March 16, 2023

Hues of Heritage: A Celebration of Women's History Month Featuring Nikki Swarn

Tai Bickham


March is Women's History Month! It is a time to honor and celebrate the contributions and achievements made by individuals that identify as women in this country, past, and present. 

Nikki Swarn has been a voice and a leader in Denver's broadcast radio industry for over 20 years. She has held leadership roles at KS107.5, KYGO, ESPN and Alice 105.9. In 2019, she founded THE DROP 104.7, "The People's Station for Hip-Hop & R&B", and is the General Manager of THE DROP and KUVO jazz, the first African American female appointed to this position in Colorado. We chatted with Nikki as part of our Hues of Heritage series, spotlighting those within our community who create, educate, motivate and encourage exploration. 

Check out a snippet of the questions from our interview, and watch the full video below.

headshot of Nikki Swarn

What do you love about Denver? 

Everything. It has come to be a safe place. and comfortable place. And everything from the mountains, to the people, to the music. 

What do you want to see more from Denver? 

Acceptance. Viability for people. I think it's expensive here now. It used to be a little bit more accessible. People could come here, they could vacation here, affordably. They could find a job and settle in. I think it's a challenge now. So I think accessibility is a big deal. 

What do you like about MCA Denver? 

It has been just so beautiful to see the inclusiveness, the partnership develop from just a really small, tiny mustard seed, into this amazing dynamic that is impacting our communities. I love the fact that together, we are bringing fine art to all communities. It's not exclusionary. It's writing a new story about what art looks like in Colorado. The sneaker ball was amazing. I never thought that we would ever turn up in a museum like that! It's just a movement unto itself.

group shot of The Drop employees

Image: THE DROP team at Soleful: The Dirty South Closing Party. Courtesy of Nikki Rae Photography (2023). 


What inspired you to get into radio broadcasting? 

I had a mentor named, Trina McGuire - Collier. I called her and was like, “What could I do? How could I get involved? I kind of wanna do this thing where you get to go out and talk to people.” She told me, it sounds like you wanna do promotions. I had no idea what that meant. She suggested that I call radio stations and TV stations, and I literally picked up the phone and I called KUVO jazz, KS1075, and I landed with 95.7 KHIH, which is now The Party. 

What would you like to see with radio in the future?

I'd like to see more inclusiveness, especially within communities of color, the LGBTQIA2S+ community should have more spaces to amplify those stories. I think radio and the sound itself being more inclusive for diversification regarding artistry, the relationship between record labels and radio being a little bit different. 

We're seeing very small numbers of women in leadership. It is a challenge and it's been a challenge. I'm hoping that in my tenure, I can invest in the next round of people that can come in and make their impact and their ideologies known as women leaders. It's critical. Our business depends on these fresh voices, and it definitely depends on a woman's perspective. 

What inspires you? 

Love, love is what inspires me. 

Check out the full interview with Nikki, below:


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