Vi Thompson

vi thomsonVi Thompson began her broadcasting career in sales at KGVO-TV (now KECI), Missoula in 1954 and spent the next 45 years at the station. It was a career that nearly didn’t happen. One day she ran into the station’s owner who asked if she’d like to “sell television.” She laughed and said, “Sure.” The next morning he called to ask why she wasn’t at work. She thought he had been kidding.

At a time when women were a rarity in the fledgling TV industry, Vi became a fixture. She was Montana’s first TV Account Executive and hosted numerous live daily and weekly programs. Vi’s career began in the days when doing a local TV commercial often meant riding the snow cat up to the studio and transmitter site atop TV Mountain. “Brickbats and Bouquets” was her afternoon TV show after KGVO-TV first went on the air.

In addition to her many contributions to local broadcasting, Vi Thomson served on dozens of local charitable and non-profit boards including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Chamber of Commerce, RSVP, Governor’s Advisory Board, and she was a founding member of the Missoula Soroptimists.

— Montana Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame

2 thoughts on “Vi Thompson

  1. Vi was my grand mother, she was not related to Mosby. She loved Vi Thomson Overdrive. KECI lawyers, however did was a force to be reckoned with for sure. She pioneered the way for a lot of women. Her mother died in childbirth while having her little sister, her father put her on a train in Chicago when she was 5 yrs old and sent her to Helena MT to live with 2 spinster women and their brother, her dad was supposed to come and get her but never did, she had TB and the train conductor stole her money, what little she had, I think she never looked back but it sure made her one tough cookie..

  2. Vi Thomson was this old lady that did a little daytime TV spot where she would interview people from around Missoula and talk about upcoming community events. She was a hoot to watch because she had these funny outfits that looked like they may have been curtains at one time, and she seemed to be from another century the way she talked. It was kind of like watching a quilting bee or something.

    From ’93 to about ’96 I was in a band called Vi Thomson Overdrive with my buddy Charlie Ray Beaton (Later of Charlie Ray and the Beat-Ons). We had us a swell ol’ time playing light-hearted country and Ramones-style ditties, and got to open up for such national luminaries as the Treepeople and Bikini Kill.

    In 1994, someone told Vi that there was a band named after her, and she later invited the whole band to her 85th birthday party (not to play, just to meet her). She’s one of the more prominent people in the community, so it was a good-sized affair. We mingled for awhile and then we got introduced to Vi. She thought it was pretty funny that someone would name their band after her, and she would introduce us to her friends saying, “Mabel, I’d like you to meet my band.” It was really funny. I remember being surprised at how lucid she was for 85 years old. And she was really cool to us, too.

    Well, about three months later we got a cease-and-desist order from the lawyers at KECI, the station that ran Vi’s show. It seems that they were not amused to have us using her name for our band, and we would have our asses sued hard if we continued to use her name. By that time, we had already put out a cassette and had shirts and stickers made up and everything, so we had to stop selling them. From then on we just went by VTO. We never thought Vi had anything to to with the threat; we just assumed that the TV lawyers got all worked up about it.

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