Tony Dean (DeChandt) was the host and executive producer of "Tony Dean Outdoors," an outdoor television series that aired across the upper Midwest. He also produced a daily radio show, "Dakota Backroads," that aired year-round on 39 North and South Dakota radio stations plus two in Minnesota and one in Wyoming. His television and radio shows won more national and regional programming awards from 1991-2006 (250) than any other radio or TV outdoor shows in America. He started doing the TV show in 1985 and the radio show in 1990, and did them until his death in 2008. Before that, he produced South Dakota Outdoors radio for the state Game, Fish & Parks Department and a similar series, "Great Lakes Outdoors," for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
He was elected to North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame in 1982 and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 1994.
The 1958 Mandan (N.D.) High grad was a well-known outdoor writer whose articles were published in In-Fisherman, Fishing Facts, Minnesota Outdoor News, Dakota Country and Dakota Outdoors magazines. He also maintained an outdoor Web site that received 3,000 visitors each day. Dean wrote regular conservation issues columns for the Fargo Forum and Sioux Falls Argus Leader newspapers.
Dean came to Pierre to manage KCCR Radio in 1968, and he lived there the rest of his life. He spent 10 years in radio broadcasting, and he served two years as press secretary to S.D. Gov. Frank Farrar (1970-72). He also operated State Fair Speedway in Huron for a decade, and spent another eight years as an announcer on the Motor Racing Network, covering NASCAR races on superspeedways across the nation.
Dean twice was honored as South Dakota Conservationist of the year by the South Dakota and National Wildlife Federation and the South Dakota Wildlife Society and also was the recipient of Ducks Unlimited's Communications Award. He also received the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Communications Award from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and, his company, Tony Dean Outdoors, Inc., was the recipient of the "Citizen's Award" by the S.D. Wildlife Society in 1997. In 1995 he received a special recognition award from the North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society and in 1996 the Communications Award from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. He also received the "Chief's Award" from the U.S. Forest Service, and the highest conservation communications award given by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the prestigious "Jade of Chiefs" award. Dean was a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America board.
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