Lonnie Bell got his first taste of radio when his band performed on Honolulu station KAHU while serving in the U.S. Navy. He later became a DJ at that station and several others while fulfilling his military service.
After completing his tour of duty, Lonnie moved to western Washington and continued to play music and work in radio. While there, he hired an unknown singer to perform with his band. That singer was Loretta Lynn, one of many future country stars that Lonnie introduced and promoted over the years. Lonnie has been a continuous fixture in Billings since 1969, first at KOYN AM, and in recent years at KGHL AM.
In addition to his on-air duties, Lonnie founded the Montana March of Dimes Horseback Ride which he continues to be the spokesman for. He has also donated countless hours to other local charities.
In March of 2005 Lonnie Bell was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in Nashville as well as the Montana Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
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.