Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame
In 1958, while hitch-hiking to Brainerd, Andy Hilger called WJON Radio in St. Cloud from a highway phone booth and landed a job as night-time DJ, “Tin Pan Andy.” From this chance-encounter assignment, he applied individual initiative to work his way up, buying WJON in 1965, and adding FM stations WWJO, KMXK, and KKJM over the years. He and his wife Carol have four children and nine grandchildren and are dedicated to faith and family. His radio mission is to serve St. Cloud citizens and promote families. For 40 years, he shared his thoughtful views in daily editorials, including political endorsements, always with an offer to broadcast opinions that differed. He built WJON Cablevision in the late 1960s, bringing cable television to the St. Cloud area. He helped found the St. Cloud Area United Way and the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, and led numerous community fund drives and capital campaigns. He and Carol are both active in prison ministry. In the late 1980s, a St. Cloud Times poll named him St. Cloud’s most influential citizen. He sold three of his stations to Regent Broadcasting in 1999, but kept contemporary Christian station KKJM Spirit 92.9, later donating it to the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud, and volunteering to serve as its manager for six years.
Andy Hilger passed away Sunday, August 18, 2013, at the age of 83.