18, 1984. Another host from an earlier era was Leigh Kamman, who hosted jazz programs during World War II. Kamman has long since returned to his home state of Minnesotamarker. "The Sports Zoo" with Dave Logan and Scott Hastings ran for 12 years until Hastings left in April 2005 for the Altitude Sports and Entertainment network. Hastings resumed sports radio broadcasting on KKFNmarker in January 2006 alongside former Denver Broncos lineman Alfred Williams.Ken Hamblin, "The Black Avenger," also hosted a popular and long-running show during the 1980s.

Also in the 1980s, during the weekend evening hours on KOA 85 AM, Larry Cox, and his dog Wilbur, would host the radio program, "The National Recovery Act", a listener-friendly call-in show. A certain topic may be announced and people from all over the nation, picking up the KOA signal at night, would call in with their memories. Big-band music from the 1930s & 40's was also played. The program would always end with the song "And So To Bed". In December 1987, Larry Cox began a new radio program, "No Place Like Home", broadcast from Larry's home on Chicago Creek. You would often hear the fireplace crackling and his dog, Wilbur, snoring.

Other former hosts: Tom Martino, Rollye James, Gary Tessler, George Weber.


The station was one of 10 stations honored at the 2007 NAB Crystal Radio Awards for public service awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters. Winners were honored at the Radio Luncheon on April 17, 2007, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker. The station was named Large Market Station of the Year at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters' Marconi Radio Awards.

Emergency Alert System

KOA is Colorado's primary (LP-1) Emergency Alert System station. KYGO-FM is the secondary (LP-2) station.


External links

* Listen live

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