BOZEMAN, Mont. — Michael Ballard, a program producer for Montana PBS, was recently awarded two Emmys by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Northwest Chapter.

Ballard, a member of the Bozeman 1st Ward, Bozeman Montana Stake, won for directing and editing in connection with the documentary "Never Long Gone: Mission Mountain Wood Band Story." The documentary tells the story of the band, which began in 1971 in Missoula, Mont., with two musicians and grew to success as it performed with such singers as Charlie Daniels and Bonnie Raitt. The documentary includes archival footage from the TV shows "Hee-Haw" and "The Cheryl Ladd Special," as well as scenes from recent reunion concerts.

Ballard was honored at the chapter's meeting June 6 in Seattle, along with co-director and editor Shasta Grenier.

Right now, Montana PBS has the rights to broadcast the documentary only in that state, but Ballard hopes at some point it can go national.

"We've gotten feedback from people outside of Montana that really loved it," Ballard said. "People who like music from that era, it doesn't really matter where the band is from, they might find the story compelling…. One guy told me that he doesn't like that kind of music, but he became a fan of the band for the things they had to go through."

Ballard's main job at Montana PBS is to do contract video production work for the station with outside clients, such as the Montana Secretary of State's office, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Justice.

"Never Long Gone" is his first documentary.

"I was asked to produce it by the station," Ballard said. "One of the band members approached my boss and said, 'Have you ever considered doing anything about the band?' They talked about it, and eventually the project landed in my lap."

Ballard, a native of Connecticut, graduated from BYU in 1994 and served in the Peru Lima South Mission. He has worked at Montana PBS 5½ years. Before that, he was a freelance camera operator, working for the LDS Church and TV networks such as ESPN, Turner and CBS.

He and his wife, Kristine, have five children, and he teaches the 12- and 13-year-olds in his ward's Sunday school.

Ballard also was selected to attend the 2010 CPB/PBS Producers Academy WGBH Workshop in Boston June 19-25.

For more information about "Never Long Gone: Mission Mountain Wood Band Story," visit montanapbs.org.

e-mail: rwalsh@desnews.com