Arch L. Madsen, one of America's radio and television broadcast pioneers and a leading civic and corporate figure in Utah for half a century, died Monday afternoon, April 7, 1997 in Salt Lake City of a sudden illness.

Mr. Madsen, 83, left his mark on the broadcast world as the long-time president of KSL, the founder of Bonneville International Corp., and in leadership roles in numerous national and international media organizations.He was also active in local and worldwide business and public service activities. Mr. Madsen was a devoted family man and a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Daughter Anita Bennett said, "He was a wonderful and energetic force in so many lives. At the same time, as he was dying, there was almost a sense of exhilaration there because he wanted to be with my mother so much."

Mr. Madsen's wife, Margaret Dee Higginbotham Madsen, died July 12, 1995. They left five children, 25 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Born Dec. 4, 1913, in Lake View, Utah County, to Parley William and Christina Nuttall Madsen, Mr. Madsen attended high school in Provo and completed two semesters of college at Brigham Young University before embarking on his lifelong career in broadcasting.

Despite a crippling bout with childhood polio, he took a job as a radio operator for the Army Signal Corps and helped build and manage a radio station at Fort Missoula, Mont., when he was only 19 years old.

After working as a technician at KSL radio, he launched his first commercial venture, KSUB in Cedar City, and moved in management positions at various stations in Utah and New York.

In 1961, LDS Church President David O. McKay asked Mr. Madsen to return to Salt Lake City as president of the church's KSL radio and television stations. Under Mr. Madsen's leadership, KSL expanded greatly, becoming one of the leading broadcast operations in the nation.

Three years later, he formed Bonneville International Corp. and served as its president and CEO until 1985. When he left the helm, Bonneville had 14 radio and television stations across the country.

During his 53-year career in broadcasting, Mr. Madsen served as a director of the Inter-American Association of Broadcasters and National Association of Broadcasters. He was also a tireless defender of the First Amendment, serving as vice chairman of the World Press Freedom Committee, member of the International Press Institute, chairman of the United Press International Broadcast Advisory Board, and member of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

In 1983, former President Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. Madsen to the nine-member Board for International Broadcasting overseeing the operation of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Active as well in community affairs, Mr. Madsen was the founding chairman of the Committee on Executive Reorganization of Utah State Government, chairman of the Utah Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, president of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, president of the Salt Lake Rotary Club, co-chairman of the Utah Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and president of the BYU Alumni Association.

Among the many honors he received in his lifetime were the National Association of Broadcaster's Distinguished Service Award, the Peabody Award and the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce "Giant in Our City" award.

He was also active in the LDS Church, serving twice as bishop, four times as stake high councilor and a regional representative.

His funeral is scheduled for noon Saturday, April 12, at the Monument Park Stake Center, 1320 S. Wasatch Drive. LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley will speak.