Fred Pfeiffer was born late on a Sunday night, June 13, 1948 at 11:16 pm. He doesn’t remember what the weather was like that evening, but historical records show it was well into the 80’s that day so it had to be a warm night and it was overcast as well. What a great start for someone who would become Mr. Weather for a large part of Montana.
As he entered his teen years his voice became deeper, and that voice won the honors as co-host of the “Rustler Roundup” weekly school show on the popular KUDI rock and roll radio station in Great Falls. He took turns with the co-host, gathering song requests over the telephone and reporting on school news. It wasn’t long before he talked the DJ’s into letting him cue the records, turning the microphone on and off and eventually running the entire show. From that moment Fred knew this was his calling.
Following a short tour in the Navy and Vietnam, Fred returned to Great Falls working to save money to enter MSU in Bozeman, Montana. Quickly running out of money, he worked for KBMN Radio for part-time income and before long was offered a full time job as morning announcer.
After a year in Bozeman he found a job in Great Falls working for KARR-AM and KOPR-FM as morning announcer, also doing some sports broadcasting for extra money broadcasting Great Falls Giants Pioneer league baseball games and other high school sports events.
Almost four years later, married and with one daughter, Fred and family struck out for greener pastures… KGGF radio in Coffeyville, Kansas, 40 miles north of Tulsa…a station that covered parts of four states. Roots were set up there for about a dozen years. But the Rocky Mountains were calling and Fred then took a job with K99 radio in Great Falls working on the air in the morning and selling radio in the afternoons.
In 1982, He was hired at KTWO Radio and Television in Casper, Wyoming doing morning radio news. The catch was he also had to do television news and weather as well. He told management if they thought he had a face for television he would take the job. That lasted six years. After a short break working security in Las Vegas, it was back to Montana. A year of farming also helped him understand weather and just how important it is to the Ag community.
Finally his dream job opened up! Part time noon weather at KRTV, which quickly turned to full time. His job was to begin the new CBS Morning Show that was coming. A short time later he moved to prime-time weather and news reporting. The rest is history, including a seven year wait for an exclusive interview with David Letterman in New York City.
After 15 years with KRTV Fred retired, but not before earning an E.B. Craney award for “Best Television Enterprise Reporting,” as well as many radio and television awards along the way, including the Golden and Silver apple awards from the Great Falls School System.
Fred Pfeiffer says… “Thank you all for all the opportunities and loyal viewers and for allowing me into your homes through radio and television.”
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.