KOTO’s history in Jim “B.F. Deal” Bedford’s words

KOTO’s history in Jim “B.F. Deal” Bedford’s words

The following is a summary of KOTO’s history in Jim’s words, writing under the alias B.F. Deal, in volume 7 of the “Koto Nooz”:

“You had to be in Telluride in 1974 to understand why KOTO came into being. At that time, Telluride’s available airwave entertainment consisted of one 1950s-style TV station, one semi-pop AM radio station and zero FM signals. Many of the new faces in town had grown up on music of the free form FM stations of the ‘60s and were ready for the information – and we wanted to live in a community that provided it all.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a small niche in its restrictive regulations that allowed a private non-profit group to build and operate a 10-watt FM radio station. Into this niche jumped an odd assortment of local folks. An application was filed. Time, money and space were provided by dozens of people. The Town Council came up with $10,000 over two years for equipment, a very courageous decision for those times. Unbelievably, the FCC issued a construction permit and said: ‘Do it!’ Within six months, KOTO was on the air.”

KOTO was legally broadcasting on October 3, 1975. That day, Bedford and Greene got into a pickup truck and drove around town checking the reception from the station. Bedford thinks the first music officially broadcast was a song from a then-popular Boz Scaggs album, but no one remembers its name.

For 34 years, KOTO has been broadcasting 20 hours/day, 365 days/year from a 3000-watt transmitter located about 200 yards west of the Coonskin lift.  There are more than 200 licensed volunteer djs, half of whom are active/on-air. The seven-member SMEF board is elected at KOTO’s annual July meeting by SMEF members (anyone who contributed $20 or more to KOTO during the previous year) and serves two years.

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