Best Of Tucson®

Best Country Music Station

KIIM-FM 99.5

READERS' PICK: KIIM has been showing renewed energy in country as a format. With the demise of competitors Betsy and what's-his-name from the morning drive slot, KIIM's Max and Mary have gained a solid following even among people only marginally conversant in country music. Mary's slightly ditzy schtick is a pleasant counterpoint to Max's efforts to keep the show from spinning out of control as he and Skyview Traffic reporter Alan Kath spar verbally. Throw in a variety of contests, (our favorite is NASCAR Winston Cup math, using driver's numbers to form questions like, "Rick Mast divided by Michael Waltrip times Joe Nemechek equals what driver?"), plus frequent traffic reports and you've got country without the bull. Since KIIM works from a fairly limited playlist, in short order you find you know the lyrics to the latest Dixie Chicks song and believe that if Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ever split up there's no hope for mankind. The afternoon drive is home to Mark Bateman, a man who knows and loves country music, both nationally and locally, while nights are covered by the affable Danny White. Though not the most hardcore country station in the West, KIIM-FM makes it easy for even city folks to sing along.

*(Correct answer: (14/7) x 33 = Darrell Waltrip)

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: KCUB-AM 1290 Hey, your car stereo has six settings for the AM dial. Even if you're a news/sports junkie like we are, that still leaves a couple buttons. Do yourself a BIG favor and program KCUB on one of them. During a button-pushing frenzy, you might (as we did one glorious evening) "Luchenbach, Texas" by Waylon & Willie and the Boys. Or Marty Robbins' poignant "El Paso." Even ol' Hank Williams finds his way back into our ears from time to time. This is a delightful anachronism--a country oldies station playing tough and beautiful music from an era when country didn't mean blow-dried stick models. An era when the sex was in the song, not on the video.

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