Yes, DIA plays music now and people are really digging it

One area man called to ask if he could get a CD of their playlist. That’s not how it works, actually.

The newly rennovated end of Denver International Airport's B concourse. Nov. 17, 2021.

The newly rennovated end of Denver International Airport's B concourse. Nov. 17, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
KEVIN-lighter

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know Denver International Airport plays music in its terminal and concourses. Passengers who haven’t flown to Denver since the pandemic have not had a chance to experience this new-ish feature. It’s apparently made travel a little more enjoyable for a lot of people.

This month, DIA events manager Mike Meyers and his colleagues celebrate one year since they finally got tunes to fill the air. Meyers, who’s worked at the airport for about three years, told us it’s been on a to-do list since before he started his job, but it was always a very low priority. 2020 changed things.

“After COVID, I think people were just more open to each and every opportunity to make people feel better about traveling,” he told us. “The top leadership at the airport said, ‘You know? Let’s give this a try.’”

They started with holiday music, non-religious stuff that would fly with a wide audience. Meyers said people liked it so much that they began writing and calling in to thank airport staff.

“The response from the airlines, from the passengers, from people picking up passengers was overwhelming,” he said.

It was all the proof officials needed to keep the music playing so, in January, they switched to something less seasonal: Elton John, Whitney Houston and even some AC/DC.

Here’s a playlist of DIA tunes to get you through your day:

People continued to dig the new soundtrack, and Meyers said he hears high praise for the music two or three times a week. About a month ago, a local man actually called to see if he could get a copy of their CD. It wasn’t the first time someone’s asked, but that’s not how this works.

Instead, DIA uses a streaming service that lets Meyers mix and match stations to achieve a perfectly balanced playlist. In the non-holiday season, he said the formula is 60 percent “family-friendly,” 30 percent “’80s greatest hits” and 10 percent “singer-songwriter.”

“The reason the singer-songwriter percent is so low is because we are the home of John Denver, and I felt we should have a little bit of John Denver playing at the airport,” he said. “In all honesty, I’ve only heard John Denver one time in a year.”

DIA customers will hear that non-religious holiday music from now until the first few days of January. People passing through the Great Hall between Dec. 14 and Christmas Eve will have something a little special to stimulate their ears. The airport has rented a grand piano and hired four local musicians to play daily from 11 a.m. to 2p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

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