MTPR

Ray Ekness

Director of the Broadcast Media Center

Ray Ekness was named director of the Broadcast Media Center in August 2016. He’s a former UM School of Journalism professor and department chair of the Department of Radio-Television.

Ekness worked a few radio jobs in his native North Dakota and worked on-air at KUFM as a UM student in 1982. He then launched a career as a commercial producer and newscast director at television stations in Montana and Idaho.

He worked at the Broadcast Media Center as a producer/director starting in 1989 before joining the J-school full-time in 2000.

Ekness has helped produce many MontanaPBS programs, including the popular “Backroads of Montana,” “Remembering the Columbia Gardens,” “To Helena and Back: the First Special Service Force,” “Building Bridges: Back to Ireland” and “War of the Worlds.”

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MTPR News Director Eric Whitney.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

It’s a bittersweet moment at Montana Public Radio today. After five years, Eric Whitney has decided to step down as MTPR news director and move on to a great job with NPR. Eric will soon be the NPR bureau chief for 10 Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states including Montana. He says he will, "be an editor who works with reporters based at NPR member stations and helps them get their stories on network shows, including Morning Editing and All Things Considered." Eric is not going far for his job. He’ll be based in Missoula but will be travelling a bit more, he says.

During our summer brew tour we visited with more than 400 of you over 27 hours of listening. We met listeners of all ages from kids and 20-somethings to an 84-year-old couple from the Flathead Valley.
Ray Ekness / Montana Public Radio

It was quite a summer road trip for Montana Public Radio. What a terrific two weeks to be out and about in Montana!

We hosted our meet-and-greet sessions in nine Montana cities over 11 days. We drove nearly 1,900 miles. With the recent and unusual August rain, everything was so green and golden.

Starting September 2, you’ll hear an expanded lineup of engaging programs on Montana Public Radio. MTPR staff will be on the road to meet you on the MTPR Summer Brew Tour, August 12-22. Come chat and have a beer with us and listen to a preview reel introducing four new programs coming to the MTPR schedule.

Montana Public Radio requires many pieces of the puzzle to keep this great station on the air. From our program producers, news team members, and our technicians who keep our equipment running to our fundraising staff – the MTPR team works around the clock to ensure this station is everything you expect it be when you tune in. But most importantly YOU, our member-listeners, are the most important piece of the puzzle and our most valued member of the team.

Friends and Supporters:

MTPR is made for you by the talented, dedicated and trustworthy staff located in Montana and across the country. MTPR is also made by you, in that wonderful “of and by the people” way we all cherish. Some of us listen and donate, some gather and present news, some curate playlists and others connect us to lifelong discovery.

I’m so excited for the upcoming year. MTPR has many great events coming up in 2018.

We’ll be in Helena soon for a brown-bag lunch listener get-together on February 13 at the Myrna Loy Center from noon to 1:30 p.m. MTPR is sponsoring the International Guitar Night performance at the Myrna Loy that evening as well.

For me, Thanksgiving was about family. We’d celebrate the holiday with a table full of food and family. We’d go around the table and ask each person what they were thankful for over the past year. Most of the time, it had to do with someone, family or otherwise, who had made a difference in our lives.

Again this year, we would like to say thanks to you. You are a very important part of our Montana Public Radio family.

Look for our new, weekly "Inside MTPR" post about what’s going on at Montana Public Radio. Whether it’s a special program you might enjoy, a feature by or about one of our dedicated staff, or just a peek behind the curtain at MTPR, we want to share these stories with you.

This week, I’m going to focus on the efforts to secure federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

MTPR news team from left to right: Nicky Ouellet, Corin Cates-Carney, Josh Burnham, Eric Whitney, Edward O'Brien.
William Marcus

Election Day is always an exciting and unpredictable day for any news organization. A “special” election can be even more so. Now throw in a dramatic event involving the front-running candidate on the eve of the election, and we’re at a new level. Our Montana Public Radio news team rolled with the punches, kept digging and found the latest information to best inform everyone before the polls closed on Election Day.

Happy (almost) spring, MTPR listeners! We’ve had a busy winter here at the station and I hope you’ve been enjoying the programs you’ve listened to in the last few months. I wanted to update you on what we've been doing, and give you a look at the budget projections for our new fiscal year.