56 Counties

First Monday of the Month at 6:30pm
  • Local Host Russell Rowland

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.

Ways to Connect

56 Counties: Musselshell County

May 4, 2020
courtesy Troy Evans, Bill Milton, Coila Evans

On this episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland explores Musselshell County with help from rancher Bill Milton, artist Coila Evans, and sculptor and furniture maker Troy Evans. 


56 Counties: Mandy Smoker Broaddus, Leonard Smith

Apr 6, 2020
courtesy Leonard Smith and Mandy Smoker Broaddus

Roosevelt County is located in the northeast corner of Montana, bordering North Dakota on the East. Three fourths of the county is made up of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, home of the Assiniboine Tribe, as well as three branches of the Sioux tribe, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. Mandy Smoker Broaddus and Leonard Smith both spent much of their formative years on the Fort Peck Reservation, and have spent most of their careers trying to give other Native Americans opportunities to better their lives.


Missoula County is known as the most progressive county in Montana, but it also has a very complicated history with race relations and environmental issues. For this episode of 56 Counties, Russell Rowland interviews five diverse people who have been long-time residents of Missoula. 


56 Counties: April Martin Chalfant, Linwood Tallbull

Jan 6, 2020
courtesy Linwood Tallbull and April Martin Chalfant

On this month's episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland features Bighorn County by highlighting ethnobotanist Linwood Tallbull and Executive Director of the Wild Rose Center April Martin Chalfant.


56 Counties: Steve Held, Margaret Scoles

Dec 3, 2019
courtesy Steve Held and Margaret Scoles

On this episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland features Powder River County through discussions with actor, horse trainer, and hotelier Steve Held and Executive Director of the International Organic Inspectors Association Margaret Scoles. 


56 Counties: Scott McMillion, Joanne Garnder

Nov 4, 2019
courtesy Scott McMillion and Joanne Gardner

On this episode of 56 Counties, host Russell Rowland features Montana's Park County through interviews with journalist and author Scott McMillion and producer Joanne Gardner. 


56 Counties: Bruce Whittenberg, Krys Holmes

Oct 7, 2019
courtesy Bruce Whittenberg and Krys Holmes

This month, 56 Counties turns to Lewis and Clark County for discussions with Bruce Whittenberg and Krys Holmes.  


56 Counties: JoAn Marshall, Nathan Carroll

Sep 3, 2019
Sabre Moore, Melanie Nashan

Carter County forms the far southeast corner of Montana. Although Carter County averages less than 15 inches of moisture each year, it has a reputation for having some of the best grazing in the state. When cattle first started coming to this region, this was where many of the cattlemen settled, and that is still true today. Carter County is cattle country.


56 Counties: Chuck Tooley, Alexis Bonogofsky

Aug 5, 2019
courtesy Chuck Tooley and Alexis Bonogofsky

Yellowstone County is the largest county in the state of Montana by over 40,000 people. It's an interesting intersection of commerce and labor, business and agriculture, and probably most striking, rural and urban cultures. This week's guests on 56 Counties come from very different backgrounds, with Chuck Tooley being raised in Washington, DC, and Alexis Bonogofsky growing up on a farm right across the Yellowstone River from Billings. But they have both been heavily influenced by their connection to Montana in order to work hard at making Yellowstone County and Montana a better place. 


56 Counties: Reno Charette, John Robinson

Jul 1, 2019

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. For the preimere episode, Russell chose two people from Rosebud County: Reno Charette, Director of the Native American Achievement Center at MSU Billings, and John Robinson, who recently retired as the Northern Cheyenne tribal judge.