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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Lonnie Bell of Billings

April 20, 2018
Press Release

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte honored Lonnie Bell with the Spirit of Montana award for his military service and his long, renowned career as a country music disc jockey.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte provides a statement about the recipient for the Congressional Record and personally contacts the honoree.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at

Gianforte’s statement about Lonnie Bell in the Congressional Record is available here and follows:


Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Lonnie Bell, a Montanan who shared his warmth, wit, and talents with hundreds of thousands over his seven decades as a country music disc jockey.

Bell, a Navy veteran with 20 years of service, began entertaining audiences while stationed in Oahu in 1953. For the next 30 years, he combined genuine love for country music with his authentic and unpretentious broadcast style in stations around the country. Bell made Montana his permanent home in 1964.

In 1985, Bell began his second radio career, hosting a popular Sunday country music program until last month. In March, the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Famer signed off the air with his final broadcast from Billings.

Along the way, Bell, an accomplished musician, helped country music legends Charley Pride and Loretta Lynn find their way to stardom.

It is my honor to recognize Lonnie Bell for his countless contributions to country music and to our Montana way of life.