KRMA-TV (Rocky Mountain PBS) first went on the air on January 30, 1956, as Denver’s instructional TV station licensed to Denver Public Schools. As Denver’s first educational station, it broadcast for only two hours that inaugural day from a temporary studio in the Emily Griffith Opportunity School in downtown Denver. KRMA was the 5th TV station to go on air in the Denver metro area and was Denver’s first non-commercial station. It was the 18th educational television station in the country.
Records show that as early as 1950, the Denver Public Schools, Denver Public Library, The University of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Radio Council of Denver and the Adult Education Council met to discuss educational television for Denver. In 1952, a community meeting was held to discuss the idea. This followed the FCC’s action to set aside 242 channels in the VHG and UHF frequencies for nonprofit educational stations. In the fall of 1953, the Denver Area Council for Educational Television was established to oversee the work and mission of KRMA for more than 30 years.
On May 1, 1987, the Denver Public Schools transferred the license to the Council for Public Television, Channel 6, Inc. Following this decision, KRMA started a capital campaign to raise $14.5 million to move on October 30, 1992 to its current studios in Denver at 1089 Bannock Street. Rocky Mountain PBS continues to be at this location today and has expanded its presence in Colorado by adding two additional studios, KTSC (Pueblo/Colorado Springs) and KRMJ (Grand Junction).
In recent years, Rocky Mountain PBS has expanded by merging with I-News, a Colorado-based nonprofit that produces in-depth journalism for media outlets across the region and KUVO Radio, a jazz, blues and news public radio station.
Rocky Mountain PBS has been on the air for 59 years and will celebrate its 60th anniversary on January 30, 2016.
Each week, nearly 900,000 people throughout Colorado turn to Rocky Mountain PBS to discover inspiring local, national and international programming; find diverse viewpoints; score front row center seats to world-class performances; and experience lifelong learning opportunities.
Rocky Mountain PBS is now Colorado’s only statewide television network, with stations in Denver (KRMA), Pueblo/Colorado Springs (KTSC), Steamboat Springs (KRMZ), Grand Junction (KRMJ) and Durango (KRMU).
The entire history of Rocky Mountain PBS is being archived by an award-winning volunteer-driven project known as “Station’s Archived Memories” (SAM). The archive project was founded in 2000. To date, the dedicated group of volunteers has meticulously collected and digitally archived over 50,000 photographs, 195 Oral History interviews, 15,000 Station documents, 3,500 Memorabilia pieces as well as inventoried 11,500 KRMA/Rocky Mountain PBS productions and digitally preserved 700 local programs. To learn more about the archives at Rocky Mountain PBS or to learn how any public media station can establish an archive project, contact SAM@rmpbs.org.