Ed Craney—the Voice of Montana

In the 1920s, Montanans reeled from blows caused by drought, economic depression, and illness. Half of Montana's farmers lost their land between 1919 and 1925, and thousands moved out of the state. When Edmund "Ed" Craney opened the state's fifth radio station in Butte in 1929, his voice reached across the plains and created a community among those that remained.

This community grew as Craney extended his business operations into the Z Bar network, which included stations across Montana. Craney's influence expanded beyond radio to television and the broadcasting industry at the state and national level. When he retired in 1961, he turned his focus full time to philanthropy, predominantly through the Greater Montana Foundation which he had established in 1958. Through this foundation, Craney's philanthropic efforts continue to impact the cultural heritage of Montana. Ed Craney died in Montpelier, Idaho in 1991 at the age of 86.

This digital exhibit explores Ed Craney's impact on the state and presents images from collections held by the Museum and the Research Center of the Montana Historical Society.

Credits

Jodie Foley, State Archivist and Jennifer Bottomley-O'looney, Senior Museum Curator