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56 Counties
First Monday of the Month at 6:30pm

Fifty-Six Counties is a radio program hosted by Russell Rowland, author of the book Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. For the book, Rowland traveled to every county in Montana and interviewed the people there about what’s going on around the state, while also researching the history to find the parallels and patterns.

The radio program is an extension of this conversation, with Rowland interviewing people from all over Montana to find out how Montana has shaped them, and what they’re doing to shape Montana.

Latest Episodes
  • Two thirds of Lake County is made up of the Flathead Reservation, which includes the Confederation of Salish and Kootenai Tribes along with the Flathead tribe. And because this county borders Flathead Lake, the tribes share a responsibility with the state to manage the fish and wildlife as well as the environment for the county. My guests this week are both wildlife biologists who have worked closely with the tribes and the state and federal entities to help maintain a healthy environment in Lake County.
  • Jordan, Montana has the distinction of being the most isolated county seat in the US, being the furthest from any public transportation. Which may account for its strong sense of community. My guests this week have both seen this community support in dramatic ways. Rex Phipps is a rancher who is also the CEO of the Garfield County Bank, but he also serves as the Chairman of the Garfield County Fire Foundation. Briana Dolbear was born and raised on a ranch in Garfield County, and when her husband Owen Murnion was killed unloading a piece of equipment in 2015, leaving her with seven daughters under the age of 16. She experienced the support of small town community like few have.
  • Gallatin County has been cited in several recent national studies as one of the fastest growing communities, as well as one of the most desirable, in the country. Bozeman has transformed from a quiet college and agricultural town to becoming one of the most popular destinations for people who can work anywhere in the country. This new growth has created an interesting challenge as more money pours in, making it harder for lower and middle class families to afford to live in Bozeman.
  • On this month's 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland features Butte-Silver Bow County in conversations with Karen Sullivan, Health Officer for Butte-Silver Bow County, and Steve Gammon, Provost/Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at Montana Tech.
  • Fergus County was one of the pleasant surprises when I was going my tour of Montana for 56 Counties. I had never been to Lewistown before, and was surprised to find a town of nearly 6000 people, with some of the most beautiful sandstone buildings in the state.
  • Like many Montana counties, Cascade County came about because of the railroad, and particularly a plan between two influential men, Paris Gibson and Robert Vaugh. They plotted a city near what is now called the Great Falls, in order to take advantage of the falls to create hydroelectric power. Railroad magnate James Hill provided much of the financing for the early town of Great Falls, which was built on what was once Blackfeet land. The city now relies as much on the Air Force base as its other primary industries.
  • Petroleum County is the smallest county in Montana in terms of population, with less than 500 people. But they have an extremely active group called ACES (Agricultural Community Enhancement and Sustainability) that is working hard to make Winnett a place where people want to stay and thrive.
  • Jerry and Kathy Sikorski live on the ranch in Fallon County where Jerry grew up, halfway between Baker and Ekalaka. Jerry was a helicopter pilot in…
  • On this month's episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland features Carbon County in an interview with Doug and Sarie MacKay.Doug MacKay was born and…
  • On this episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland explores Musselshell County with help from rancher Bill Milton, artist Coila Evans, and sculptor and…