World War II put a damper on the growth of radio broadcasting by freezing expansion of existing stations and disallowing the licensing of new stations. When the freeze finally lifted, KPRK Radio in Livingston was one of the first new postwar stations to sign on in Montana. At 8:00 P.M. on January 9, 1947, more than twenty prominent local residents representing a broad spectrum of interests participated in the opening ceremonies with organizer/owner Paul McAdam and general manager Walter Carle. KPRK’s new facility was completed in time for the premier broadcast. Missoula architect William Fox designed the futuristic Art Moderne style station in 1946 to contrast with the town’s many turn-of-the-twentieth-century brick buildings and affirm Livingston’s connection with the latest technology. Its streamlined presence reflects the era’s appreciation for technological progress. Horizontal banding, a rounded vestibule, and glass blocks highlight the striking façade, while a whimsical radio tower in miniature crowns the entry. KPRK’s stylized call letters accented by lightning bolts were prominently featured on the front. Jack Hinman joined the station two weeks after its opening. Hinman, a familiar voice to Livingston residents, owned KPRK from 1963 until his death in 1977. His widow, Roberta, sold the station in 1978 to veteran Montana broadcaster Bill Holter whose daughter, Jann, became owner-operator in 1985. The station changed hands again in 2008 and all KPRK broadcasts are fed from studios in Bozeman.

Images

KPRK Radio Station KPRK Radio Station. Front view of the building, facing south to southeast from US Highway 89. The Yellowstone River is just beyond the building to the south and in the background stands Livingston Peak. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Apr. 2011
KPRK Radio Station KPRK Radio Station, view of facade Creator: John Luther Date: Sept 2019

Location

5576 US Highway 89, Livingston, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “KPRK Radio,” Historic Montana, accessed December 3, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1697.