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KDNK mining Leadville market

When Carbondale public radio station KDNK says it reaches the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond, it isn’t just whistling Dixie.As of April 13, KDNK can be heard across the Continental Divide in Leadville. Although a bit far afield for the little radio station, the connection came about through a serendipitous set of circumstances.On Feb. 7, KDNK station manager Shawna Claiborne received an e-mail from Greg Race, a Leadville artist who has a backcountry cabin near the top of 13,186-foot Mosquito Pass. Race listened to KDNK on his radio and wondered if Claiborne was interested in bringing the station to Leadville.The reason Race could hear the signal is simple physics, Claiborne explained. Radio signals work by line of sight. Apparently Mosquito Pass is in a direct line, as the crow flies, to Sunlight Peak, near Glenwood Springs, where the KDNK antenna beams its signal.Race went to Howard Tucker, with Lake County TV and FM, and found it had a radio license for a frequency that could broadcast KDNK in Leadville, Claiborne said.”KDNK offers a great example of how to build a community through inclusion. Leadville has collective community ideals, but myriad ideas on how to accomplish that vision,” Race said. “Hopefully KDNK’s model will inspire the Leadville community to see the potential and possibility of its unique character and diverse individuality.”Claiborne said the station would provide a 10-watt translator that captures the signal from Sunlight Peak and changes it into the licensed frequency, 93.5 in Leadville.But getting the translator up to Mosquito Pass was a challenge. In April, over 13,000 feet, the world is white. A Leadville man, George Lufkin, donated the use of his snow cat and Race provided fuel. The ‘cat brought the translator and an antenna up to the top of the pass. Both pieces of equipment were installed on the town’s cellular tower on the pass, Claiborne said.KDNK, which began in 1983, also has translators in Thomasville up the Fryingpan River, and in Old Snowmass, Basalt, Redstone, Aspen and Glenwood Springs. Besides Carbondale, it’s also available in Silt, New Castle and Rifle.The radio station offers a mixture of local programming along with programming from National Public Radio including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” It also carries independent news and affairs programming such as “Democracy Now,” “Alternative Radio,” “Counterspin” and “Making Contact.”Local programming includes bluegrass, acoustic, jazz, rock and classical music, as well as Spanish programming on Thursday evenings, with news at 7 p.m., then Latino Youth Radio and an hour of Latino music.This fall KDNK doubled its wattage with a new tower on Sunlight Peak. It shares the tower with Aspen Public Radio and Colorado Public Radio.Once KDNK was on the air in Leadville it took a while for people to catch on, Claiborne said. “We got a couple calls the first week, but people are certainly finding us now.”KDNK wants to be as much a part of Leadville as it is part of the Roaring Fork and Colorado river valleys. It will run public service announcements for nonprofits as it does on this side of the divide.”We’re bringing public radio to this community and we want to do it right,” Claiborne said. “I’m so excited about the fact that they thought so much of KDNK to invite us.”KDNK is planning a kickoff party in conjunction with Leadville’s Pb Arts Authority at its gallery, 201 W. Sixth St., from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, June 11.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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