Andy Hilger

ST. CLOUD -- Central Minnesota broadcaster and businessman Andy Hilger died over the weekend.

He was 83.

Hilger was an integral part of the St. Cloud area community for half a century. The St. Cloud Times even gave him the title of "Most Influential Person in Central Minnesota" in the 1990s.

Hilger landed a job at WJON as a night-time disc jockey under the name "Tin Pan Andy" back in 1958.

He worked his way up and bought WJON in 1965. He later added WWJO (Stereo 98 and later 98 Country), KMXK (Mix 94.9) and KKJM.

For 40 years, Hilger wrote and produced daily editorials for WJON, often setting the community agenda on local issues of the day. He provided airtime for differing viewpoints and enjoyed stirring-up public debate on issues he believed mattered and needed more public attention.

He also built WJON Cablevision in the late 1960s, bringing cable television to the St. Cloud area.

In 1998, Hilger sold WJON, WWJO and KMXK to Regent Communications, a Cincinnati-area chain of small and medium-sized radio stations. He kept contemporary Christian station KKJM Spirit 92.9, and later donated it to the St. Cloud Diocese. He volunteered to serve as its manager for six years.

He also launched an all-Catholic AM station, K-YES AM that reached across the counties of the St. Cloud Catholic Diocese.

In 2006, Hilger was inducted into the Minnesota Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Hilger also help found the St. Cloud Area United Way and the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Hilger is survived by his wife, Carol, their four children and several grandchildren

The Miller-Carlin Funeral Home in St. Cloud is handling the funeral arrangements.  Funeral services have been scheduled for Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral Upper Church.  Visitation is Thursday from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the Miller-Carlin Funeral Home in St. Cloud.

Hilger died Sunday at the St. Benedicts Senior Community in St. Cloud.

 

"Tin Pan Andy" Hilger  (PHOTO:  Pavek Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame)