© 2002 Updated: 6/02

Denver Broadcasters Have No Reverence for Historic Places

“Who allowed these ugly towers to block the view?” asked the New York tourist at Buffalo Bill’s Grave. I explained that Jefferson County is responsible for land use and the FCC supplies the licenses. “But the airwaves are a public trust,” she replied. “The FCC is supposed to protect historic and cultural sites.” I explained that the Denver stations don’t tell the FCC that Buffalo Bill was buried next to a historic scenic road.

Above: Exhibits at Buffalo Bill Museum, established in Lookout Mountain Park 1917-1921, attracts 500,000 visitors, the third most popular tourist site in Colorado. Electronic museum exhibits and security systems are now at risk from severe radio frequency interference.

New and renewal license and tower applications sent to the FCC by Denver broadcasters claim that the antenna towers “are not located near any known districts, sites, building structures, or objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture.”

President Clinton named the Buffalo Bill site one of “America’s Treasures” in 1999. Engineers visiting Denver from around the world are eager to drive the amazing Lariat Scenic Mountain Drive built by contractor “Cement Bill” of Golden in 1911-14 (long before “high tech”).

The Western History site is the third most popular Colorado tourist attraction. It benefits the economies of JeffCo, Golden and Denver. CARE and local government officials are concerned about increased RF radiation by Clear Channel Communications and Tribune Corporation (KWGN) within 500 feet of Buffalo Bill’s Grave. The pollution impacts 10 full-time and 17 part-time employees that serve 500,000 annual visitors.

Millions travel the Lariat Trail in motor vehicles and bicycles. Thousands run and walk the Lariat for the extraordinary views. It is also popular with paragliders. The road, grave and Pahaska Teepee were built between 1911 and 1921 and accepted on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

Left: Boettcher Mansion Event Center, aka “Lorraine Lodge,” (1917) is a popular site for weddings, seminars and meetings. RF interferes with sound systems and causes auto doors and starters to lock unpredictably.

The 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all federal agencies to comply with the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) considers impact on sites proposed by private industry or government agencies. FCC rules require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in compliance with NEPA and NHPA when self reported by broadcasters. All federally-mandated (or financed) land use of significant impact on historic properties must be scrutinized by State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) with public involvement.

Attorney Deb Carney filed the first FCC petition requesting no licensing without EIS in March, 1998. On May 27, 1999, the FCC determined that broadcasters did not need to comply with NHPA, NEPA, NAGRA (Native American sacred sites), or the Endangered Species Act because the area was an “antenna farm.”

After CARE appealed to the U.S. District Court in the Washington D.C. circuit, the FCC announced it would “reconsider the denial” on June 25, 1999 and requested “public comment” on a ACHP questioning license approval for Lookout Mountain. The National Association of Broadcasters (backed by politicians seeking favorable media coverage) manipulated ACHP to allow collocation (more antennas and radiation) on towers built before March 16, 2001. Lake Cedar Group falsely reported it built a tower on Colorow Road in 1998. The FCC continues to issue new and renewed licenses for Lookout. Carney filed another protest on April 18, 2002.

On May 30, Colorado Historical Society, State Preservation Officer (SHPO), Georgianna Contiguglia, determined the Lake Cedar Group consolidation proposal “will not adversely affect the qualities of significance of historic properties in the vicinity of the site.” After one meeting with CARE volunteers on March 29, Contiguglia communicated with LCG paid consultant Michael Abrahm on 2/8, 4/25, 5/13, and 5/24.

Contiguglia did not invite any further input from the CARE citizen group, which could have informed her that “directional” means anything less than 360 degrees. The Colorado SHPO apparently did not consider that a JeffCo-approved Planned Development would increase Effected Radiated Power from a cumulative 11.5 Megawatts to 20 Megawatts causing extreme RF interference from the addition of digital television. The outcome would be an RF “dead zone” within an 8-mile radius, adversely effecting hundreds of historic sites, high tech research, businesses and residences. All electronic historic security systems and exhibits would become unreliable within the deadzone.

Above: Thousands gather to celebrate Easter sunrise at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. Built in the 1930s, this historical landmark could suffer from RF interference of music concert sound systems.

Alternative safe sites are available that would not cause adverse effects on historic sites, residents and businesses. (continued on page 2)