Volunteer News

Super School News Volunteers Present Successful Orientation

It’s official! Part II of the "Super School News" 2016-2017 season is officially launched. Congratulations to the wonderful volunteers and RMPBS staff who make this program possible. And, thanks go to the Colorado Education Association who generously supports "Super School News."  

Kerri Dallman, President of the Colorado Education Association, spoke to parents, teachers and students about the importance of "Super School News" and journalistic integrity. (Participating "Super School News" students and teachers from Southern Colorado viewed the orientation in Denver.) Students then rotated between work stations and teachers were trained in a separate room. "Super School News" executive producer, Cynthia Hessin, walked through the process of putting together a "SSN" news piece. Kim Christiansen, Channel 9 News Anchor, ended the day talking with students about the ins and outs of on-air journalism.

Thanks go to the fabulous volunteers led by Chair Janell Hetrick who make this program possible: Annette Barnett; Patty Boyd; Mike Cawthra; Kathy Crisler; Alice Dick; Doña Dodson; Betty Flaten, Rich Goben; Laura Hoganson; Bill Smith; Jan Lytton; Heather Mackinnon; Donna Prince; Jackie Perleberg; Cathy Tomlinson; Janet Weisheit.  If you are interested in volunteering for this important program, please contact Susan Barber susanbarber@rmpbs.org.

"Super School News" Orientation

StoryMakers Finalists Gather for Writing Workshop in Denver

My father had always been sort of a loose-minded man. Information would enter through one ear and fall out of the other. Things like the time of his departure on trips, like where he had put his keys, like which cabinet my mother stored the pasta in, like when he was supposed to pick up his five-year-old son from daycare…. (Excerpt from “Chocolate Shake” by 6th grader, Lillian Sturhahn)

Don’t you want to read more of Lillian’s story? And Lillian’s story is just one of 24 remarkable stories submitted by the finalists in the StoryMakers statewide short story contest. Lillian was joined by 21 other talented young authors (6th, 7th, 8th grades) on Saturday, January 21st at the Denver station for a day-long writing workshop. These young authors came from as close as Denver to as far away as Grand Junction and Granby. They came as strangers and left as colleagues.

And just how did we get 22 middle school students to get out of bed early on a beautiful Saturday morning?  We brought in inspiring and fun writing instructors for the day.  Dr. Andrea Bobotis teaches with Lighthouse Writers Workshop.  She has taught literature courses, writing courses and she is also a fiction writer. She is gifted in developing rapport with her students and on Saturday, January 21st, she led our young authors through a workshop on “Building Suspense.”  Lori Gliha and Marybel Gonzalez, investigative journalists at RMPBS, led the workshop on investigative journalism. Lori came to RMPBS from Al Jazeera America’s flagship news magazine show, America Tonight.  Marybel worked as a fellow for CNN’s Investigative Unit in Atlanta.

At lunch, the young authors were joined by author, Jennifer Bertman (Book Scavenger) to discuss the writing process and to learn from one another.  Finally, at 3 pm, the 22 students were reunited with parents and, although there were many yawns, these talented young authors expressed their enthusiasm for the day with comments such as:  “I loved this so much!  It was awesome;”  “This was a great opportunity;”  A very informative and fun learning experience.  I’m very glad I could do this and meet with new people.”

Thanks go to StoryMaker’s chair/volunteer Lauren Simmons and ardent volunteer supporters Kerri and Kevin Percival for guiding everyone through the day.  And, thanks to Douglas County Libraries for making this program possible!

StoryMakers Finalists Gathering

Look What’s New at Rocky Mountain PBS!

Rocky Mountain PBS partners with Weather Channel for local news and weather
By April Simpson, Associate Editor 
Current 1/11/17

On Tuesday, Rocky Mountain PBS became the Weather Channel’s first partner to broadcast its service of syndicated video clips, adding inserts of weather and local news to breaks between the station’s long-form programs. 

Local Now, which launched last year, offers Weather Channel viewers an app for hyperlocal weather, traffic, news and sports information. It’s also available as an over-the-top service on SlingTV, Amazon Fire and fuboTV.

The video service adopted by RMPBS provides short segments of hyper-local content focused on three market areas: Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and Denver. The Weather Channel will produce the segments, drawing content from the Associated Press, news startup Denverite and Grand Junction Daily Sentinel newspaper. Proprietary technology converts the content into video, said Freddy Flaxman, Weather Channel COO. 

“(Viewers) come to us to watch "NewsHour," to watch the "Nightly Business Report,"” said Laura Frank, RMPBS president and GM of news, “and if they want … local and breaking news, then they have to go away from us to get that.”

“This lets them stay with us for the content they’re already coming to us for and get more than they expected,” Frank said.

The content sharing partnership works both ways: RMPBS is providing its news content to the Weather Channel, which will offer it to Local Now subscribers for wider distribution.

RMPBS is inserting 30-second Local Now weather segments into program breaks at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Mountain time. Sixty-second daily news segments air in the evenings at 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Because our brand is in-depth and investigative, the kinds of stories that we’re looking at from them are the big stories of the day, so not so much police news,” Frank said.

During the six-month pilot, Frank said the station will gauge reactions it receives from the public. In the meantime, she said Tuesday, they’re still ironing out the details of the partnership.

Flaxman said he’s excited about partnering with a public station because of its deep connection to local audiences and public service mission. “We’d also love to use this as a way to demonstrate to other PBS affiliates the ways they can retain audience by serving their communities in new and unique ways,” Flaxman said. He sees the partnership evolving into offering different types of content, such as traffic and sports.

At RMPBS, the new partnership is part of a broader strategy to develop news and video offerings. The station recently launched a new investigative series, "Insight with John Ferrugia," an outgrowth of editorial shifts within the station’s news department, including a sharper focus on video after RMPBS’s merger four years ago with a local investigative nonprofit news outlet and public radio station.

The show’s next monthly special, “Trumped: Rural Rebellion,” focuses on why a financially struggling Colorado county voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, and for President-elect Donald Trump in 2016. It’s scheduled to air on January 19. 

Comings and Goings at RMPBS
Here are some of the staff changes that have been happening at the station:

  • Doug Price: will step down as CEO on February 3rd but will be Chair of Capital Campaign Advisory Committee.
  • Amanda Mountain: will become RMPBN CEO when Doug steps down.
  • Marissa Johnson: has left us and is moving on to work in international properties law.  She did our legal work and human resources.
  • Laurie Zeller: Laurie has been a consultant for Rocky Mountain PBS in the area of early childhood education.  For the next 6 months, she will be working fulltime at RMPBS as the Chief Community Engagement Officer and working with Susan Barber, Elizabeth Mayer, Arvida Rascon, Shawn Jones, Aaliah Hartley and a new education staff person.
  • Shawn Jones: Shawn will replace Aaliah at the front desk and will be part of the Community Engagement Team.
  • Aaliah Hartley: Aaliah is moving from the front desk to Leadership Giving 
  • Veronica Penney: Veronica is moving from Leadership Giving to project coordination work with capital campaign.
  • Harris Ravine: Harris will be working as a strategic consultant.
    …..and welcome to new staff…..
  • Joel Ortiz: is the new Marketing Producer/Coordinator
  • Brad Haug: promoted to full time Traffic Technician


Tidbits Of History About Rocky Mountain PBS
By Laura Sampson | Founder | Station’s Archived Memories​

Are you a native of Colorado? Are you new to Colorado but want to learn more about its history?  Do you enjoy discovering new people, events and places related to Colorado? If you said, “YES” to any of these questions, it’s a sure bet that you must become a loyal viewer of one of Rocky Mountain PBS’ most remarkable award-winning local productions, "Colorado Experience." The program explores Colorado and reminds us of its “forgotten history.”   

Colorado Experience, a co-production of Rocky Mountain PBS and History Colorado, premiered four years ago on February 21, 2013. Celebrating its 4th anniversary, you are invited to experience either previous or current episodes of Colorado Experience in multiple venues: Episodes air on RMPBS on Thursdays at 7:30 pm or can be viewed online whenever it’s most convenient to you. Additionally, the audio portion (podcasts) of episodes of Colorado Experience can be enjoyed at https://soundcloud.com/user-286231623.

Colorado Experience has even created and presented lesson plans on the RMPBS.org website that are suitable for elementary and middle school students. Want to attend a free screening of Colorado Experience? Check out the website to learn when and where screenings will be occurring across the state. The screening of the newest episode, “The Original Coloradans & Ladies of the Mines,” will be at the Colorado Mountain College (Breckenridge campus) on February 8 at 7 PM. Members of the "Colorado Experience" team will be there, too.

Emmy award-winning executive producer/writer/director/editor, Julie Speer, is a fourth generation Coloradan who is a huge fan of history, travel and the great outdoors. Her passion shines through in "Colorado Experience."

Like Julie, another fourth-generation Coloradan involved with "Colorado Experience" is professional historian, Dr. William J. (Bill) Convery, who lends his expertise and talent to each episode. Convery got his start as a professional historian as a resident “ghost” interpreter at the Ashcroft Ghost Town National Historic Site. Aside from appearing regularly on Colorado Experience, he teaches American Western History and Public History at CU Denver.

Working as a team with their talented production crew, Julie Speer and Mariel Rodriguez-McGill (Producer/Director/Editor) share compelling and inspirational stories of Colorado’s history. There are 100s more ideas for future episodes. Tune-in to see what’s in store!

Station’s Archived Memories (SAM) proudly salutes "Colorado Experience" on its 4th anniversary as a prime example of the excellent local productions aired on Rocky Mountain PBS. SAM volunteers share the passion for history and are dedicated viewers of this exceptional program.

Content for this article was made possible by STATION’S ARCHIVED MEMORIES (SAM)
Station’s Archived Memories serves the past, present, and future of Rocky Mountain PBS by assuring that the history of the station and its importance to the Colorado community will survive for generations to come. SAM is a volunteer-driven project preserving the history of Rocky Mountain PBS.  To learn more about the station’s history and how to research, volunteer or donate items to the archives, please visit www.RMPBS.org/SAM, contact the SAM office at Rocky Mountain PBS 303-620-5734 or email SAM@rmpbs.org.

Volunteer Appreciation - Thank You for Your Support!

Thanks to Volunteers from RMPBS

Thanks to the Volunteer Advisory Team
RMPBS and KUVO want to thank the Volunteer Advisory Team for their assistance and dedication.  The last meeting was held on January 17th.  The Volunteer Advisory Team supports the work of volunteers and staff and nurtures opportunities for collaborative working relationships.  Members of the team include volunteers and staff from Rocky Mountain PBS and KUVO:

  • Lauren Simmons – volunteer recruitment
  • Sandy Gerulat – database updates
  • Nasiri Suzan – database updates
  • Betty Flaten – onboarding new volunteers and connecting with less active volunteers
  • Teddi Wiest-Kent – volunteer recruitment for community engagement activities
  • Martha Griego – KUVO liaison
  • Sharon Schonhaut – liaison with membership/development departments
  • Arvida Rascon – KUVO staff
  • Elizabeth Mayer – RMPBS staff
  • Susan Barber – RMPBS staff

Volunteer Advisory team members focus on volunteer recruitment, integration of RMPBS and KUVO volunteers and volunteer recognition. Thanks go to this incredible team!

Thanks to Emily Bertelson and Chris Graff for making sure that Clifford the Big Red Dog was an enthusiastic participant at the Denver Pre-School Open House on Saturday, January 14th!

Thanks go to Teddi Wiest-Kent, Roy Kent and photographer David Hutchings for volunteering at the "Colorado Experience" screening of “Dinosaurs” at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Over 250 attended this fun event.          

Thanks go to the wonderful front-desk volunteer team. They juggle many tasks and still manage to welcome and assist all those who come through our doors. Thanks Mike Cawthra, Kaz Hellickson, Sharon Schonhaut, Jocelyn Miller and Dorsy Hill!


Volunteer Reminder

Volunteers: Please note that if you sign in on the computer but don't sign out, the computer only gives you credit for 3 hours.  Not only do you cheat yourselves out of time, but the station also. Please send an e-mail to judylestersmith@rmpbs.org if you need to make a correction to your hours. In the email, include the date, time, and job assignment and we will make the adjustment. Thank you!


Check the Rocky Mountain PBS website for breaking information about station events at rmpbs.org/events.

  • Colorado Experience Roadshow: "Colorado Experience" is a locally produced program of Rocky Mountain PBS (airs on Thursdays at 7:30 pm) highlighting events and people that have made history in Colorado. The Colorado Experience Roadshow takes these programs and screens them in local communities throughout Colorado.
    "The Original Coloradans" & "Ladies of the Mines" - February 8 at 7pm
    Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge Campus, Breckenridge, CO
  • Indie Lens Pop-Up
    - February 22; 6:30 pm; Mesa County Library; Grand Junction;
    The Bad Kids:
    Located in an impoverished Mojave Desert community, Black Rock Continuation High School is an alternative for at-risk students with little hope of graduating from a traditional high school. It's their last chance. This coming of age story shows extraordinary educators and talented students combat the crippling effects of poverty.
    - March 2; 7:00 pm; Tim Gill Center for Public Media; Colorado Springs;
    Newtown uses deeply personal testimonies to tell the story of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. Through poignant interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, and first responders, Newtown documents a traumatized community still reeling from the senseless killing, fractured by grief but driven toward a sense of purpose.

To check out programming features and changes, go to the Rocky Mountain PBS website. Or go straight to rmpbs.org/enews where you will be able to request our automatic weekly newsletter (e-news) and monthly TV schedule (e-promo).

There are MANY ways to watch Rocky Mountain PBS content besides TV. You can stream our shows on the RMPBS website, on YouTube, on the KUVO app (where you can also stream KUVO radio live), or on the PBS and PBS Kids apps. You can also watch on Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick, XBox, Amazon Prime, Hulu, iTunes and more. Learn more at rmpbs.org/anywhere.



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