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Denver’s talk-radio duo rules airwaves with civility
Question of the Day
DENVER | “The Caplis & Silverman Show” tackles the thorniest political issues of the day, but it’s one radio program people can’t say lacks civility.
And they credit being lawyers.
The hosts — Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman — don’t see eye to eye on religion, abortion, gay rights and a swarm of other topics covered on their weekday show. They still let each other finish a thought before lobbing the next verbal volley.
And even when things get heated, which is routinely the case, Mr. Caplis is quick to begin a rebuttal by referring to fellow lawyer Mr. Silverman as his “brother.”
“It’s our courtroom training,” Mr. Silverman explains. “You don’t interrupt somebody in court. You let somebody talk, and then respond. It’s bad listening if you’re talking over each other … . I would say it’s common courtesy, but it’s just not common enough right now.”
“You see people cut the opponent off when they’re about to get beat,” Mr. Caplis said.
At a time when highly rated talk-radio and partisan TV-news stations are coming under increasing fire for fostering a national climate of incivility, a kinder, gentler talk show without name-calling, insults or other histrionics sounds like a recipe for failure.
Except that “Caplis & Silverman” has been on the air here since 2004 — from 3 to 6 p.m. on KHOW-AM 630 locally, with the show available to the rest of the country via live streaming and podcasts — and often beats national talk-show hosts heard in the market and breaks stories that reverberate across Colorado.
Consider the time Scott McInnis, the six-term U.S. representative and Republican front-runner in Colorado’s gubernatorial race, whose campaign started to go downhill after he swung at — and missed — an obvious question by Mr. Silverman about charges he misused money meant for his re-election campaign.
Other statewide movers and shakers avoid the show altogether. Count new Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper among those who won’t grace the KHOW studios when Mr. Caplis and Mr. Silverman are working the radio beat.
The former Denver mayor made the decision after the co-hosts grilled him on not releasing the names of the charitable organizations he contributed to and his statements regarding racially motivated attacks in Denver last year. Nearly 700 people currently “like” the Facebook page dubbed “Why is Hickenlooper Hiding from Caplis and Silverman?”
“The only people who don’t come on our show are those who can’t back up their ideas, can’t answer the tough questions,” says Mr. Caplis, 54.
Michael Harrison, founder and editor of Talkers Magazine, which covers the talk-radio industry, said the duo’s approach makes them novel in today’s market.
“Yeah, talk radio gets a little wild and woolly,” he said. “At the present time, they are not the norm. It is unusual, and it’s very good.”
The Hannity-Colmes, Parker-Spitzer comparisons to “Caplis & Silverman” aren’t as neat as one might expect. Mr. Caplis is a rock-ribbed conservative, while Mr. Silverman is merely left-of-center on most issues. He ran to the right of Bill Ritter — Colorado’s just-retired Democratic governor — when the two competed for the district attorney’s office in 1996, with Mr. Silverman running on the platform “politics and prosecution are a poor mix.”
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