Exhibit: Ed Craney—the Voice of Montana
Z Bar Network
Through shrewd advertising, creative listener participation promotions, and continuous efforts to boost radio coverage, Ed Craney expanded his business operations and formed the Z Bar Network which included stations in Bozeman, Butte and Helena. In time Craney created the Pacific Northwest Broadcasters network which included the Z Bar Network and stations in Oregon and Washington. Additional Montana stations also opened at this time included Missoula and Great Falls.
In addition to his local business success, Craney became active in developing the industry on the national level through membership in the National Association of Broadcasters. He is credited with pushing the organization to oppose more actively efforts by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) to increase fees related to recorded music rights. That successful effort resulted in a settlement limiting fees to music programming only rather than gross income of the stations as had been the custom.
Craney also worked tirelessly to bring radio service to rural Montana, both by building his network of stations and a network of translators to ensure the signal reached throughout the state. Craney felt that a network of stations provided higher quality programming than a single, local station could provide on its own. The Z Bar Network proved this point with the Legislative Highlights program in 1947, which provided daily coverage of the actions of the thirtieth Montana Legislative Assembly. The groundbreaking program, which invited members of both parties and both houses to speak on the air, earned KXLJ a Peabody Award for Public Service by a Regional Station.
At a time when many Montanans lacked immediate access to state government, Ed Craney used radio to bring news and legislative affaris and political happenings to the people. Today radio continues to be a significant source of government news for Montanans.