November 4th was a big day for Clear Creek. For the first time in nearly two decades, the CCHS Golddiggers got to the football playoffs. They played a gritty, hard-fought game. Though they lost the game, the team—players and coaches—won the day, doing themselves and the Clear Creek community proud.
Like most, I wasn’t able to attend the game. But thanks to KYGT, I was able to listen to Peter Werlin and Andy Wann’s riveting play-by-play commentary. Cheering for kids I didn’t know, pulling for them to do well. Because it was my team, too. Our team. Clear Creek’s team.
That broadcast was not the first Clear Creekers could tune in to be part of an event they couldn’t attend. Recently, Congressman Jared Polis held a town hall meeting at the United Center. Thanks to behind-the-scenes Goathead engineers Greg Markle and Dave Harvey, the forum could be heard on the radio and via streaming at www.clearcreekradio.com.
Over the 22 years it has been part of the Clear Creek scene, KYGT has grown, morphed, and adapted without losing its small-town, mountain flavor and character. It’s become the broadcast source for community news in the forms of PSA’s—public service announcements—and, as noted above, community events. Three mornings each week, Doug Glidden and his co-hosts deliver news, commentary, and interviews of local leaders and dignitaries. The variety of music, from Mozart, jazz, and blues to country, folk, and rock, satisfies most tastes.
In becoming what it is, the Goat has defied the odds and broadcasting gospel.
“We do not live in a large enough demographic to support a radio station,” KYGT co-founder and long-term General Manager Greg Markle said. “Nevertheless, we have and have had one for 22 years due to the wonderful support and participation of this unique community.”
In August, friend and fellow author Laurel McHargue was a guest on my show, the Rabbit Hole. Laurel opened by thanking the Goat for providing the opportunity to talk about her books. But more important, even critical, she noted, was how Clear Creek is most fortunate to have a community radio station. “My husband,” Laurel said, “is the director of emergency preparedness in Lake County (Leadville) and wishes he had a radio station like KYGT that he could use.”
I asked Sheriff Rick Albers about the role the Goat plays in terms of emergency preparedness.
“KYGT is a valuable resource to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “As Sheriff, I have the authority to dial into the station and interrupt live programming to convey emergency information through an Emergency Alert System (EAS). Other than CodeRed, sometimes referred to as the ‘Reverse Notification’ system, there are no other avenues available to notify the public at a moment’s notice.”
He recalled KYGT’s work during the 2013 floods and its ongoing role as Clear Creek’s key information outlet.
“Every evening at 7:00 pm, The Goat hosted a panel of local officials which provided listeners the latest details related to those specific areas in Clear Creek County affected by the floods.
“The Goat also relays monthly Public Service Announcements, sponsored by our counties Public Safety Committee, to the residents of Clear Creek County through the airwaves and on the internet.”
In addition to immediate benefits, the station brings ancillary ones. KYGT is listened to across the US and in 43 countries that we’re aware of, spreading the news about the treasure we call home. Businesses directly benefit. My Writers Talk guests regularly share with me their dining and shopping experiences. One was so impressed by the community, he contacted me about finding a restaurant to host his group’s meeting. I suggested several. He settled on the Wildfire and was quite pleased with the quality of the service and food.
For more than two decades, the Goat, the soul of the Clear Creek community, has survived because of pluck and passion, donors, local sponsors, IGA—intergovernmental agreement—funding, and a few rabbits pulled from a hat.
KYGT, however, is at a juncture. Its long-term viability is at stake. For it to survive, to continue fulfilling the vital role often taken for granted, it will take a community commitment beyond what has carried it to date.
Next Time: Sustaining the Goat.