Background on Commercial Broadcaster Time-Sensitive Program Grants

September 10th, 2015

The Greater Montana Foundation (GMF) has a special commercial broadcaster grant category for time-sensitive news and/or public affairs programming on issues of importance, including multi-part reports within regular news programs.

This category is designed to encourage and assist commercial broadcasters in providing meaningful and timely coverage of emerging and developing issues. It is not a replacement for grants that should be proposed during the regular annual GMF grant consideration process in the spring and early summer of each calendar year.

More specifically, the Commercial Broadcaster Time-Sensitive Program Grants category is for short-turnaround consideration of commercial station grant requests for issue-related programs that could not have been foreseen for proposal during the regular annual grant consideration process, and which are likely to lose their importance, and even relevance, if delayed until the next annual grant cycle. Proposals in this category may be made anytime, and expeditious consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the GMF Board of Trustees.

The Greater Montana Foundation requires that all programs receiving its funding be made available for use upon request by any Montana media outlets, schools and libraries.


The Greater Montana Foundation (GMF) has long supported a range of public broadcasting and commercial radio and television programs in fulfillment of the vision of pioneer Montana broadcaster Ed Craney who created the Foundation. That vision is captured in the Greater Montana Foundation Vision/Mission Statement that appears on every grant application form received:

The Greater Montana Foundation
benefits the people of Montana by encouraging communication
with an emphasis on electronic media
on issues, trends and values of importance
to present and future generations of Montanans

Also, on every form is the following statement. It reflects Mr. Craney’s -- and the GMF’s – conviction that commercial broadcasting does, and must continue to, provide an important and fundamental ongoing communication link “on issues…of importance…”:

The Greater Montana Foundation grants priority funding to programs that adhere most closely to the principles articulated in the GMF mission statement and for which applicants can demonstrate intention on the part of commercial television and radio stations to air the proposed programs. Special consideration will also be given to multi-part series written and produced to air within regularly-scheduled news and public affairs programs.


By the Commercial Broadcaster Time-Sensitive Program Grants category, the GMF Board of Trustees seeks to provide maximum encouragement for commercial radio and television stations to continually seek to produce and air quality news and public affairs program segments, or longer programs, that address topical or time-sensitive issues facing Montana and its citizens.

Funding by GMF is not intended to replace baseline program spending of commercial stations. It is to assist with costs of projects that would, in all likelihood, not be possible because of extraordinary costs.

Issues envisioned as being the focus of such projects are to be current, and of significant importance to Montanans. Treatment of these issues must be balanced.
Because of the potentially time-sensitive nature of the issues about which segments or programs may be proposed, the GMF Board will make funding decisions as needed, separate and apart from its annual spring and summer grant-making process.

Proposal Process

The process of making a proposal is designed to be simple and rapid.

Commercial television or radio personnel wishing to propose projects should fill out the special grant proposal form below and send it to .

Telephone and e-mail contact will follow, with the possibility of a meeting or conference call with the GMF Executive Director and/or Board members.


Questions about the intent of this request or the proposal process should be addressed to Sidney Armstrong, GMF Executive Director.

Commercial Grant Application Form

General Grants

General grants are available for nonprofits and others: for film, TV programs, documentaries, videos, webinars, etc. with applications due annually on April 1 and awards made in June.

Commercial Grants

A major goal for GMF’s founder, Ed Craney was to improve commercial broadcasting in the state. There is no deadline for grant applications from commercial stations if you can demonstrate that this is an urgent and critical issue & production is time-limited