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No B.S.: Brian Kahn Remembered As Kind, Empathetic And Fiercely Intellectual

Brian Kahn
courtesy Brian Kahn

Montana broadcasting legend Brian Kahn passed away of natural causes yesterday while on a hunting trip near Lewistown, according to several of his friends. For nearly a quarter century Kahn hosted Home Ground Radio, featuring intimate one-one-one conversations with newsmakers and everyday Americans.

During his 2016 Tedx talk on what makes for a great interview, Brian said, "For me, an interview is a 30 minute relationship. That's essential."

Kahn said he tried to stick to certain principles for his interviews. Those included respect for his audience and guests, probing questions and, as he put it, no B.S. He said there was more than enough of that in modern mass media.

Marvin Granger helped nudge Kahn into radio back in the late 80s.

"Brian was not much at smalltalk. What he said was usually meaningful."

Granger, Yellowstone Public Radio's retired general manager, describes Kahn as a brilliant public intellectual.

"He was a thinking man, and not an arrogant one. He thought seriously about life and about the world of ideas."

YPR's current general manager Ken Siebert says Kahn was an amazing mentor to him back in the early 90s.

"He was incredibly kind and deeply empathetic. I think anyone who's listened to even one of his interviews can hear that. And he married that with such a fierce intellect and a curiosity for the world around him."

Kahn made headlines right up to the end. In late September Kahn pressed former Montana Governor Mark Racicot on which presidential candidate he supported. Racicot, a Republican, revealed he'll vote for Democrat Joe Biden.

Again, YPR general manager Ken Siebert.

"Well, I know this is some giant shoes to fill. It's very difficult to find someone, again, I would use the word empathy and kindness, that also has the ability to probe and to push the way that Brian did."

Home Ground aired on over 30 public and private radio stations in the Rocky Mountain West, including Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio.

Brian Kahn was 73.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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