Bill Kling

Bill Kling on Vimeo

Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Bill Kling

Inducted 2004

Since starting Minnesota Public Radio as a campus station at Saint John’s University in 1966, Bill Kling has grown MPR into a 35-station regional network and the second largest producer of national programming in public radio. In 1969, he established The Radio Talking Book, the nation’s first closed-circuit reading network for the blind and vision-impaired. Also that year, he hired Garrison Keillor, and eleven years later, the two took an "above average regional variety show" to the national stage. "A Prairie Home Companion" remains public radio’s most successful program. In 1970, he helped found National Public Radio and served on its first Board of Directors. He launched American Public Radio (now Public Radio International) in 1982 to distribute station-based programs nationally. In 2004, he started American Public Media, the national program production and distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio. At that same time, he spearheaded a $46 million capital campaign—the largest in Minnesota Public Radio’s history. Kling’s many honors include the Edward R. Murrow Award (1981); Twin Cities Magazine Twin Citian of the Year (1986); and in 1999, the Minneapolis Star Tribune named him a Minnesotan of the Century.