Colorado Public Television, formerly KBDI-TV, virtual channel 12 (VHF digital channel 13), is a PBS member television station in Denver, Colorado, United States that is licensed to Broomfield. The station is owned by Colorado Public Television, Inc. KBDI maintains studio facilities located on Welton and 29th Streets in the Five Points neighborhood (just northeast of downtown Denver), and its transmitter is located atop Squaw Mountain (just west of Evergreen, in Clear Creek County).
The station is branded on-air as Colorado Public Television (or "CPT12"); KBDI's programming reaches over 80% of Colorado's population through its low-powered translators in Boulder and Colorado Springs. It also has gained cable viewership throughout the Western Slope.
In 1977, a small group of community leaders formed the Front Range Educational Media Corporation (FREMCO) and filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission for the VHF channel 12 license, the second of two channel frequencies in the Denver market assigned for noncommercial educational use (after KRMA-TV (channel 6), which signed on in January 1956), as part of its policy to provide multiple educational television services throughout the United States. The FCC granted the license to FREMCO in 1979. KBDI-TV first signed on the air on February 22, 1980. The station initially operated from a garage in Broomfield and used a juice can as a makeshift transmitting antenna. The channel 12 allocation was originally intended for the University of Colorado at Boulder, but was assigned to Broomfield-based FREMCO when the FCC's plans to assign an educational television station that would exclusively serve the Boulder area fell through. Later in the decade, KBDI installed a transmitter and broadcast tower atop 3,501-metre (11,486 ft)  Squaw Mountain (located 16 miles (26 km) due west of Denver); it is the highest full-power television transmitting antenna in the United States. With the tower, KBDI expanded its signal to cover the entire Denver metropolitan area, and eventually the entire Front Range. In 1989, the station moved its offices and studios to Denver, originally at a facility on Stout Street and then subsequently to a building on North Federal Boulevard. Finally in 1994, the station moved its operations into the new Five Points Media Center facility on Welton Street in the city's Five Points neighborhood. KBDI purchased the building outright in 2006.
In the late 1990s, as the station expanded its reach throughout Colorado via a network of low-powered repeaters and carriage on cable systems, the station phased out its call letters from its branding and started identifying as "Colorado Public Television" (or "CPT12"), ultimately applying the brand full-time in 2010. Today, the KBDI call letters are almost never mentioned on-air, with the exception of FCC-mandated station identifications. The brand also extended to its parent company in 2005, when the Front Range Educational Media Corporation was renamed as Colorado Public Television, Inc.
In 2004, KBDI entered into a multimedia partnership with CBS owned-and-operated station KCNC-TV (channel 4) and the Rocky Mountain News to jointly produce Colorado Decides, providing coverage of statewide debates, political analysis and election coverage. KBDI is a member of PBS' Program Differentiation Plan (PDP), previously known as the "Beta" group; as the Denver area's secondary PBS member station, it only airs 25% of the PBS network schedule.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|12.1||480i||4:3||CPT12-DT||Main KBDI-TV programming / PBS|
|12.2||CPT12+||PBS Encore (04a-04p) / FNX- First Nations Experience (04p-04a)|
Unlike most PBS member stations, KBDI-TV transmits its main channel in the 480i resolution format, making it the largest PBS station by market size that does not transmit in high definition. KBDI launched its digital signal on VHF channel 13 in 2003. With the sign-on of its digital signal, the station began carrying "CPT12+" on digital subchannel 12.2, now featuring a mix of children's, instructional and public affairs programming from 4am to 4pm and FNX - First Nations Experience from 4pm to 4 am. In 2008, the station began carrying the international programming service MHz Worldview on digital channel 12.3.
KBDI-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on February 17, 2009, the original date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 13. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 12.
Several peaks of significant height exist between the KBDI's transmitter tower and the Denver metropolitan area – most notably Mount Morrison (at 7,881 feet (2,402 m)), Green Mountain (at 6,856 feet (2,090 m)) and Lookout Mountain (at 7,581 feet (2,311 m)) – which interrupt the clear line of sight from the antenna and create a coverage "shadow" for a significant part of Denver's western suburbs, particularly Lakewood and Golden. The June 2009 digital transition did not address the coverage shadow, as the antenna's remained at the same location.
|City of license||Callsign||Channel|