Valley gets daily talk-radio show |

Valley gets daily talk-radio show

A recent transplant to the Aspen area has spun what started as a once-a-week experiment in talk radio into a Monday-through-Friday “drive-time” talk show.

KNFO station manager Josh Berhman announced Friday that Andrew Kole, host of the popular Sunday morning program “Ham and Eggs,” has accepted a job offer that will put him on the air weekdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Andrew Kole Show will begin airing on Nov. 29 on 106.1 FM., marking the first time talk radio has been a purely local affair.

Kole said at least part of the weekday show will be based on issues that come up in local newspapers, although he has yet to decide all the details about format. And he promised that “Ham and Eggs,” which brings locals together to discuss different topics each Sunday morning, will continue.

“`Ham and Eggs’ is something that started from nothing to become one of the most popular shows on KNFO,” Berhman said. “Although we don’t track ratings on Sunday mornings, I can tell you it’s been a long time since we’ve had a show that’s generated this much excitement.”

Berhman said several local businesses have said they want to sponsor the program, which currently runs uninterrupted from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. “We do have several businesses standing by, waiting to see which way we go,” he said.

Kole’s voice first crackled across local airwaves on Sept. 26, just one year after he moved to Aspen. Soon after setting up home here, he joined lunchtime pickup games that used to be played at the Red Brick School and soon became friends with Berhman. The two agreed that Kole should give radio a try after he penned two short letters the editors of both Aspen papers.

One praised local businessman Boogie Weinglass and then lambasted the press for its role in resolving the conflict between men’s basketball and gymnastics at the Red Brick gymnasium. Ultimately, basketball was moved to the Aspen Club with the help of Boogie’s wealth, but the entire debate was not given the attention Kole thought it deserved. The other letter criticized both sides of the rail debate for being rancorous and sometimes vituperative, and alienating voters.

Two weeks later he was on the air. One of Kole’s most popular shows involved about a half-dozen high schoolers and a few adults discussing the recent crime wave wrought by local teens. Several of the high schoolers interviewed that day thought the suspects, if convicted, should spend time in prison like anyone else in their situation; others thought there were reasons for going a little easier on their peers.

That program, perhaps more than any, established Kole’s presence and reputation on the airwaves. Its success convinced Kole to dedicate one program a month to the area’s teen-agers, giving them the forum for comment many say they haven’t had.

“I think it’s a great idea, and, if they can incorporate teens into two shows a month, it would be even better. It’s good for us to be able to get our point of view across to the community – sometimes we’re left out of the conversation, even when it affects us,” said Mae Whitmer, a 17-year-old senior at Aspen High School. She participated on yesterday’s program on the 11 p.m. curfew for teens under 18 that has been a local law since 1962.

“People here like to talk. This is one of those sit around the fireplace and talk kind of towns,” Kole said. “I am amazed at the response I’ve gotten, and how much I enjoy doing this.”

Kole, 49, lives in a condo on Cooper Avenue and works as a marketing consultant. He volunteers as a coach for the Aspen High School basketball program and has filled in as a substitute teacher a few times.

In past lives, Kole, a native New Yorker, he has been a small businessman and a columnist. In L.A. and New York, Kole and his now ex-wife ran a marketing and advertising firm that pitched films for Warner Bros. studio and plays for Broadway. More recently, Kole wrote a column called “Next” at an alternative weekly in South Beach, near Miami. “Ham and Eggs” is his first foray into the world of talk radio.

“He’s effective,” Berhman said. “Once you start listening to it, you can’t turn it off. That’s the sign that something is working.”

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