Candidate Forums

April 27th, 2018

The first debate/discussion sponsored by the Greater Montana Foundation, featuring the Republican candidates for the US Senate, on April 26 at the Ed Craney Studio of the Montana Historical Society Museum went very well.


The Greater Montana Foundation sponsored debates between Republican primary candidates for the US Senate on April 26, with Democratic candidates for the US House on May 3, at the Ed Craney Studio (named for GMF’s founder) of the Montana Museum of the Montana Historical Society, according to Dr. Bill Whitsitt, GMF Board Chair. Both debates are 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

“The Debates will be live streamed and available for immediate viewing by any radio or TV station or for rebroadcast,” he said. “Our board decided that there needs to be more information available on major primary candidates, so we are funding these events to further our mission to benefit Montanans by “encouraging communications, with an emphasis on electronic media, on issues, trends and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans.”

Whitsitt emphasized that while candidates will be debating positions, GMF seeks discussions on qualifications and points of view; so these might be better framed as “debates/discussions. Whitsitt will open the debates and introduce participants. He is Executive-in-Residence at the UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Visiting professor in its College of Business. He is a former Montana broadcaster and creator of the original Montana Television Network news organization.

GMF Vice Chair Ron Davis, Butte, will serve as moderator. He is the president of Butte Broadcasting and General Manager of radio stations KBOW, KOPR and KGLM. He is a member and has served as Chair of the board of the Montana Broadcasters Association and as a member of the board of the National Broadcasters Association.

Asking questions will be Mike Dennison, chief political reporter for MTN and former Helena-based political reporter for the Lee Newspapers and the Great Falls Tribune, and Beth Saboe, news and public affairs producer at MontanaPBS in Bozeman.

Seating in the Ed Craney is limited and available by invitation only. Seating in the Montana Historical Society Museum lobby is available for viewing on the large TV screen. An area just left of the museum front doors is reserved for news media wishing to interview candidates after the debates.

Participants on April 26 included all Republican primary candidates for the US Senate: Troy Downing, Judge Russell Fagg, Dr. Al Olszewski, and State Auditor Matt Rosendale.

Participants on May 3 include all Democratic primary candidates for the US House: Grant Keir, John Heenan, John Meyer, Jared Pettinato and Kathleen Williams.

“We hope the debates will better inform Montana voters in their decisions about voting in these primaries,” Williams concluded.

Logistic Notes: The URL for live broadcast is

Stations wishing to take these debates live will need to know how to pull the Youtube into their system. While there are many ways to make that happen, if there are any issues, please call Kev Hamm in advance at 406-417-0070 to test some ideas and see what equipment they have available.

The full-HD video will be available for download from a dedicated link after the broadcast and will be available sometime the next day. For any needed assistance you can contact Kev Hamm via email or cell 406-417-0070

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.”


Here is a story about the first event.

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