Hall of Fame: 2008

Don Thurston

Through 59 years in radio, the ultimate broadcaster, Don Thurston always placed community service first for himself, his stations, and his industry.


Donald Thurston was a pioneering radio station owner in the Berkshires, a radio craftsman, a dedicated businessman, and a highly respected leader in his community. He eventually achieved national stature, serving as Chairman of the Board of both the National Association of Broadcasters and Broadcast Music Incorporated.

Donald Thurston was born in Maine. He began his broadcasting career at the age of 20 in 1949 as an engineer in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

Thurston’s natural aptitude for business led him into radio management in the 1950s. In 1960, he came to Massachusetts to lead WMNB in North Adams. By 1966, he had become the owner of that station, and also of WNAW in the same market. In 1968, he added WSBS in Great Barrington to his media properties. By the mid-1970s, he had founded three radio stations in Vermont and owned stations in Connecticut as well.

He was active in national organizations representing the interests of broadcasters, including the NAB and BMI, both of which chose him to serve as Chairman of their boards of directors. In 1980, he received NAB’s Distinguished Service Award. He was also a charter inductee into the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Throughout his career, he maintained strong ties to the Berkshires, where he was one of the area’s most respected civic leaders.

Donald Thurston passed away in 2009 at the age of 79.