Volunteer History

2000 to 2010: Continuing the Legacy of Program Excellence at Rocky Mountain PBS

By Anne Marshall Christner for the SAM Project

During the decade that began in 2000, Rocky Mountain PBS continued its more than 50-year history of producing award-winning programs.

In 2000, Rocky Mountain PBS produced Jazz in Five Points, winning two regional Emmys and a total of seven awards. The program was a salute to the music, heritage, and history of Denver's vibrant African-American community.

Six-time Emmy®-winning producer Cynthia Hessin explored the life and art of Artus Van Briggle in 2004 with Van Briggle—Art of Clay. Van Briggle Pottery and Tile was established in 1899 and is one of the oldest active potters in the United States. Hessin won the prestigious Gracie Allen Award and an Emmy® for her production.

Jewel of the Rockies VHS tape box

Multiple Emmy®-winning producer Lisa D. Olken examined the history of Latinos in Colorado from the 1500s to the 1970s in her 2005 documentary, La Raza de Colorado: La Historia, which won four Emmys. Olken's Jewel of the Rockies, about the first 50 years of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, also premiered in 2005.

That same year, in an effort to reach out to the community, Rocky Mountain PBS premiered Real Coloradans, a series in which ordinary Colorado citizens could write, direct and tape their own segments for air on Rocky Mountain PBS with help from producer Trux Simmons.

Janine White, Cynthia Hessin, Daniel Mercure, Jan McCoy with Heartland Emmy statuettes for Colorado Zoo Babies in the Topical Documentary Category

In 2007, two Emmy-winning programs were produced by Rocky Mountain PBS. The first was Colorado Zoo Babies, about four rare animals born at the Denver and Cheyenne Mountain Zoos. It won an Emmy for Best Topical Documentary. Colorado Spaces: Historic Hotels also won a Heartland Emmy award. In 2008, Rocky Mountain PBS produced two more award-winning programs, Denver's Democratic Conventions: 1908 and 2008 and Colorado Spaces: Boulder.

Other award-winning programs from the 2000s:

Andi Forster, Art Director; Lisa Olken, Writer, Producer and Editor; Janine White, Videographer, Finishing Editor, Colorist receive Heartland Emmy Awards for Colorado Spaces: Boulder
  • Spirit of Colorado series won 17 awards 
  • Trains of the American West won an Emmy, 2001 
  • SKI! A Century of Colorado Skiing won four awards, 2002 
  • New Coloradans won a CBA Award of Excellence, 2003 
  • La Raza: El Movimiento won an Emmy, 2005 
  • Homework Hotline, produced by KTSC in Pueblo, and Western Bounty, produced by KRMJ in Grand Junction, have also won awards.
Tom Manion, Daniel Mercure, Scott Darnell with Heartland Emmy award for How the West was Camped.

How the West Was Camped, produced in 2009 by Rocky Mountain PBS producer Scott Darnell and engineer Tom Dailey, was originally intended for the web, but it became so popular that it was turned into a half-hour program. Humorous and informative, the program featured Scott, Tom and their families camping in and exploring some of Colorado's national parks, monuments, and forests. Shown from a car-camper/RV perspective, the program featured camping tips and activities suitable for all ages.

Mike and Betty, Pueblo area teachers, live on the set of the award winning Homework Hotline in the KTSC studios.

Living with Dying, an Rocky Mountain PBS original production by Lisa D. Olken, premiered in April 2010. The documentary followed a diverse group of Coloradans facing end-of-life decisions. Olken and her subjects taught us valuable and unexpectedly positive lessons about the process of aging and living well until the final breath – offering strategies for creating an end-of-life experience that honors a person's last wishes.

Promotional poster for Western Bounty, produced by KRMJ in Grand Junction to celebrate the arts and culture of western Colorado.

Then, August 2010 saw the premiere of Antiques Roadshow: Behind the Scenes in Denver! Rocky Mountain PBS was given exclusive access to the most popular show on PBS. Shot over two days at the Colorado Convention Center in 2009, this program recreated the experience of actually attending the Roadshow, through interviews with producers, appraisers and several fans trying to make an appearance on the show.

This Month in the History of Rocky Mountain PBS

Brought to you by Station's Archived Memories (SAM)


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