Willobee Carlan, program director for the radio station NV89, is leaving the Reno broadcasting market to move to Denver, Colorado, and a job at Colorado Public Radio’s OpenAir music discovery station. He leaves in about a month.
How long have you been a Northern Nevada broadcaster?
Well, I’ve been here in Reno for over seven years. I was brought here by Shamrock Communications to run KRZQ and Bob FM … and Martini Radio. And then they sold off their stations … and kind of gave me the heads-up that they were selling everything. I started looking for a job out of market. I was getting ready to accept an offer to move to Cleveland, and then I got a frantic email from a consultant friend of mine. He said, “You can’t leave Reno.” And I’m like, “Why?” And he said, “I’ve got a job for you.” I said, “Where?” And he said, “I can’t tell you.” It was like confidential, top secret. He just asked me to trust him for a couple of weeks, and I’m glad I did because I got on with Nevada Public Radio. … It really worked out.
You’re leaving Nevada Public Radio to go to CPR’s OpenAir, the music discovery station. What can you tell me about it?
So I’m going from Nevada Public Radio to Colorado Public Radio. It’s a similar company but much larger—a larger market and a larger company. They have the NPR station, which is the number one station in Denver. They have a classical station, and then they have OpenAir, which is their indie music station. It’s very similar to the makeup of Nevada Public Radio.
That’s cool. Music discovery is something you’re well known for with NV89.
Right. So, they reached out and asked me if I was interested. I’ve always wanted to live in Denver. If it wasn’t Denver, I probably would have said no.
What about Denver appeals?
Everything. It’s been on my bucket list of places I’ve always wanted to work. I’ve interviewed in Denver probably for four different jobs I never got, over the course of my career. I’ve always wanted to live there. It just never happened. When this opportunity presented itself, I had to at least explore it—and I’m glad I did.
You’ll be OpenAir’s program director. What are you looking forward to most?
I’m looking forward to two things: continuing the quest for music discovery at a radio station that breaks all the molds. And I’m also looking forward to the very vibrant local music scene in Denver. There are a lot of great bands from Denver. … Devotchka is from Denver. We play them on NV89.
What will you miss about this community?
I’m going to miss all of the friends I’ve made here. It’s just an awesome city. We love Reno. We had no plans of ever leaving here. I’m going to miss Lake Tahoe. I’m going to miss the amazing buffets. I’m going to miss the blossoming of Reno that’s coming. …
Well, we wish you the best of luck.
I appreciate that. Thank you for even thinking of me. I’ll probably have to have a going away party.