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Big Tribute in Tiniest DMA

The death of the top TV executive and best-known sportscaster in the nation's smallest market was mourned last week before an overflow crowd at a local church.

Since 1964, "Dapper Dan" Frenzel was a local TV and radio icon and eventually ran KXGN-TV Glendive, Mont. the only television station in the No. 210 market, officially the nation's smallest.

Friends and colleagues remembered him as a great broadcaster who understood localism and never said no to a local charity. Frenzel died Jan. 25 at 57 from a heart condition, weakened from years of battling cancer.

"It's hard to say goodbye," said Paul Sturlaugson, a 21-year veteran at the station, who will replace Frenzel as general manager. "He meant a lot to a lot of folks, to this community. He was a brilliant play-by-play guy who was never critical yet never showed a bias toward the home team. And he did just about everything here at one time or another."

Jon Arneson, KBLG-AM Billings, Mont., program director, who replaced Frenzel in local sports a decade ago, recalled what he had learned from Frenzel about local broadcasting: "We always want to be like the big-market sportscasters, but, in a small town, that player is somebody's brother, somebody's son. And they're usually just high school kids."