The First of Its Kind
KRMA Offers On-Air Driving Course
In the 1950s and '60s, KRMA not only produced history-making entertainment programs, but also created programs that were the first of their kind in educational television (ETV). Some of the most unusual ones revolved around automobiles.
At the time, car repair was of especially high interest to millions of teenage and young adult males. In response, KRMA produced "Car Care," a series of 12 half-hour episodes. Each program presented basic information about cars so the average motorist could better understand his/her vehicle. In-depth instruction was given on how to make basic repairs, and a reference guide accompanied the series.
Another popular program was "Driver Training," an on-air class taught by a certified driver education instructor. The program served as a step-by-step guide for parents who were teaching their children to drive.
Students had to first obtain a learner’s permit from the state’s driver examiners. Midway through the series, they were also required to perform a driving check conducted by state examiners. At the end of the series, students could take a final driving exam, and, if successful, were issued a driver training course certificate and state driver’s license.
The Denver Driver Improvement School, founded in 1959, met monthly at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School and was nationally known. At the request of community, education and accident prevention agencies, KRMA began producing "Driver Improvement School" and became the first in the country to air this kind of program.
Traffic court judges made "Driver Improvement School" required viewing for many traffic offenders. Airing weekly, it was taught by accident investigators, licensing officials, traffic engineers, lawyers and other experts. Topics included pedestrian safety, winter and mountain driving, safe driving techniques and state traffic laws.
Did you know?
- The first "Driver Training" course graduated 52 students. Four months later, only one student was ticketed for a moving violation.
- A survey in 1963 showed that 90 percent of graduates of "Driver Improvement School" polled had clean driving records for 3 or more years.
- Station’s Archived Memories (SAM) archives of Rocky Mountain PBS
- Rocky Mountain News, April 17, 1964
- Denver Catholic Register, April 16, 1964
- Broomfield Star Builder, April 30, 1964
- Rocky Mountain News, April 28, 1964
- The Denver Post, January, 21, 1963