Glenwood Springs got first radio station in 1947

Frontier Diary
Willa Soncarty
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyThe KGLN broadcast tower and the Silver Spruce Motor Lodge is seen in this circa 1957 photograph. Station KGLN was officially dedicated May 14, 1950, and has continuously served the Glenwood Springs community for 57 years.

“KGS, Glenwood Springs’ radio broadcasting station, went on the air officially this morning at 10:30 o’clock. It operates at 730 on your radio dial.”

” Glenwood Post, Oct. 23, 1947

A visionary Glenwood Springs man named Roy Pratt saw unlimited business and tourist opportunities generated by a new medium called radio. So enthusiastic was he, that he staged a mock radio transmission during the Lions Club meeting of Feb. 4, 1925. Pratt’s push for an actual radio transmission came to fruition on Sept. 16 of that year, when music and essay readings were transmitted from the Hotel Colorado ballroom over telephone lines to station KOA in Denver.

Although the program was widely received, the movement to establish a full-time station lost momentum. It would be 22 years before a station would be established.

Local programming filled Glenwood Springs’ airways the morning of Oct. 23, 1947. Headquartered in the basement of the Hotel Colorado, station KGS, owned by the Overhults Furniture Store at 810 Grand Ave., went on the air. Recorded music was aired from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday by announcers Bill Antonides, Bob Wilson, Murray McLean and Billy Dwire. Special times were set aside for dedications and requests, and Sundays were reserved for broadcasts by local ministers.

In December 1949, Rex Howell, president of the Western Slope Broadcasting Co. in Grand Junction, announced plans to establish a state-of-the-art radio station in Glenwood Springs. An ultra-modern building and a transmitter were to be built on property located near today’s Park Drive close to the Roaring Fork River. One of the building’s three large picture windows would capture Mount Sopris’ scenic view.

However, the new station’s location was changed in March 1950 to the Silver Spruce Motor Lodge. The station building was downsized and fashioned from logs to compliment the motor lodge’s buildings. A 150-foot metal tower would transmit the broadcasts.

After two weeks of night testing, the new station, KGLN, was approved for daytime broadcasting. On Mother’s Day, May 14, 1950, a broadcast of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” opened the station’s dedication ceremonies. Owners Rex and Charles Howell provided an introduction, followed by an invocation, a message from Mayor Harold Parkison, and addresses from representatives of various civic clubs. Words of welcome from Colorado Sens. Milliken, Johnson and Aspinall and Gov. Walter Johnson were transmitted from Denver. Live music rounded out the dedication program.

Fifty-seven years later, KGLN continues to broadcast and serve the Glenwood Springs community. Additionally, the broadcast tower ” still located near the Silver Spruce Lodge ” reminds us of the days when radio permanently came to town.

“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.