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.
Frying Pans West - (1968) Hosted by Mr. Sam Arnold and produced by Mr. Richard “Dick” Siceloff, the 1968 program is a compilation of recipes, anecdotes and little known facts about the early West and our American gastronomic heritage.
Glenarm Place - (1983) Glenarm Place showcased a variety of local musical talent. It premiered May 7 1983, 10:30 PM. Produced by Kaye Lavine, hosted by Hank Troy and directed by David Ryan. DVD copies of “Glenarm Place” in the SAM archives. Performances were simulcast in stereo with KCFR Radio (90.1 FM)
The Naturalists - (1973) KRMA’s most ambitious project yet was undertaken beginning March 11, 1973. Titled “The naturalists,” it is a program about four of America’s greatest naturalists: John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs and Theodore Roosevelt. Jim Case, KRMA’s “Special Projects Cine Unit,” under the direction of Jim Case, produced the four-hour program series. Case believed the understanding of the work of these four men would be a valuable addition to the life of the nation. The four half-hour programs were produced by KRMA-TV under the supervision of the special projects director, James Case. The objective of the series, is “to help contemporary society to re-learn the values and laws of nature these men came to slowly and naturally.” To assure accuracy, each shooting script was authenticated by a “content authority”--a man or woman who personally knew the naturalist or is an authority on his life and work.
Stateline - (1983) Stateline was a program dedicated to coverage of the Colorado State legislature.
Rocky Mountain Legacy - (premiered in July, 1994) Rocky Mountain Legacy sought out the stories of those who bravely faced the risks associated with any worthwhile endeavor. Colorado was populated in the earliest days, by seekers: people seeking wealth, health or the wide open spaces of the west. The gold rush days and the tuberculosis epidemic of the 1800s, the growth of the railroad industry in the mountain region and the Great Depression - these were just some of the reasons people were drawn to the Rocky Mountains. Through journal entries, diaries and interviews, the hardship and sacrifice as well as the triumph and satisfaction that built both urban and rural communities across Colorado are depicted in Rocky Mountain Legacy.