Summit Public Radio & TV’s roots on Baldy Mountain began during the late fifties with a group of community residents who wanted to bring television to the Blue River Valley. Some enterprising Breckenridge residents knew the perfect spot to receive and retransmit a signal from Denver would be a high altitude one. In an effort to discover that perfect spot a crew of local “techies” rigged a television and antenna on a 4WD International Travel-All. Using this “advanced” technology, the crew monitored television reception as they explored the county driving old roads and climbing as high as possible. These pioneers discovered the perfect spot for reception: Mount Baldy.
Specialized electronic equipment was the next challenge for the pioneers. A proof-of-concept television translator, powered by a gasoline generator, was installed on Baldy around 1957. Could a reliable signal be transposed from this location? Every day for a month a hearty and dedicated volunteer drove up to the Baldy Electronics Site to refill the generator’s tank and fire it up again to get the translator back on the air. Folks in Breckenridge without their own TV gathered at the Old County Courthouse on Lincoln Street to view one that was set up there. Television reception was available until the generator ran out of fuel. Evidently, the reception was deemed good enough to warrant a permanent power supply.
In order to accomplish this a power line would need to be strung to the Baldy Site to provide a continuous power supply. A volunteer group of 50 supporters was assembled from the local community. After locating some salvageable utility poles that had been in service to one of the local mining operations north of Breckenridge, they were given picks and shovels and were assigned places to dig. Holes were dug, poles were erected, and the power line was strung, pole-to-pole, from French Gulch up to a transformer at the ridge of Baldy. The switch was flipped, the power was on, and Summit Public Radio & TV was on its way.
Today’s Summit Public Radio & TV is an outgrowth of this informal start-up group. In September of 1997, a small number of individuals met to discuss protecting and expanding what past groups had done to bring network TV and KBCO FM radio to Summit County. Summit Public Radio and TV, Inc. was formally incorporated in June of 1998 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with an all-volunteer, non-paid staff.