Historical Timeline

1970 Colorado Public Radio begins broadcasting on KCFR 90.1 FM. This first station is originally licensed to the University of Denver. Listen to the sound of CPR in 1970.
1973 Colorado Public Radio starts to carry programming from National Public Radio (NPR), beginning with “All Things Considered.”

Learn more about “All Things Considered.”


Steve InskeepDavid Greene and Rachel Martin, hosts of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Photo credits (clockwise from top left): Doby Photography, David Gilkey and Stephen Voss.

“Morning Edition” begins airing on CPR. Learn more about “Morning Edition.”
1980 The first-ever satellite-delivered radio distribution network launches to provide timelier programming through public radio member stations nationwide.

The satellite system also ushers in a decade that sees an explosion in new national programs for public radio, including “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Fresh Air” and “Car Talk.”

1983 For the first time, CPR broadcasts a full week of music using only CDs. Following this milestone week, CPR continued to use records along with CDs until enough CDs were available. Our classical music library is the most extensive in the state, encompassing more than 30,000 CDs.

Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colo. Photo credit: Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau.

KCFR separates from DU and becomes a community-licensed public radio station, one of the first stations in the country to make such a transformation. Operations for KCFR are moved to a different building just off the DU campus.

KPRN 89.5 FM in Grand Junction signs on the air, and with funding from the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, builds a series of translators to provide public radio services to western Colorado.

1991 The boards of directors for KCFR and KPRN merge to form Colorado Public Radio.

CPR broadcasts via satellite, continuing a history of innovation to provide broader access to quality News and Classical programming statewide.


Vail, Colo. Photo credit: Flickr user followcarl.

Fully funded by the local community, CPR installs a translator to reach central Vail, and work begins to raise funds to build a fully licensed station to better serve listeners in the area.
1994 CPR’s network continues to grow. With community funds, a federal grant and an individual challenge grant, KPRE 89.9 FM in Vail signs on as CPR’s third station.

Pueblo’s Union Depot. Photo credit: Flickr user Icky Pic.

Colorado Public Radio extends its reach to southeast Colorado, welcoming KCFP 91.9 in Pueblo as the fourth station in the network.

Based on early success expanding to Grand Junction, Vail and Pueblo, CPR’s board of directors develops a five-year plan to establish a statewide News and Classical radio network.


“Eye to Eye,” one of many public art installments in Montrose. Artist: Mary Zimmerman of Paonia, Colo. Photo credit: CityofMontrose.org.

Communities in southwest Colorado gain access to Colorado Public Radio’s news and information programming as KPRH 88.3 FM in Montrose signs on as CPR’s fifth station.

Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colorado. Photo credit: Flickr user moonglampers.

Colorado Public Radio and NPR provide extensive coverage of the historic shootings at Columbine High School.
2001 Based on 10 years of feedback from audiences statewide, CPR’s board of directors announces a plan to provide both full-time news and full-time classical music.

The Flat Irons in Boulder, Colo., as seen from Chautauqua Park. Photo credit: Flickr user Kevglobal.

CPR launches statewide news on KCFR 1340 AM, and 90.1 FM switches to all classical music. KCFC 1490 AM Boulder, KKPC 1230 AM Pueblo and KPRU 103.3 FM on the Western Slope also join the CPR network.

Ryan Warner, host of “Colorado Matters.”

Colorado Public Radio launches “Colorado Matters,” a daily news interview program exploring timely state issues with Host Dan Drayer. Ryan Warner now hosts the program.

In the first edition of “Colorado Matters,” CPR features interviews with Basalt gardener Jerome Ostentowski about sustainable agriculture and with Golden resident and author David Wann about “affluenza,” the desire for material goods with damaging effects for individuals and the environment.


Charley Samson, the first host of “Colorado Spotlight,” interviews world-renowned concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.

Colorado Spotlight” begins airing five nights a week on Colorado Public Radio’s Classical service, featuring interviews, special performances and recordings by local musicians and visiting artists.

A view of the State Capitol from Sherman Street, March 2003. Photo credit: city-data.com.

A late March blizzard registers as the most expensive snowstorm in Colorado history. Colorado Public Radio reports on the damage estimates.

Hot springs pools in Glenwood Springs, Colo. Photo credit: Flickr user no body atoll.

Leaders from Aspen Public Radio and KDNK in Carbondale collaborate with Colorado Public Radio to bring KVOV 90.5 FM in Glenwood Springs on the air as part of CPR’s growing statewide network.

Bridges Broadcast Center in Centennial, Colorado. Photo credit: John Fielder.

Colorado Public Radio moves its headquarters to the 35,000 square-foot Bridges Broadcast Center after receiving a generous donation from Barbara Bridges and Rutt Bridges. CPR’s Board of Directors conducts a successful $5.25 million capital campaign to renovate the facility and build new studios.

Yumi Hwang-Williams, concertmaster for The Colorado Symphony, prepares to perform in the CPR Performance Studio as CPR Recording Engineer/Audio Producer Martin Skavish sets up.

The CPR Performance Studio opens, featuring a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano and state-of-the-art recording capabilities. Colorado Public Radio begins hosting both local and visiting artists for on-air performances and interviews in the performance studio.

Listen to unique recordings from CPR’s performance studio on weekday and Sunday evenings on “Colorado Spotlight.”

2006 Colorado Public Radio successfully completes a $1.5 million campaign to enhance local news coverage. The CPR news team doubles in size, allowing CPR to provide listeners with hourly local newscasts and in-depth reporting on issues with the greatest impact on the state and region, including: healthcare, local government and education.
2008 Colorado Public Radio moves its news programming to 90.1 FM, and 88.1 FM becomes the home for Classical programming in Denver.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Photo credit: Flickr user kimbet.

Denver hosts the Democratic National Convention, and Colorado Public Radio welcomes several journalists visiting from NPR. CPR teams up with Minnesota Public Radio, which covered the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, to provide listeners in both states with news and information on both events.

Read CPR’s coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.


Photo credit: RockyMountainNews.com.

Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports on the Rocky Mountain News printing its final edition, 55 days short of its 150th year anniversary.

Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colo. Photo credit: Flickr user moonglampers.

Colorado Public Radio’s news team produces “Ten Years After Columbine,” a series of news features on the anniversary of the school shooting, including: a student’s audio diary; interviews with parents of victims who, after the event, dedicated themselves to school safety; and stories of how teachers incorporated the event into lesson plans.

Internationally-acclaimed cellist Yo Yo Ma helps CPR raise money for The Colorado Symphony.

Colorado Public Radio seeks and obtains a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to host a one-time-only, on-air fundraising campaign called “Bringing the Music to Life,” generating more than $625,000 to sustain The Colorado Symphony.

The view from the tower site for KPRN 89.5 FM, delivering CPR’s news and information programming to Grand Junction, Colo.

CPR celebrates 40 years of listener-supported news and music programming.
2011 Colorado Public Radio launches a new service, OpenAir, to provide listeners with a destination to explore a diverse selection of new music and discover talented Colorado musicians. OpenAir begins broadcasting at 1340 AM in Denver on Oct. 31.

Classical composer Conrad Tao performs “Iridescence for Piano and iPad” in the CPR Performance Studio.

Colorado Public Radio launches a new, interactive website and significantly expands digital production. CPR’s music and storytelling comes to life in the digital space, giving listeners new ways to connect with CPR News, CPR Classical and OpenAir.
2014 With a renewed focus on efficiency and collaboration, CPR News moves into a new, open-space newsroom that increases capacity and resources in essential topic areas like energy and environment, healthcare, arts and education.

Hayley Helmericks of Snake Rattle Rattle Snake records the 1,000th OpenAir song in the CPR Performance Studio.

CPR enhances the quality and accessibility of OpenAir along the front range. As momentum builds, OpenAir hosts hundreds of new and local musicians in the CPR Performance Studio. Many of these recording sessions were captured on video and, in partnership with Colorado Public Television, broadcast on CPT12 as well as OpenAir’s YouTube channel, offering direct, on-demand access to exclusive performances.