A new local TV station is set to launch in December, and has taken over the live broadcasting rights on Aspen Mountain from Plum TV.
Aspen 82 will begin broadcasting Dec. 21 on channel 82 from Aspen to El Jebel, and will feature a live morning show from the top of Ajax seven days a week, said David Cook, who is a co-founder and co-owner of the station, along with Spencer McKnight and Oliver Sharpe. All three are local residents who have previously worked for Plum TV.
Meanwhile, Plum TV announced Thursday that it is opening a studio and office in Snowmass Base Village and will feature pre-recorded programming with a local host Thursday through Sunday mornings starting Dec. 20. Plum TV is on channel 16.
Plum TV, a luxury lifestyle network with stations primarily in resort markets, previously held the rights to broadcast live programming from Aspen Mountain. But after the network went through bankruptcy and a change in ownership earlier this year, it did not produce a live, local morning show in Aspen this summer. Whether Plum would return with a morning show this winter has been the subject of speculation among local media watchers.
Cook, the former general manager for Plum TV in Aspen, nearly cut a deal with the network’s new owners to manage the Aspen station this summer, but the agreement fell through.
He said he’s excited to return live, local programming to the community.
“I think people will get used to the idea of going to 82 very quickly,” Cook said.
Aspen 82’s morning show — known as “The Lift” — will be on for two hours each day from 7 to 9 a.m. The day after the channel launches, Dec. 22, the morning show will run through the winter season and return during summer. It will feature interviews, events and weather. The station also plans to produce other local programming, including a segment called “Common Good,” featuring local and national nonprofits.
“We’ll strive to dig deep into the stories that make Aspen unique,” Cook said in a press release.
Cook said he’s currently in negotiations with “two very high profile” syndicated content providers to provide other programming, but could not reveal those sources yet.
Cook and McKnight noted that they received FCC approval last week to broadcast on channel 82. They will have a studio in the Airport Business Center, and are going about the business of building a TV network from the ground up.
Plum, which has recently expanded into the Boston and Philadelphia markets, is branding its Snowmass studio as its “mountain bureau.” Former Plum TV Aspen producer Pat Dimon is returning to be the mountain region bureau chief, after spending the last few years in New York. Plum has other channels in high-end resort markets such as the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
According to a press release issued Thursday, Plum will produce “extensive lifestyle coverage that will include mountain coverage from Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands, celebrity interviews, food tastings and cooking demos, ski and fitness tips, design stories and more.”
Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said the company has been in discussions over the last few months with both Plum and Aspen 82, the latter of which won the coveted Aspen Mountain broadcasting rights.
“We have said we will work with whatever TV stations come to us,” Hanle said.
However, Hanle said the SkiCo would not allow two stations to both be broadcasting live from the same mountain.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Aspen 82's broadcast area. In fact, community access station GrassRoots TV can be seen on Channel 82 from Carbondale to Rifle.