Glenwood’s early radio days | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood’s early radio days

Frontier DiaryWilla SoncartyGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyDuring a Lions Club meeting held Feb. 4, 1925, Roy Pratt unveiled his promotion to create a radio broadcasting station in Glenwood Springs. The Glenwood Springs Radio Orchestra played several selections, while telegrams were read from boosters praising the mediums wide-reaching advertising opportunities.

In 1920, a visionary man by the name of Dr. William Reynolds established a radio broadcasting station from his home in Denver. Reynolds’ station, 9ZAF, would inspire the creation of stations across Colorado. In 1924, Denver station KOA broadcast its first program. It is through station KOA that radio history in Glenwood Springs was made.Glenwood Springs Lions Club Good Fellowship Chairman Roy Pratt saw unlimited business opportunities generated by the new medium. He realized the necessity of advertising the wonders of Glenwood Springs to the world, and felt “radio is the most far-reaching and efficient medium we could possibly use given the cost.” His mission was to sell that idea to his fellow Lions Club members and to lobby for the establishment of a radio broadcast station in Glenwood Springs.Pratt decided that a visual and audio demonstration was in order. In preparation for a Lions Club dinner meeting on Feb. 4, 1925, he set aside a portion of the Guild Hall of St. Barnabas Church at Ninth Street and Blake Avenue for use as a radio broadcasting set. Just prior to the meeting, members of the Glenwood Springs Radio Orchestra took their positions. A curtain was drawn to conceal the band.While Lions Club members waited for dinner to be served, curiosity grew about the partitioned room. Then the 10-piece orchestra began to play. The curtain was drawn back to reveal the band and the mock radio station which had been given the call letters “KNO.” Telegrams from Glenwood Springs residents supporting the radio station concept were read. Pratt also reported attempts to broadcast the orchestra and to advertise Glenwood Springs on KOA radio in Denver were rejected by KOA management, making evident the need for a local station.Seven months later, Glenwood Springs still did not have a radio station. However, a deal had been struck with KOA to broadcast the Western Slope’s first radio program from Glenwood Springs.From the Hotel Colorado’s ballroom during the evening of Sept. 16, 1925, music and essay readings were broadcast by way of telephone to KOA, where it was sent over the airways. Telegrams from Pocatello, Idaho and Littleton verified that the program was widely received. Glenwood Springs had entered the radio age.”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.