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Public TV on the air, 1983
Incoming Central Wyoming College president Ed Donovan, seated, activated the on-air signal of KCWC television with the assistance of program director Ruby Calvert, station manager Jerry Garber, and station engineer Roger Hicks, pictured on May 10, 1983. File photo

Public TV on the air

May 6, 2012 - Staff

Wyoming's first -- and still only -- public television station went on the air 29 years ago this week when Central Wyoming College flipped the switch on the Riverton campus that beamed the first signal to viewers. The initial service covered central Fremont County during a few days of equipment tests.

Operating hours were 4 p.m. to midnight in the early days, with "Sesame Street" the first program shown. The station moved to full power later in the month, sending the signal to Rock Springs, Rawlins and much of the Big Horn Basin over the air.

Negotiations with local cable TV providers bean immediately, and before long most cable systems in the state picked up the channel as well. Televised college courses were added in the fall.

The arrival of KCWC-TV, later named Wyoming Public Television and now known as Wyoming PBS, was the culmination of a grueling three-year effort involving legislation, federal grant procedures, technical challenges, weather interference and delays in equipment delivery. The hassles continued up and including sign-on day, when a heavy snowstorm deposited 12 inches of snow in Riverton.

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