Durango resident Jim Foster was recently elected chairman of the board of Rocky Mountain PBS, becoming the first non-Denver chairman of the statewide public television network.
“It’s an exciting time in the media world. It’s challenging more than scary, there are all kinds of communications tools in the box that didn’t used to be,” Foster said Monday by phone from New York City.
Foster is entering his sixth year on the RMPBS board, which oversees the PBS television station, radio station KUVO in Denver and the I-News news service. Locally on Optimum Cable, the channel airs on KRMU Channel 6 (506 high definition.) Sister station KRMA-Denver airs on channel 98. Foster recently served three-year stints as chairman of the Fort Lewis College Foundation and president of the Music in the Mountains board of directors.
Foster said Rocky Mountain PBS is Colorado’s only true statewide network, broadcasting in Grand Junction, Denver, Steamboat Springs and Colorado Springs, in addition to Durango. He said because of that, one of his goals is to air more Colorado-produced content, particularly in the arts. It also will include more from I-News, which is already carried in newspapers throughout Colorado, including The Durango Herald.
“It’s not daily news but more in-depth journalism. Those are very capable people up there, and we’re working on more arrangements to partner with public radio stations and share programming,” Foster said. “In news today, there’s informational and affirmational, and we’re trying to be informational.”
Foster said that after a downturn in public broadcasting support from the government and individual donors, there has been an increase in memberships and donations the last two years. As a board member, Foster was part of that turnaround and said he intends to keep the momentum.
“Our membership has been growing rapidly and other stations are doing what we did that worked,” Foster said. “We started going door-to-door talking to people about PBS. Not everybody wants a knock on the door in the evening but people are signing up. It’s all about service to the community. It’s exciting and will be a challenge.”