Denver Pubcaster Gets Tower Approval

In what Denver broadcasters view as a sign that they may finally get local approval for their long-delayed DTV towers, public station KRMA (Channel 6) received an endorsement from the Jefferson County Commission on its proposal for a 135-foot tower that would include both analog and DTV antennas on the antenna farm on Mt. Morrison.

The unusual structure would consist of five vertical towers tied together like a fence, said Rocky Mountain PBS President and GM James N. Morgese. The 135-foot project would replace two smaller structures and house the two KRMA antennas, public radio stations KUVO and KVOD, a religious station (Channel 23), a Paxson affiliate (Channel 59), a Telemundo affiliate (Channel 63) and other tenants.

"I don't know of anything like this in the country," said Morgese, who said the project could be complete and the antennas broadcasting in 18 months if all goes well.

The 2-1 decision Feb. 4 to rezone the site is expected to be finalized by the county March 11 and could be the conclusion of a long battle for KRMA, which now broadcasts in digital on a low-power signal under temporary authority from a downtown building. Its analog broadcast comes from across Interstate 70 on the Lookout Mountain antenna farm, where a group of commercial stations wants to build its DTV antennas but has been rebuffed by county officials in the past.

The latest DTV proposal for Lookout Mountain, for KMGH (ABC), KCNC (CBS), KUSA (NBC) and KTVD (UPN) (and KRMA, until its fate on Mt. Morrison is certain) comes before county planners March 5 and March 12. The county's earlier rejections have caused Denver to have the slowest DTV rollout of any top-10 market. Local residents, led by the group CARE (Canyon Area Residents for the Environment), have opposed both projects on environmental, safety and aesthetic grounds.