Monday, June 3, 2013

Cedar Rapids Radio: KCFI Goes ‘Retro’ With Live Personalities

Dolly Fortier was sizing up her new broadcast home.

"It's hard to teach an old chick a new trick, but eventually, I get it," she quipped about the technology involved.

That's not why station manager Jim Coloff is hiring her. 

According to, he's hiring her for her on-air savvy, and a personality as comfy and homespun as a well-worn couch.

He's taking fifty-something radio station KCFI back to the future with an eclectic mix of oldies and live on-air talent. And Fortier, 76, a 40-year veteran of the local radio industry, is leading the charge, coming out of retirement after four years.

The station is going back to on-air music programming starting with Fortier, who will host a midday show and have a "lunch" session over the noon hour. She's already storing up her trademark bits of trivia to share with listeners.

Dolly Fortier
"I really did miss radio," Fortier said. "When you get desperate enough to buy a house, you now you need something to do," she kidded.

"There is a trend to get back to local radio and local live DJs," Coloff said. "The trend 10, 15 years ago was to automate, get rid of people. But there's a trend that medium-sized and smaller companies are trying to reverse that. Radio owners are investing in talent and facilities to be more live and local, which we've always believed in."

The station has gone back to a home-grown 1950s, '60s and '70s "oldies" format --- home grown in the sense that Jim's father, Tony Coloff, who founded the 11-station family-owned company, is mixing all the music for the station himself and is its on-air "imaging" voice for station promos. The elder Coloff is a longtime former 1960s radio on-air personality with old KLWW in Cedar Rapids and in the Twin Cities.

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