County launching Transportation TV | AspenTimes.com

County launching Transportation TV

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY ” Pitkin County plans to launch a new transportation-themed TV station in the coming months.

Channel 8, which airs Aspen-Pitkin County Airport flight information and broadcasts Aspen Public Radio, or KAJX, as background, will be revamped as a county transportation channel, county spokeswoman Pat Bingham said Tuesday. Whatever the changes, the county will continue to list flight information, but will drop the KAJX programming, Bingham said.

In the meantime, county commissioners have directed Bingham to look at better ways to use the station.

She held a brainstorming session with county staff members Tuesday and Bingham hopes channel 8 will evolve into a transportation-themed station, including more airport information as well as up-to-date road closure and conditions, along with information from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and the Aspen Skiing Co.

Bingham envisions the possibility of real-time cameras monitoring morning and evening traffic flows through the Entrance to Aspen.

“It’s a huge asset that we should do more with,” Bingham said. “But this isn’t going to happen quickly. We’re just kind of toying with it.”

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Commissioners gave a thumbs up to looking into the project, but final approval requires a board vote, Bingham said.

Andrew Todd, executive director of Aspen Public Radio, wants to find a way to keep the radio station on television.

Since 2003, KAJX has broadcast at no charge on channel 8 through an informal agreement with the county, Bingham said.

“KAJX kind of just landed there,” Bingham said.

While it is rare for a radio station to broadcast on cable TV, Todd said KAJX is a public radio station and said sending programming over television cable solves the difficulties of transmitting a radio signal over the mountains.

“A lot of our listeners listen on channel 8,” Todd said. “It’s a very reliable way to get the signal. And we really want to be able to continue broadcasting on cable.”

But while viewers might be used to listening to public radio on channel 8, KAJX has no official agreement, Bingham said.

KAJX officials and county staff are talking about moving the radio station to another channel on the Comcast cable system, Todd said.

“There might be another place for them,” Bingham said.

Pitkin County owns three TV channels as part of a franchise agreement with area cable provider Comcast. CGTV channel 11 plays government programming; GrassRoots TV 12 plays public access and educational programming; and since 2003, channel 8 has posted airport information and broadcast KAJX.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com.