Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
The Lake Cedar Group TV site we showed you last week may be the most impressive – or at least newest – site up on Lookout Mountain above Denver, but even after consolidating what had been three separate stations’ sites, it’s still far from the only tower site up here.
Just north of the Lake Cedar tower (though it’s a bit of a drive along winding roads to get here), the original Lookout Mountain transmitter site is now a cluster of towers shared by Tribune’s KWGN (Channel 2) and a whole bunch of FMs. Let’s start with the FMs, which are mostly iHeart’s signals, operating from a fairly new building perched on the side of the hill down a steep stairway from the KWGN parking lot.
This two-story building is chock-full of FM: upstairs, there are parallel rows of transmitters for iHeart’s KPTT (95.7), KTCL (93.3) and KRFX (103.5), plus auxes for what was then KBPI (106.7) and for Entercom’s KALC (105.9); downstairs, there’s a room full of combiner modules and a small transmitter rack for Colorado Public Radio’s “Open Air” AAA station, KVOQ (102.3), a little class A signal that migrated from Strasburg, on the plains east of Denver, all the way to its current site up here on Lookout.
Next door, KWGN itself (now on RF 34) is the descendant of the very first TV station in Denver back in 1952, KFEL-TV – and in fact, I think the backup tower here at the KWGN site is the original 1952 TV tower. We didn’t get to see the KWGN transmitter room itself, but did get a peek into one of the small FM spaces at the end of the building, where 106.7 makes its home. (Dig the original BE transmitter display CRT screen, which still works, though it’s dimmed over the years!)
Entercom’s KALC makes its home in another one of these rooms, I believe – and Unimas affiliate KTFD (Channel 50/RF 28) is up here as well.
This prominent site shows off best from the south – the photo at left below is from the Lake Cedar site, showing the iHeart FM tower, the big KWGN tower and the old KWGN aux tower to its right.
Just to the left of the gate into the iHeart complex, another driveway leads north to a two-story building crowned by a cluster of short towers full of low-power FM and TV antennas.
This is the “Mauna site,” and the transmitter room on its ground floor is home to a whole bunch of FM translators: K205FV (88.9) for EMF’s Air1 (fed from the HD2 of KLDV 91.1 over in Morrison), K225BS (92.9, with sports KDCO 1340), K231BQ (94.1, with iHeart’s KOA 850), K245CM (96.9, with Chuck Lontine’s “Cloud” KKCL 1550 Golden) and K280GB (103.9, also fed from EMF’s KLDV).
There is – or at least was – LPTV in this room, too, though I’m not sure any of it is still on the air at this point.
There’s a similar cluster of translators crowning another building a quarter-mile or so to the south, just off the Cedar Lake loop not far from the driveway to the big TV site.
This one-story building perched on the edge of a slope looks like it was once someone’s vacation cabin – there’s cozy wood paneling on the walls and even a fireplace in one corner!
But the former living space is now filled with racks of translators for all the tenants who call this site home. Crawford’s here with its K264BO (100.7, with KLZ 560) and K237GG (95.3, with KLDC 810); Entercom’s “Comedy 103.1” (K276FK, fed by KQKS 107.5’s HD2), KUNC public radio’s K219LF (91.7); Spanish-language KBNO 1280’s K249EX (97.7); religious K213EG (90.5) and K292FM (106.3) and sports K284BO (104.7, fed from KDCO 1340) – they’re all sharing space here.
Look down the hill and across the Cedar Lake loop road and you can see the distinctively beam-tilted tower of Entercom’s KQMT (99.5)/KOSI (101.1).
Where’s the KQMT/KOSI transmitter building? Cantilevered rather dramatically out over the edge of the steep cliff, with a small parking lot forming the bridge from the road to the transmitter building!
We’ll close with a few more of the sites we can see off in the distance. Up here on Lookout, Tribune’s Fox affiliate KDVR (Channel 31) has a site all its own, just west of the rest of the towers we’ve been showing you. The former analog home of public TV’s KRMA channel 6 and the current sites of co-owned KUVO 89.3 and Colorado Public Radio’s KCFR 90.1 are also up here, a little bit uphill and westward on Colorow Road; we’d need to go another 12 miles or so west and up to the 11,000-foot level to find the Squaw Mountain site where Colorado Public TV’s KBDI channel 12 and Entercom’s KYGO 98.5 hold forth up in the thin air.
And to the south, we need to pay a visit someday to Mount Morrison, up above the Red Rocks concert arena, home to KIMN 100.3, KXKL 105.1, KRMA’s current digital facility, Univision’s KCEC (Channel 14) and religious KETD (Channel 53). We can’t see that from here on Lookout, but we can see another slightly shorter peak east of Morrison. Green Mountain is home to KQKS (107.5) and KKFN (104.3) – and with that, we’ve covered pretty much the entire Denver FM dial, save for the KBCO (97.3 Boulder) site up north of here, high above Boulder itself.
Thanks to Jason Gorodetzer for the tours!
We are officially into the new year and out of the holiday season. If you didn’t get a calendar as a gift, now is the time to buy one for yourself.
You can also purchase a bag to keep it after the year is over, since the pictures are so pretty. You can even purchase a pen to put notes on your calendar.
Visit our store to buy the calendars and check out our other products.
The Radio Historian’s 2020 Calendar is SOLD OUT. If you didn’t order but wanted or meant to, please contact Lisa immediately. No guarantee we can get more, but we’ll at least ask.
And don’t miss a big batch of Colorado IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: Des Moines, summer 2017