Montana State University

MontanaPBS’ Jack Hyyppa to be inducted into Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame

June 10, 2016

Jack Hyyppa, who helped create Montana Public Television while a member of the MSU film and television faculty for nearly three decades, will be inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Photo by Phil Savoie, courtesy of Eric Hyyppa.Jack Hyyppa, who helped create Montana Public Television while a member of the MSU film and television faculty for nearly three decades, will be inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Jack Hyyppa, who helped create Montana Public Television while a member of the MSU film and television faculty for nearly three decades, will be inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Photo by Phil Savoie, courtesy of Eric Hyyppa.

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Jack Hyyppa, who helped create Montana Public Television in his nearly three decades at Montana State University, will be inducted into the Montana Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame when the groups meets this month.

A native of Whitehall, Hyyppa is an MSU graduate who worked for a short time at Northern Illinois University before returning to his alma mater in 1973 to join the faculty of what was then the MSU Film and Television Department.

He brought Montana’s first public broadcasting station on the air in 1984, motivated by a group of local mothers who lobbied to have the national educational children’s show “Sesame Street” available for their children. At the time, Montana was one of just a few states that did not have national Public Broadcasting Service programs. Montana’s station launched with assistance from KUED in Salt Lake City and a low-power transmitter donated to the young station by Joe Sample, the renowned pioneering Billings broadcaster. Hyyppa slowly grew the station, raising support from the community, the university, and the Montana Legislature. Eventually, its reach was extended beyond Gallatin Valley with support from cable systems across the state and a number of translators.

In 1997, Hyyppa helped forge KUFM-TV, a partnership between MSU and the University of Montana, to form Montana Public Television that expanded over-the-air public television into western Montana. In subsequent years, that partnership grew to include stations in Billings, Great Falls and Kalispell. Today, MontanaPBS serves more than 400 Montana communities and nearly every American home.

A longtime member of the MBA board of directors, Hyyppa retired in 2006 from more than three decades of teaching and 22 years of managing MontanaPBS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Hyyppa  (406) 994-6252, eric_hyyppa@montanapbs.org