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A Good Amount of Geek


But don’t even think about firing that query his way on the KBCO Morning Show’s weekly trivia contest where listeners try to stump the all-knowing music god. You can’t ask Buffet questions—it’s one of the growing number of quirky rules about which trivia is off limits.

The Sage is just plain tired of Buffet.

And since he’s the pompous alter ego of host Bret Saunders, he’ll strike you down (with a lightening bolt sound effect) and disconnect. In most other cases, he simply embarrasses listeners by answering seemingly obscure classic rock trivia as if it were common knowledge. The Sage is only on the air one hour a week—and the character is in absolute contrast to the down-to-earth Saunders. The only similarity between the two is the music-loving geekiness that the Front Range has fallen for.

Perhaps geekiness likes company.

“Those who call into The Sage are a bunch of freaks,” he says. “I love how people can be about little details. It reveals how key music is into their lives.”

For the erudite music listener, KBCO is to metro-area radio what red wine is to a college tailgate—and it’s the primary reason for the station’s success over the past 30 years. As the morning personality, Saunders embodies that spirit, compacting wit and humor with a true passion for music.

The bespectacled 43-year-old is wide-awake for our 10 a.m. conversation, minutes after completing the mornings’ broadcast. His goofy, friendly voice matches his average build and looks that are reminiscent of an approachable professor.

He began as a DJ in 1982 and has been at KBCO for 10 years. As the Boulder station celebrates its 30th birthday this month with a gala concert at the Paramount Theatre, Saunders reflects on the changes the station has experienced as it’s grown from an independent airwave to a corporate subsidy (Clear Channel). It still manages an air of independence.

Discussing Boulder County, it’s clear Saunders is here to stay, perhaps long enough to help KBCO ring in another momentous birthday. “I think if you visit here, you’ll want to live here,” Saunders says. “It’s the most wonderful place to live in America. A lot of the smartest people in the country live here.”

And, apparently, some pretty geeky music lovers. Saunders laughs at the notion that he’s a ‘music nerd’—and confirms it anyway. “I’m really neurotic about music, it’s my obsession. I’ve been really lucky to cultivate it into a career. I’ve always loved the sound of the radio, the abstractness of it, a non-visual presence, ever since I was a little kid.”

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