Created By: North Dakota State University
One of the broadcasting pioneers in Fargo, and throughout the state of North Dakota, was John Boler. At the height of his career, Boler managed 100 radio stations throughout the region, many of which he owned. Boler also foresaw the rise of television signing on the city’s second television station (Behind WDAY-TV), KXJB-TV (Now KRDK-TV.) While KXJB’s signal had always served Fargo, the station’s studios were originally in Valley City.
Later in his career, Boler led an initiative to bring educational television (now Public Broadcasting) to the state of North Dakota. With a two million dollar investment (half from the federal government, the other half from private investors), Boler set up a four-station broadcasting system in Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks and the flagship being the present day KFME-TV in Fargo. John Boler died in Palm Desert, Calif., in 1994.
John's wife, Constance (Connie Blackstead) attended Concordia College and Minot Business Institute and worked as a legal secretary for firms in Bismarck and Casper, Wyo., before serving in the Women's Army Corps in 1944 and 1945 where she was attached to the Air Transport Command at Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Fla. She was then administrative assistant to Dr. Fred S. Hultz, president of North Dakota Agricultural College from 1949 to 1952.
She was employed by the North Dakota Broadcasting Company from 1957 to 1966 and served in many capacities at KXJB-TV and was station manager of KXAB-TV, Aberdeen, S.D., in 1958.
John and Constance married on July 2, 1966 and lived in rural Fargo until they retired to Palm Springs, CA in 1974. The couple travelled Europe, North Africa, the Caribbean, and the Asian Pacific and fished Canada, Minnesota, Jamaica, and the Gulf of Mexico. They spent summers at their lake homes in Walker and Bemidji, MN. Connie moved to Bismarck in 2005, after John's death, and lived to be 86.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Walk with the Dead: Fargo's Riverside Cemetery