The Greater Montana Foundation has awarded grants of $256,000 for 2013, including two grants to increase local news programming content for Montana’s commercial stations.     “Montana’s radio and TV stations are finding it increasingly difficult to cover local and regional news,” said Randy Morger, FortBenton, Chair of the GMF Board of Trustees. “Strengthening local stations was a primary goal of our founder, Ed Craney, and two of the projects we selected address this issue.”

A $40,000 commercial grant was awarded to Montana Radio Company for an innovative new collaboration with the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West.  Montana Radio Company will broadcast news content from two of the O’Connor Center’s nonprofit programs; Mountain West Voices, interviews and multi-media stories and Mountain West News, a web-based news aggregator service, updated daily.  Both are also GMF grantees.   Programs will be aired on four of the company’s radio stations now operating in Missoula, Great Falls and Helena.

The Montana Broadcasters Association received $6500 for a new venture, Montana News Share, an interactive web-based service, where TV and radio producers and independent producers can upload news and other programs to share with other stations.

Grants were awarded to support documentary films, for TV, radio and web-based programs, for the Montana Historical Society’s Ed Craney Studio and a broadcast symposium.  GMF also funds programs which help train future broadcasters and scholarships and internships at the state’s universities, according to Morger.

““GMF is pleased to partner with commercial and non-commercial broadcasters, independent producers, and organizations that foster our unique Montana heritage and culture.  These grants ultimately benefit the people of Montana by helping to advance vibrant communications media for the state,” Morger said.

Founded by pioneer broadcaster Ed Craney 1958, the foundation’s mission is to encourage communication, with an emphasis on electronic media, on issues,  trends and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans.