NewsHelena News


What's up with the now-dilapidated building off 11th?

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 19:00:03-05

HELENA — Before the building on the corner of North Roberts St. and 11th Ave. in Helena sat empty, it used to be something—an engineering firm, an attorney’s office, KBLL Radio. Longtime Helena broadcaster Wally Peel remembers working there.

“It was the most odd building I’ve ever been in in my life,” Peel recalled. “You could get lost real easy. It took us all about three days to figure out where we were.”

The building was constructed in the 1970s, and KBLL moved in not too long after.

Peel said about 14 people worked at the station on 11th Ave. and North Roberts Street, including sales staff, office staff, engineers and on-air broadcasters.

While KBLL was there, Peel said the building was buzzing with activity, and guests would stop by the station to be on radio shows.

“Most of them were guests on Coffee Break,” Peel said. “Once in a while a politician would wander in.”

Peel said the KBLL station had a big bay window facing 11th Ave., and there was state-of-the-art equipment inside. Now, the building is falling apart as new construction goes up around it.

The building is now owned by Stockman Bank, and Stockman Bank Helena market president Steve Fawcett said they are planning to build a new branch there. The building is still standing because of the cellphone towers atop it, although Fawcett said they are working toward an agreement regarding the towers.

Fawcett said it will be “hopefully not too much longer” before the bank branch is built. Until then, the former home of KBLL will remain standing, and falling apart.

Peel’s good memories of working there also remain strong—he characterizes his time there at the station as “more fun than should have been legal.”