Don Johnson

KRMA-TV (PBS) is a monument to the energy of many dedicated men and women. Its growth has been directly linked to an increasing awareness by its audience that the station is a unique source of high quality television and non-broadcast services.

Don Johnson, KRMA’s retiring general manager, provided crucial guidance in building the organization. He first joined KRMA during its infancy in 1963. Placed on “special assignment” by the Denver School Board, he was among the pioneers using television for teaching. Over the next 30 years he nurtured and inspired the organization, maintaining its dedication to education and public service. Today, KRMA’s signal reaches 3.9 million people in the Rocky Mountain region, 170 separate cable companies and more than 75 translator systems.

Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, the station:

  • Produced and co-produced many programs for national distribution, and positioned itself as a leader in the fight against teenage alcohol and drug use.
  • Was instrumental in pilot project funding of public television’s grassroots lobbying project through America’s Public Television Stations (APTS)/National Friends of Public Broadcasting (NFPB)
  • Instituted the forward funding concept more than 15 years ago, and built an endowment which provides supplemental funds for operating and capital needs
  • Successfully made the transition from a school-licensed station to a community-licensed station, and
  • Maintained an unwavering commitment to education; KRMA’s call letters stand for “Knowledge for the Rocky Mountain Area”

Perhaps Mr. Johnson’s ultimate legacy to public broadcasting is KRMA’s newly constructed 50,000 s.f. $14.8 million, state-of-the-art television facility. Remarkably, through Mr. Johnson’s stewardship the facility is essentially debt-free. Mr. Johnson’s vision, leadership, tenacity and negotiating skill has brought KRMA to the threshold of a new era.