KNAB Radio Owner Bette Bailly Passes Away

KNAB Radio Owner Bette Bailly Passes Away

“I wouldn’t give up living in Burlington for anything.” – Bette Bailly

Longtime Burlington resident and radio pioneer Bette Bailly died of complications from a stroke Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Swedish Hospital in Denver. She had been moved there after coming through successful surgery for colon cancer at St. Joseph Hospital Friday, Oct. 9.

Bette was almost one of a kind. In many of her college engineering classes she was the only female. She attended the University of Idaho, receiving a BA in electronic engineering, then attended graduate school at the University of Kansas City, where she received her masters degree.

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Coming to Burlington, her background was engineering and on-air experience as an all-night disc jockey at a struggling Top 40 radio station in Great Falls, Mont.

In 1967 when Bette went to work at KNAB-AM as the young station’s electronic engineer, she assumed she would be here for only 30 days, which turned into a lifetime of service to the area. She became owner and general manager of the station, along with its FM sister station which went on the air in 1980.

She always believed in giving back to her community. For the 48 years she lived in Burlington, she devoted her time and energies to further the progress of her home, giving countless hours to a myriad of projects.

Among these were Burlington city council; Burlington Chamber of Commerce, as past president and secretary-treasurer for many years; Burlington Rotary Club, where she was past president and also served as treasurer for Rotary District 4570; chairperson for the Morgan Community College advisory board; chairman of the Kit Carson County fair board; served on the board of Dynamic Dimensions, Inc., the Kit Carson County Carousel committee; First National Bank board of directors; and chairman of the Kit Carson County Republican party.

A Catholic by faith, she was an active member, serving on the church council, teaching classes and serving as a communion minister.

Some of the many awards honoring Bette were the Athena Goddess Award, CBA’s Broadcast Citizen of the Year Award, Rotary D.O. Monroe Award, and in 2003 she was inducted into the Colorado Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Also in 2003 she was chosen as Colorado Broadcaster of the Year.

Bette’s commitment to the broadcasting industry was supported by her 15 years of voluntary service on the board of directors with the Colorado Broadcasters Assn. She also served on the National Association of Broadcasters Small Market board.

Born in Waverly, Mo., July 14, 1939 to George Henry and Acie (Ware) Martin, Bette was educated throughout her school years in Twin Falls, Idaho, before continuing her higher education.

She was preceded in death by her parents and is survived by two brothers – Ray Martin of Costa Rica and Richard Martin of Twin Falls – and numerous nieces and nephews.