Dave Rye began his broadcast career in 1966 at KYLT Radio in Missoula, while he was still a college student. Other radio stops prior to his television career included KLTZ in Glasgow, and KKGF, KUDI AND KEIN in Great Falls. His duties evolved from disk jockey to talk show host to news reporter. He began in television in the news department at KFBB-TV in Great Falls, where he worked from 1974 to 1978, eventually becoming News Director. Between two of the Great Falls assignments, Dave spent a brief time at KGRC-FM in Hannibal, Missouri and Quincy, Illinois. It took only four months living outside Montana for Dave to realize he was a dyed-in-the-wool Montanan. Dave moved on to Billings as News Director and news anchor at KULR-8 TV from 1980 to 1990, and again from 1993-2000. He filled the gap between the two separate stints at KULR-8 by serving in the Montana state Senate, to which he was elected in 1990.
He closed out his career as News Director for the Northern Broadcasting System, headquartered in Billings, from 2001 until he thought he was retiring in 2006. In 2008, the NBS management talked him into coming out of retirement to host its statewide talk show, “Voices of Montana,” which he did for the next 18 months.
Dave won awards from the Montana Broadcaster’s Association for Radio Program of the Year in 1972, and for TV Announcer of the Year in both 1984 and 1986.
Between the Great Falls and Billings experiences, he served on the Washington, D.C. staff of then-Congressman Ron Marlenee as press secretary and speechwriter, but always with the intention of returning permanently to Montana. The 1980 job offer from KULR-8 gave him that opportunity.
Dave was born in Virginia and spent his early years in Iowa, but moved to Billings with his family at the age of 8. He is a graduate of Billings Senior High School and has a B.A. degree in English from the University of Montana. He served two years on active duty in the U.S. Army. That service included 14 months in Vietnam, where he was wounded in action by enemy mortar fire. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal, and was named his Battalion’s Soldier of the Month. Later he served five years with the Army Reserve unit in Great Falls, and was named the unit’s Soldier of the Year.
He and his wife Gay, a Billings native, were married in 1971. They have a grown son and two grandchildren.
Dave is a past President and still an active member of the Billings Kiwanis Club. He has served on numerous boards of civic and non-profit local groups and is a certified Lay Pastoral Associate of the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In that duty, he presides and preaches twice per month at rural Lutheran churches, and frequently at urban churches as a substitute for vacationing pastors.
The Greater Montana Foundation thanks Cordillera Communications and their Television stations throughout Montana for providing studio, production and edit facilities for the Legacy Broadcasters Initiative interviews. Without their generous support, this project would not have been possible.
The Legacy Project of the Greater Montana Foundation is produced in coordination with the Montana Historical Society. Many thanks to all who work and donate to MHS and its great work.