In Memoriam: Delaney Utterback

By JACK BILBROUGH

Former KRCC station manager and CC graduate, Delaney Utterback, died Aug. 24 at the age of 45. Utterback first worked for KRCC through a work-study program in 1993, advancing to the role of office manager in 1998 and station manager in 2007. In 2015, he assumed the title of digital manager before leaving the station that June.

Vicky Gregor, current Music Coordinator for KRCC, remembers Utterback for his taste in music. “He was an amazing DJ,” she reminisces, “whether live, on-air, or built from the ground-up for a pre-produced specialty show.  I have been in his presence while he held a packed dance floor in thrall for a sweat-drenched hour, I have witnessed him build a set of music of such beauty and fragility that there was no choice but to weep. And rumor has it that he once manipulated two turntables and two CD players, simultaneously, live on-air, and made a new song. A very good one.”

Utterback also had a remarkable knack for seeing the positive. He recounted his time as “Cubby the Bear,” a Southern Colorado radio mascot, in an interview for KRCC radio. “At the time I’m a DJ at the annex, I have this big mop of Robert Smith spiky black hair that’s been crimped, and I look like a complete freak, I drive a car that’s been spray painted, and I’m pretty much the biggest outcast in the entire city. But, at the same time, I’m able put all of my hair up into one pony-tail and put a Cubby the Bear head on and go have a respectable job, and that’s sort of where I landed sociologically at the time, and it worked really well.”

He continued by recounting his favorite parts of the job: “What a great juxtaposition it was that there was this Robert Smith hair death rocker underneath Cubby the Bear, and that Cubby the Bear was this icon for all the children of southern Colorado… But I got into it after a while, you go to these appearances and you realize just how incredibly happy you make some people so, I got into it. I learned how to do the little Cubby dance.” Utterback’s transformative positivity spread beyond the realm of radio, in ways both small and large.

Another of Vicky Gregor’s stories begins with Brussels sprouts, or rather her loudly decrying them. She remembers Utterback overhearing her repulsion, and his insistence that “using their nutritional value and interesting shapes to support his stand,” he would change her mind. A few days later, when Utterback brought a bowl of Brussels sprouts to the station, she couldn’t help but eat them all. “When I asked him for his secret (Organic? Fresh from the garden? Special blend of herbs?) he laughed and, perhaps remembering being the punk in a Cubby suit, said, “God no… Cook ‘em in bacon grease!’”

Delaney’s memorial service was held at Shove Chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

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