Chet Murphy photo

Chet Murphy (1926-2003)

Inducted in 2022

Chet Murphy’s career in communication began with a job as Vice President of Consolidated Cable Television in Wenatchee, Washington in 1953 to 1957.  He brought the company from 11 connections to where a national cable company bought out the Wenatchee cable system. Chet went to work for KXLY TV as a Sales Representative in Spokane WA.

In the spring of 1959 Chet and three other partners started KYSS-AM 910 1KW.  This was a daytime station coming into a market with three full time stations.  The station signed on June 27, 1959 with KYSS lips on the sidewalks, every parking meter covered with bags announcing the new station and free parking for the day.  Technical difficulties took the station off the air within two hours.  The engineers from the competing stations came and helped get the station back on the air, as the KYSS engineer had gone home to sleep after being up all night and neglected to tell anyone where he was.

By 1960 the other three partners had sold to the Murphy’s and it was all theirs.  They took Jim Goodrich in as a working partner and the partnership continued till the sale of the station.

On May 11, 1969 KYSS brought the first FM Station to Missoula with the tower located on the top of the Florence Hotel.  The tower was later moved to the mountain above Snowbowl. Over the years the KYSS News Department won many awards, including two Associated Press National Awards, the Intermountain Network Silver Anniversary News award and many yearly Regional Associated Press Awards.

Through the management of Chet Murphy the station was active in the community.  There were many promotions including the KYSS Fan Club which held dances for teenagers, the Saturday movies at the Fox Theatre, Birthday cakes for advertisers on KYSS”s birthday, Christmas Parties for all advertisers and local city and county agencies.

The Murphy’s sold the station to Intermountain Network in 1979 and Chet retired from management in 1980.     

Bill Whitsitt picture

Bill Whitsitt

Inducted in 2019

Bill Whitsitt’s contributions to Montana broadcasting spanned a rich career in radio and television in Big Sky Country. They also provided the foundation for regional and national achievements in public affairs communication and advertising.

From a high school radio program start on KUDI in Great Falls in 1961, until he led creation of, and managed, the Montana Television Network (MTN) news organization in 1971-73 with its unique interconnected approach to statewide news and public affairs programming, Bill sought and supported broadcasting innovation and excellence. Along the way he worked during his College of Great Falls degree program as a KFBB Radio announcer, a KUDI Top 40 DJ, and KRTV announcer.

After college, Bill became KRTV’s first fulltime news director. He was later awarded a CBS News Fellowship for graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City. Upon his return to Great Falls the MTN News operation was born. MTN firsts included statewide televised political debates, unique documentaries and “mini-documentaries” in regular news programs on such topics as Montana’s Hutterites and what Lewis and Clark would actually have seen – and could still be seen – along the Missouri River.

Later as a congressional staff member and in the private sector he focused on energy policy, was an energy trade advisor under three presidents, earned a Ph.D., and taught policy dynamics at George Washington University. When the shale energy revolution began, Bill led a successful national educational and advertising effort to change the country’s energy shortage perception to one recognizing America’s energy abundance.

Even from outside Montana, he continued to work to support Montana broadcasting. For nearly twenty years he was a trustee of the Greater Montana Foundation (GMF). Returning with his wife, Kristy, to retire in Bigfork in 2013, Bill became GMF chairman, encouraging innovative grants for special broadcast programming and a series of leading-edge communication research surveys in the state. The latter have helped broadcasters and others understand changing uses of media, and implications for media business and communication models of the future.

Bill always believed that innovation and excellence make differences. And that they depend on personal energy and commitment, teamwork – and wisdom and opportunities provided by those who’ve gone before.

Jack Womack MBA Hall of Fame picture

Jack Womack (1959 - )

Inducted in 2018

Jack Womack was born in Dillon in 1959.   He attended Helena High School and started his career in broadcasting at Helena’s KCAP AM and FM when he was 15 years old in 1974.  He graduated from HHS in 1977 and attended college at Montana State University and worked for a short time at KXXL Radio Bozeman.

Womack left college to become news director of KCAP radio in January of 1978.  Later that year he was named Operations Director KCAP AM-FM.  He then attended the University of Montana in the fall of 1978.  He anchored at IMN News and KTVG Helena in the summer of 1979.

In 1980 he returned to Bozeman to become the morning drive host on KBMN radio.  In 1983 Womack moved to Spokane and worked as an assignment editor/reporter and anchor at KXLY TV-AM-FM. In 1984 he graduated from Montana State University with a B-A in television and film production.

He moved to Atlanta in 1985 and worked as an editor at CNN’s national desk.  He has held a variety of jobs at CNN including Executive Producer CNN Newsource Live, Director Broadcast Affiliate Relations, substitute anchor for Headline News, VP editorial operations Headline News and Executive Vice President Headline News.

Womack’s current position is Senior Vice President Production and Operations CNN Worldwide, based at the company world headquarters in Atlanta. This is the largest group of employees at CNN.   This team includes all studio and field production, CNN Newsource the largest news syndication service in the world with broadcast, web, digital and newspaper affiliates around the world.   He is also responsible for CNN’s Special Events team, Business Administration, the CNN Library,  CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting-  (CNN’s drone force), CNN Design for sets, studios, graphics and lighting and all employee technical training for the company.

For the past 4 years Womack and his teams have been working on a major new broadcast facility and New York Headquarters for CNN.    CNN will have studios, newsrooms, offices and full production from a building in a major new development of skyscrapers in New York called Hudson Yards.  CNN will start broadcasting from this over 300,000 square foot facility in June of 2019.

Jack and his wife Kathy live in Marietta, Georgia and are celebrating their 30th anniversary on June 11th.   They have 4 children, Carson, Kylie, Alexa and Wyatt.   Jack has a son Jeff Womack who started his career in Montana Broadcasting and was the 2011 MBA Montana Weathercaster of the year. Jeff is an on -air meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

dave wilson montana broadcasters hall of fame 2017 inductee

Dave Wilson (1940 - 2015)

Inducted in 2017

In 1958, Mercury Recording Artists "The Four Flickers" asked Dave to be their bass singer and instrumentalist. They played 45 of the 48 continental states. This brought him to Montana in 1960, and the Big Sky Country captured his heart.

He started selling radio advertising for KUDI in 1968. His first shift on 560 KMON was on St. Patrick's Day 1969. In January 1970, he started with the afternoon drive shift. He was soon moved to mornings where he excelled. In 1972, created the "Grass Roots Gold" radio program, which is still the largest continuously running show of its type in the Northwestern U.S. and still on the air today.

In 1982, Dave's band, "Country Connection" traveled to Scandinavia, and was nominated for "furthering country music in Europe Award". They were honored to play for Vice-President Bush and President Regan during their visits to Great Falls. In 1986, he voiced the presentation of the "Elvis" bronze, which was unveiled at Graceland.

In 1996, Dave was promoted to Operations Manager of STARadio. In 2004, he accepted a position at KLSK Radio. He was with Fisher Radio until 2009, and after 40 years doing what he loved, he retired. In 2012, Dave established Great Falls' first on-line radio station streaming worldwide.

He was involved with Special Olympics, Bluegrass on the Bay, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cascade County DUI Task Force, MC for Veteran's Memorial Opening ceremony, and Mayor's Prayer Breakfast MC for 17 years. He received the Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award and in 2005 the Silver Medal Award from the Great Falls Advertising Federation.

Dave and his son Mark were the only living father and son DJ's to be inducted together into the Montana Radio Legends in 2011. A life's ambition, Dave cut a C.D. in 2005, titled "My Turn to Sing". In Dave's words, he was: "The victim of a life thoroughly enjoyed".

jack hyyppa 2016 montana broadcasters hall of fame inductee

Jack Hyyppa (1945 - )

Inducted in 2016

Jack Hyyppa is a native Montanan from Whitehall, who graduated from Butte High. He went on to earn undergraduate degrees from Montana State University and a graduate degree at Northern Illinois University, He returned to MSU in 1973 to join the faculty of the Film and Television Department where he taught television and film production. Jack retired from teaching in 2006 as a full professor having impacted the lives of thousands of students, many of whom went on to careers in television in Montana and beyond.

In 1984, inspired by a local group of mothers who wanted Sesame Street available for their children, Jack brought KUSM-TV, Montana's first public television station, on the air, serving as its manager for 22 years. The station began humbly and creatively, with assistance from KUED in Salt Lake City, and a donated, low-power transmitter from Montana broadcasting legend and Hall-of-Famer, Joe Sample. In the years that followed, Jack grew the small station,
raising support from the community, the university, and the Montana legislature. Its reach would eventually be extended through cable systems across the state and a number of translators.

In 1997, Jack was instrumental in forging a partnership between the state's two rival universities to form Montana Public Television. KUFM-TV went on the air, and in a virtually unprecedented show of cooperation, staff and producers at the University of Montana joined forces with the station at MSU to expand over-the-air public television into western Montana. In the subsequent years, that partnership grew to include stations in Billings, Great Falls and Kalispell.

Jack believed that locally produced, locally scheduled, educational, historical, and civic programming should be available to all Montanans. Today, MontanaPBS serves over 400 Montana communities, reaching over 80% of the state for free, and is available in nearly every Montana home.

Jack Hyyppa’s career established his place as the father of public broadcasting in Montana, a dedicated educator, and an influential leader of our industry.

gene peterson 2017 montana braodcasters hall of fame inductee

Gene Peterson (1941 - 2020)

Inducted in 2015

Gene Peterson (1941 - 2020) a native of Culbertson, Montana, started a fifty year broadcast career at KFBB in Great Falls, after attending Brown Institute. He joined KGVO in Missoula in 1962.

At the age of 29 with a fifteen hundred dollar investment and determined family involvement from his wife, Rose, and daughters, Pamela and Kimberlee, he built a struggling station into ownership of a successful radio group of five stations including KYLT-KZOQ, KBLL AM-FM in Helena and KPRK in Livingston.

He served as President of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, Grizzly Scholarship Association, Montana Broadcasters Association, St. Patrick Hospital Advisory Board, YMCA, and UM President's Advisory Board. His awards included Businessman of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and Hugh O'Brien Lifetime Achievement Award. He believed that a healthy financial statement was a reflection of how well you served your community.

bob hoene 2014 montana broadcasters hall of fame inductee

Bob Hoene ( - )

Inducted in 2014

Bob Hoene’s broadcast career started in 1971 as an instructor in the Radio and Television Department in the Journalism School at UM. Bob moonlighted as play-by-play announcer for the Griz on KGVO Radio while helping put the University radio station on the air. KUFM became Montana’s first public radio station and NPR affiliate.

Bob went to work in Helena for an ad agency and served as the executive director of the Montana Broadcasters Association from 1974 to 1997. Over the years the MBA Board of Directors was populated with future Hall of Fame inductees. This renowned group motivated and guided him through many successful years representing the broadcasters. Bob and his staff introduced sales education while rewarding high achievers with cash and recognition awards, devised the concept for a broadcast station directory, increased membership to record numbers, and hired a lobbyist, while improving communication and service.

Delivering on new ideas added expense; more income was needed. Bob developed a program with the Montana National Guard to fill unused broadcast time with paid messages, guaranteeing statewide coverage to non-commercial accounts and charging for the service. The idea blossomed in Montana and now every Broadcast Association in the nation uses the Non Commercial Sustaining Announcement Program, created by Bob, to help fund their organizations. Today the MBA and all State Broadcast Associations are comfortably subsidized by the NCSA program.

Meanwhile, Bob’s Advertising Agency, 5th Avenue, grew to become the most prolific purchaser of electronic media in the State. It was his great privilege to work with and for the many members of the MBA.

charlie cannaliato 2013 montana broadcasters hall of fame inductee

Charlie Cannaliato (1943 - )

Inducted in 2013

Charlie Cannaliato is a self-taught broadcast engineer who was born, raised and educated in Baltimore, MD and worked as a school teacher before moving to Montana in 1972. His first broadcast job was as a master control operator—or switcher as it was then known—at KCFW-TV in Kalispell. His innovation and strong leadership skills led to his promotion as Chief Engineer for KCFW, KECI and KTVM and he moved to Missoula.

Among his many “firsts” in Montana, Charlie developed a ¾ inch tape sequencing system for master control; he developed and built the first multi-studio control point enabling the operation of four studios from a single control point. He did this using a Radio Shack home computer, which he reprogrammed for this purpose. His stations were the first in Montana to use video file servers in master control and he was a pioneer in the use of digital transmitters and Dolby Surround Sound for television.

Since his “retirement” in 2007, Charlie has conducted all of the FCC Alternative Broadcast Inspections for the MBA and has worked tirelessly converting television translators to digital and assuring their future viability for rural Montanans.

richard miller 2012 montana broadcasters hall of fame inductee

Richard “Shag” Miller (1923 - 2009)

Inducted in 2012

Service was a theme in Shag Miller’s life; service to his community, to his industry and to his country. In 1942 he left the University of Montana and joined the Army Air Corp where he served in Italy and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Air Medal. Following his discharge he returned to UM and graduated with a degree in Journalism in 1947.

In 1961 Shag purchased KBOW-AM, Butte, and in 1972 he started KOPR-FM. In the mid-1960s he was instrumental in forming the Intermountain Network of Montana.

Shag served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army, the Local Development Corporation, the Montana State Golf Association and on the Board of Directors of the Montana Power Company.

In addition to serving as the President of the Montana Broadcasters Association, Shag served on the CBS Radio Affiliates Board and the National AP Radio Board. He served on the UM Foundation Board and was recognized in 1996 as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Montana.

lamont wallis 2011 montana broadcasters hall of fame inductee

Lamont “Monty” Wallis (1946 - )

Inducted in 2011

Monty began his broadcast career at the age of 12 as a part-time announcer at KURL in Billings.  He later became manager of that and several other radio stations before moving to KTVQ-TV (Q-2) Billings as General Sales Manager.  At the time of his retirement, he was General Manager of Q-2, Montana Group Manager, and Vice President of Cordillera Communications Television Division.  He was also a member of the CBS Affiliates Television Board.

A past Chair of the Board of the Montana Broadcasters Association, Monty also serves as a Reserve Deputy for the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office where he received the Medal of Honor for heroic action. He co-founded the Child and Family Intervention Center, created the Your Choice Program and serves on the boards of the DUI Task Force, Montana Crime Prevention Council and Community 7 Television.

Monty has two sons, Vince and Grant, and several grandchildren. He and his significant other Kathy Carson live in Billings.