'Our Station': A Letter From MTPR Director Ray Ekness

Mar 30, 2017

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.

In February, I had the honor to speak to a number of our listeners at a get-together in Helena. They had such positive comments and constructive criticism about Montana Public Radio. I thought it was a great conversation, and we have plans to visit more communities in the coming months. One item that really stood out to me was when a couple of folks started their comments with “Our station…” MTPR really is “OUR” station. Our station has a great team in place to keep the in-depth news, music, entertainment, education and cultural programs on-the-air.

I’m proud to show you how we put to good use the dollars you gave us in the last several months. We’re dedicated to bringing you quality reporting: from in-depth election coverage last fall, to the terrific legislative coverage we have been able to provide this winter with reports from our own Montana news team and the partnerships we have with Yellowstone Public Radio and the UM Legislative News Service. All of this keeps you well-informed of issues and ideas from Helena and around Montana that affect your life.

Ray Ekness is the director of the Broadcast Media Center.

Additionally, we’ve partnered with independent producer Amy Martin to bring you Threshold, a brand new podcast that explores the natural world and what it tells about us. In this first season, Amy explores the story of the American Bison from many perspectives. Her goal was to bring a deep conversation to the issues and also meet the highest national production standards. We think she hit it out of the park. Your financial support made it possible for MTPR to invest in Amy and the Threshold podcast to bring you new and innovative Montana programs that are sure to become staples in your life.

We’ve also brought you more live music and special sessions like the recent Spanish music and dance ensemble, Solero Flamenco, from our Studio-B.

Our aim is to enrich your day with extraordinary content you don’t find anywhere else. It takes many people behind-the-scenes to make sure this special content gets to you, like our program staff and recording engineers. Others make sure our signal is strong, keep all of our equipment working and keep our website and podcasts updated. But most importantly it takes you. All of this is for you and belongs to you because together we are MTPR.

We’re so fortunate to have strong supporters for public media in Montana. With new leadership in Washington D.C., and the University of Montana going through a leadership transition and enrollment challenges, questions have come up about our Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant as well as funds we receive from UM. I want you to know that MTPR is dedicated to producing, acquiring and delivering the best local and national programs we can with the resources we have. You can make your voice heard loud and clear, by investing in your station and also by voicing your support for public broadcasting in your community and to your elected representatives. MTPR is a service that is vital to Montanans and worthy of financial support.

We often say that our spring pledge drive serves as our annual report card and that’s true. Through the thousands of comments we receive, we learn what programs you like, but also how we can improve our service. All of us at the station are very grateful for your participation in this amazing endeavor we call public radio.

Personally, I value your support and feedback immensely. I share your passion for public radio and I appreciate your enthusiasm for the work we do. Thank you for being a partner in MTPR.

Ray Ekness, Director Broadcast Media Center