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Dillon Radio Station Founder Passes Away

This summer Wally did a piece on on the founding of the first radio station in Dillon. SWMT News recently heard of Burt's passing. Burt was one of those visionaries who brought something to Dillon that was lacking. His story is one that would inspire anyone on the fence wanting to do something new and revolutionary. We have included his obituary as well as a link to the Did You Know Dillon MT.

BURT HIATT OLIPHANT. December 13, 1926—January 26, 2021. Burt Hiatt Oliphant, 94, of Joliet, Montana passed away peacefully January 26, 2021 at a Billings Hospice surrounded by family. He was born December 13, 1926 in Salt Lake City to faithful parents, Martha Gertrude Hiatt, and Clare Howe Oliphant. He was the sixth of eight children. The Depression, hard times and his mother’s health led his family to many areas of the country—homesteading in central Utah, southern California, Missouri, and Washington State. While in Washington, his mother died on his 16th birthday; he dropped out of high school to help pay for the funeral. He was drafted into the Army in 1945, received Signal Corps training in 1946 and was shipped overseas. He served as an entertainment specialist and worked at the Armed Forces Radio Station in Pusan, Korea where he entertained the troops over the radio waves until 1948. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central States mission from 1949-1950. He left his mission early to serve his country in the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1951. He returned home to Washington State where he met his wife Peggy Smith. They were married in the Idaho Falls temple in 1953. He graduated from Washington State University in communication, and the couple moved to Dillon, Montana to follow Burt’s lifelong passion of radio. With a deep radio voice, hard work and people who believed in the power of radio, they started KDBM radio on January 1, 1957. Their success in Dillon led to the purchase of KANA-AM station in Anaconda, Montana in 1965.

Burt was active in his church and always served in many callings, including high counselor, branch president and Stake President of the Butte Stake in 1968. With a beautiful baritone voice, Burt sang in the church choir and always sang to each child and grandchild on their birthdays.

Burt and Peggy purchased KATN-AM & KBBK-FM in Boise, Idaho in 1972. They sold KDBM AM-FM radio in 1979 and moved to Boise. In 1985, they sold their Boise station and in 1986, they started KDZN radio in Glendive, Montana. While there, Burt served as a County Commissioner in Dawson County. They sold that station in 1995. Burt and Peggy moved to Red Lodge, Montana and helped start KMXE-FM99, The Mountain radio station.

With their extensive media experience, Burt and Peggy served a Public Affairs mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Palmyra, NY from 1995-1997. After their mission, they bought a motor home and traveled the country for six years, visiting family and friends. They settled in St. George, Utah and lived there for fourteen years, returning to Montana for the summer months. They enjoyed the warmer weather and wonderful friendships they formed in St. George. In 2018, they moved to Joliet, Montana to be closer to their children.

Burt is survived by his wife, Peggy, and three children: Jill (Randall), Brent (Teresa) and Jeff (Annette), eleven grandchildren plus spouses, eight step-grandchildren plus spouses, twenty-one great grandchildren, and three great step-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, four stepsiblings plus spouses and his half-brother’s widow.

Burt was predeceased by his parents, 5 siblings; 1 sister-in-law; 3 brothers-in-law and a half-brother. Funeral services will be Friday February 5, 2021 at 11 am at the Red Lodge ward chapel on West Fork Rd. A viewing at the chapel for friends and family will be from 10-11 am on Friday. Services will be streamed at Interment will be the next day, Saturday February 6, 2021 at 11 am in Mountain View cemetery, Pocatello, Idaho with military honors. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Missionary Fund or Humanitarian Fund.

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