In Denver, the generation that grew up in the 1950s and 1960s had its world-view formed by KIMN Radio, located at 950 on the AM radio dial. The famous cinder block studio with its memorable “KIMN” sign was stationed up on 20th Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood. From this temple, larger-than-life disc jockeys broadcasted the greatest hits over the airwaves. Under the ownership of Ken Palmer, the station became the dominant Top 40 music station in town. Newspapers reported that anywhere a crowd was gathered waiting for the Beatles to play Red Rocks on August 26, 1964, all of the transistor radios were tuned to KIMN. Young adults listened on their portable radios, at teen department stores and in the car; everyone who wanted a piece of the music scene listened in to KIMN.
During this era of more innocent shock radio, KIMN’s popular record spinners were kings in their own right. Leading the pack was Pogo Poge, who would do almost anything to get people to listen to KIMN Radio. He earned his name after hopping from Denver to Boulder on a pogo stick. He sat atop a flagpole for days and once played the Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley” for 18 hours straight. The most famous stunt he masterminded put him in the hospital. After spending nearly two weeks in a snake pit with more than 100 snakes, his camping chair collapsed and a water moccasin bit him three times.
Making his debut in 1963, DJ Jay Mack became notorious for his cast of crazy characters including “Betty Jo Bioloski,” “Niles Lischness” and “Farley McKluth.” Mack would prerecord witty one-liners from these characters to play between songs. Another record-spinner, Hal “Baby” Moore, was consistently voted Denver’s top disc jockey in the local Harmony Records shop poll. In ‘68, the station brought on Danny Davis as a superstar disc jockey to run the morning show, the same year Billboard Magazine named KIMN Station of the Year.
All of this attention garnered the station some nicknames of its own; Boss Radio, 95 Fabulous and the Denver Tiger. The jockeys kept coming, too, and each generation had new voices: Roy “the Ding Dong Daddy of Denver” Gunderson (also known as Roy the Bell Boy); Royce Johnson; Boogie Bell; Bill “the Night Creature” Holley; Robert E Lee and Chuck Buell. The station’s owners knew listeners tuned in because of their DJs, and they were relentless in recruiting the best jockeys from other radio stations to insure an unbeatable lineup.
The station highlighted popular rock and roll bands and sponsored concerts with a mixed lineup of national stars and local acts, drawing their biggest crowds ever. Songs by The Astronauts, The Fogcutters and The Moonrakers were played alongside tracks from then up-and-coming bands like The Action Brass, Denny & Jay, Gary Stites and Ronnie Kae.
The news department featured the late “Sky Spy” Don Martin, who flew above Denver’s rush-hour skies when Interstate 25 extended only from Broadway to the notorious “mousetrap,” which he named. At the time, KIMN’s traffic-reporting plane was one of only five in the country.
Contests included DJs broadcasting live—in bed—from a dream house in Denver’s new Broomfield Heights suburb. The house went to the listener who guessed most closely the number of continuous hours the jocks could broadcast without sleep.
In the late 1960s, FM radio began to take over and ratings fell. KIMN was sold, and all the classic disc jockeys were let go.
The station held on the AM with oldies-based adult-contemporary music for a few more years, garnering attention with public events, but the reputation it once had was long gone. At exactly noon on April 6th, 1988, KIMN Boss Radio stopped broadcasting forever and KYGO, an all-country station, took its place at 950 on the AM radio dial.
An interesting sidenote about one of KIMN’s personalities–Hal Moore is notably the most popular Denver radio host in Colorado history (he retired in 2019 after decades on Denver’s airwaves.) He left KIMN for KHOW and was known as one of the duo of the famed Hal & Charley show, along with Charley Martin. It was one of their shows that was playing on the car radio in the 1970s classic film, The Shining, as Jack Nicholson drove in the mountains of Colorado to Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel.