Don Thoma: Program Director & Production Director
Hailing from Big Bay, on the southern shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and home of the 1959 Otto Preminger movie “Anatomy of a Murder”, Dons’ love of Broadcasting began at Marquette Senior High School in Radio & Television Class in 1977, and once “bitten by the radio bug”….he never looked back
In 1980, he attended Northern Michigan University and was a volunteer DJ, offering up “Heavy Metal Monday Morning” at campus station WUPX. But during his 1st semester, he auditioned and won the job of drummer & vocalist for a Kansas Tribute Band “Point Of No Return” from Madison WI, leaving school & radio behind for nearly 2 years until the band dissolved in mid 1983
Returning to Upper Michigan, he worked various jobs while playing in local and regional touring bands to make ends meet, and even while working as a chef and in broadcasting, continued performing with and in support of numerous national acts including Blackfoot, David Frizzell, Blue Oyster Cult, among others.
Don moved to Manistique MI in 1985. During a chance meeting one evening at bingo (Yes, BINGO), he met the owner of the local radio station who was hiring a replacement for one of the DJ’s. So in October of 1985, Dons’ first paid radio job was at WTIQ-AM, a 1000 watt full-service station serving the 3000+ population of Manistique. Like any small market station, then & now, he learned every aspect of radio, and as people moved on, he wound up doing every job in the station at one time or another, from News Director to Traffic to Sales Associate to Play-By-Play announcer to Station Manager, many times wearing more hats than his head could fit!
That began a nearly 30 year career in Broadcasting that saw him working for Regional powerhouse Radio Result Network, where Don did Afternoon Drive and News on 94 Dot 7 WCMM, as well as production duties and fill-in hosting for sister stations WGLQ, WGKL, WCHT & WTIQ for nearly 16 years.
In 2003, Don was offered a chance by his former boss to move back to his hometown of Marquette MI, to work as Morning Drive Talent at WFXD and Production Director for the 5 station Great Lakes Radio Network WFXD, WKQS, WPIQ, WQXO & WRUP, where He consistently held the #1 spot mornings with “The Rodeo” on WFXD, in an area where classic rock & country dominated the radio dials; Afternoon Drive on Sunny 101.9 WKQS-FM, Play-By-Play Announcer for Marquette Senior High School Redman Football, Host of “Redman Round-Up” a weekly 90 minute show focusing on Marquette Redman Sports, “Ranger Round-Up” a twice weekly half hour show focusing on The NAHL Marquette Rangers Hockey team, as well as producing Michigan Association of Broadcasters Award Winning Sports Programming and Winning the 2012 MAB Award for Best Weekend Program for “The Foundation Blues Show” on The Classic Rock Experience 98.3 WRUP.
Don made the move to Havre Montana in February of 2013 to expand his horizons and seeking new adventures on the Hi-Line as Program Director and Production Director, overseeing all on-air content for New Media Broadcasters, as well Morning Host of “The Morning Show on the Hi-Line” on KPQX. Don’ passions include drumming, harmonica and singing, karaoke, Star Trek, Food Network and Americas Got Talent, Billiards, Traveling, Motorcycles, Backgammon, Darts, and cooking everything from breakfast, burgers to Shrimp Chippewa, Chicken Kiev & Rib-Eye Steak.