Common Ground is funded by the
MInnesota Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Hi I’m Rachel Johnson. Thanks for joining usPPfor the season finale ofppCommon Ground. In this episode we visit Northern
Community Radio and their radio road show. Come along with us
and enjoy a live music
fundraiser and a volunteer picnic in Grand
Rapids. KAXE staff and volunteer dj’s explore the PPrelationship of the stationppthe community and culture. My name is Jennifer Poenix and
I’m member services manager at Northern Community Radio
which is KAXE and now KBXE in Bemidji and we’re doing
a concert tonight featuring a blues musician named Kelly Hunt
she’s from Kansas City. Right now we have Lance Benson
and Mark Bauer who are opening
up for us. This is kind of
a benefit to help support Northern Community Radio,
help introduce people to KBXE
in the area if they are not familiar with it yet. ppMy name is Julie Crabb I live for KAXE radio.
I’m on the board of directors. I’m a music programmer
and I’m a host of Green Cheese a call in trivia program.
I live for it. What KAXE offers is a chance to hear folk rock, blues, jazz and world music and your neighbors
are programming the music who I am, I’m your neighbor.
I’m their neighbor. Well hello, I’m Steve Ross,
I’m a volunteer dj. KAXE was the first rural public radio station in the
United States. When we started
out NPR said that we would never
make it. That we would be just broadcasting
to a bunch of gophers. We said no, we’re going to do it. The peoplePPthat were there I wasn’t thereppwasn’t me. When they started out they said no we’re goingPPto do this. We know we can doppit. With an idea and an urgency
to give community a place to play music that isn’t normally played.
Our founders Suzie and Rich McClear, talked to
the legislature and talked to people that would give
us a place where we could
raise money and be heard. And they’ve done
that all over the world actually.
Well KAXE serves a culture of north central
Minnesota by reaching out to all of the different types
of people that we have in the northland.
The Native Americans who live
here the mining issues, the lumber
issues, the phenology. We just reach
out to almost everybody’s interest.
I live in this town because of
KAXE. That is one of the main reasons
I want to stay here and why I
never want to live anyway else.
I moved up here in 1990. Radio has always defined me.
I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again.
In so many different ways. One day I heard Scott Hall say
if you’d like to become a
member or a volunteer please call this and I called them and they said
yes and I went oh my god. I’m so excited.
And, well I once you are in you
can never go back. You just can never and that’s what
I say every fundraiser. Once you become a part
of this family you will never ever go back to listening to something
that you don’t have a hand in. That you don’t have your money in.
Most of our programming is done by volunteers,
and in our station they get to chose the music. It’s really a mix of
different kinds of music that
we like to hear. But it’s not a pre-programmed
list that anyone just following of a computer. They are actuallyPPputting the CDs in the CDppplayer and choosing what they are going to play next.
I do a show called the Dead
Set. which is music of the Grateful Dead
and the related bands. Also do
DJing just for like On The River
and regular shows once in a while. Bring music to the people.PPYou know I love theppbroadcasters the DJs, they’re so
wonderful, they’re so down to earth. I love
the no commercials. I love that it is locally
relevant. That they take about things
going on in our area. I love that they talk about what
is happening with the birds and
the plants and the flowers in our
area. I love that.
I called up the station and
said would it be alright if I brought in
some of my music and played a
show. And Marshall Omen was the manager at the time and he said yeah come on
down so I did. We learn how to be comfortable on the air.
We learn how to work a board. We learn what any broadcaster
would learn and we learn how to do it ourselves. So that
we can give to the community that listens to us the music that theyPPwant to hear. We’ll doing theppDead Set, actually when I started out
it was a four hour show. We did it every other
Saturday night from 10pm to 2 am in the morning.
Come on it and I’ll show you where I put my show together.ppI usually do my show from the studio,
but I put it together here in my own little cubby
hole. So I haul in my real to real
and I have live concerts that I recorded some and
have gotten recordings through many other people who have
handed their recordings to me. And so I haul in my real to reels and wePPwould plug it into the boardppand away we go. Northern Community Radio
has over a hundred volunteers on the air.
Some of them participate by doing music programming and
some people do it by doing
community journalism and co-hosting
say a public affairs program. There are lots of ways
for people to volunteer. Generally we hold three volunteer
training classes each year. Well I think when you volunteer,
you are going to be meeting
people. that you generally don’t
get in contact with. And when you open up like that and
you meet somebody that you have never met. It opens up your
mind. People get to not fear each other
and they help each other out. It just makes the world
a better place. If someone wants to volunteer they
can contact the station at 800-662-5799 and talk to
either me Maggie Montgomery or Heidi Holtan who is
our program director and we’ll
get you signed up for the next volunteer training class.ppWell I do a lot of volunteer work for the station. I come in on
Saturdays and I answer the
phones for Between You and Me. And I do fundraisers. The fundraising weeks are some PPof my favorite weeks and I comeppin every morning with another person and
we take the phone calls for
the fundraiser. And that is really fun cause
that is when you get to talk to people and you get to know them. One of the PPgreat shows that their KAXE isppjust basically started doing
in the last year I believe is The Great Northern Radio Show. It’s just
a great show. It brings you back back to the good old days. This is the Great Northern Radio Show,
I’m Aaron Brown we’re
broadcasting live on Northern Community Radio from
the Bagley High School
auditorium. in Bagley, MN. Tonight’s show is made PPpossible from the generous ofppthe Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, and PPthe Minnesota Arts and CulturalppHeritage Fund. The Great Northern Radio Show
celebrates modern life off the
beaten path. We’re not the biggest show, we’re not the
most famous, we’re not even on
pinterest we’re a contender though. Here with the
title song from their new
album Number One Contender, with us all night,
The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. The old style shows is a
classic format of a variety show is always something ppthat gave me comfort. I enjoyed the pacing. It’s inauthentic and
authentic at the same time where you get a little bit of showmanship
but you get moments of
humanity that sneaks through and is really exciting to see those.PPScott Hall hosts the morningppshow Mondays through Thursday
his calm tone and subtle
curiosity propels the states finest news and feature
program. And who could forget
the day the morning show broadcast
live from the surface of Mars. Temperatures on the red planet
this morning 65- 70 below.
Highs today around 90 above. Lows
tonight 145 – 155 below zero. We’ll have
those wind and dust storms the
rest of the week. Although martionise
is safe to walk on. Come up phenology with John Latimer and JohnPPwill tell us about theppwildlife he has been hearing about on Mars, this time of year.
Including the rare
Zapflackarode, a bird like lizard that
shoots radiation at it’s prey. And of course the blue wookie wookie pompoloosPPwhich have laid their eggs inppHarry Hutchin’s ears Harry will tell us all about that when
he joins John for a talk on the
wild side. Coming up at 9, Music On The River
and your host today is the martian emperor Bob.
One of the defining aspects of Northern Community RadioPPis the way the programmingppconnects with the people and land of Northern Minnesota.
Part of my life now is taking
this experience of northern Minnesota culture
around the area so that people
here have something to celebrate and be excitedPPabout. One of the really neatppthings about the Great Northern Radio Show
is that the star of the
program is the community where it’s held. And thisPPparticular show is being heldppin Bagley Bagley is the star of the show.
We’re here for our 6th show in our ongoing
series of live radio variety programs from all over northern Minnesota.
And for our radio show just
know that it’s not A Prairie Home Companion it’s people
who live in northern Minnesota telling stories about us.
We’re not piping it in. This
is not for the tourists. This is for everybody
who lives in this place. And
we’ll make fun of ourselves and we’ll make jokes
about life in northern
Minnesota that we can make because we’re really
from here. And it’s that
cultural sharing it’s pride to grow and
change with the times. What’s the future for Northern Minnesota, PPmaybe we don’t know. But weppknow that if we can talk to each other and
experience a cultural element the people will survive. The people will go on.
And that is what this show for me is partially about. Just
providing that opportunity for
people to share what it is to be from
northern Minnesota in music and
song and story. The Great Northern Radio Show
is actually a radio show so if you are a member of the audience andPPyou’re listening on the airppyour going to get an entirely different experience
of the show than you are if you are present for the performance. PPWhat you are seeing really inppthe performance are people on stage being moved
around actually looking at scripts, actually gathering around
microphones, people pointing people pushing people forward to be nextPPand the kind of things thatppyou will never if you just hear
the product on the radio. I would say if you listen on the radio you arePPgoing to here a very pureppexperience of the show. It’s going to sound fairly seamless.
And if you come to the
auditorium and you witness the show as a
member of the live audience you are going to see the warts and all.
You’re going to see it being
made. You’re going to see what happens behind PPthe scenes and it’s reallyppentertaining. Well we always tell people is the radio
part of our show and the live audience experience are
very different things. There
are some obviously some overlap, the content
the jokes. They work the same, I think both places. But the
live audience comes to see the production of a live radio show.
So what you are getting look inside the Swiss watch or
the machine that makes the radio production that people at home are listening too.
The benefit of coming and
seeing it live is the experience of seeing
us go through changes go through adjustments
and watching the commotion on stage as people are moved around.
You know we’re not like
Lawerence Welk. Where they drag out one person and then theyPPgo away and then they drag outppanother person. We are all up here on stage, We are all working
at the same time and people
jump in kind of on a schedule
that they have so you see everybody all the time, you see people gettingPPready. There is an excitementppto it. It is almost like you’re part of a secret,PPyou’re in on a secret that’sppgoing on and the people at home what we hope
is nice smooth product. But the people in the audience see that it
sounds smooth but it doesn’t
look smooth. I’m Carolyn King and I am the
queen of tease this year. Well participating in the event
of Green Cheese is like you
become part of a big family. Because the same
people call in all the time and you get to know them. And then once
you start calling in they get
to know you and really everybody is all connected
through Green Cheese on that Saturday night. I’m Linda Johnsonppone of the hosts of call in trivia Green Cheese.
Green Cheese is a call-in trivia show. I toss out the questions or
Julie Crab will or Brandon
Chase whoever is doing it.
And people call in 218-326- 1234 and give it their best poke
at the answer. We have 3 lines
here. When we turn on the getner and
whatever lights up we’ll start flashing I have no idea
who is going to call in. I poke a flashing light and I say
Hi, you’re on Green Cheese
what’s your got. It’s just all about having fun.
Some people get a little competitive on it.
They want to hear either a ding
or a yes I get excited, I can not help myself. ppThis is just the coolest thing ever.
Anybody can call in. We do not screen. I don’t know
of any other radio or tv show that doesn’t screen. That
doesn’t have somebody else
saying hello, what’s your answer? What do you want
to say? Oh we’ve already got
that. Ya know nah we’ve heard that before.
It’s just hi you’re on Green Cheese what you got. Alright wherePPwas that question now. I askedppthat about an hour and half ago so I’m not
sure where that one went. Let’s
see It’s the highlight of my week. When I knowPPthat I’m going to beppconstantly working on questions. It’s not working it’s playing.ppI can’t stop myself from coming up with
questions for Green Cheese. I’ll hear something like it was tetonic platesPPI was listening to somethingppon National Public Radio talking about
earthquakes and tetonic plates Wonder what other plates there are?
And then I just give myself maybe 5 minutes and I came up
with 8 different plates so
I’ll throw that out as a Green Cheese question. And surePPenough they come up with apptotal of 26 so far and then the show is over.
So you know if I put it out there again sure contribute to it.
You learn so much from it in such a fun way.
And the dogs get all excited they can tell if it’s a Saturday night and I say we’rePPgoing to go do Cheese now.ppWe’re lucky dogs. we get to do Cheese. We have all
kinds of different people that call in. We’ve got wackos, intelligent
people, fun loving people, nut cases. All of those are
wonderful adjectives in my mind. We’ve got the Blue Noodles from littlePPsplit hand and usually they’llpphave a whole slug of people are out there.
We’ve had Guthrie Nation and they’ve had everything from
6 years on up to 80 year olds. call in Otto and Doe
and the War Wagon and we’ve got the Virginia
Bottom Drawer. And I said how did you come up with that name?ppShe said when you asked me where I was calling from I was digging for a beer
in the bottom drawer of the
refrigerator so that’s were I
was calling from. So that’s how her name came up.
There is just all kinds of Chunky Dippers of Owen Lake,
Lake Imaginery who doesn’t live on a lake so they wanted to have itppsound that way so they make themselves feel good that way too.
Skull Scratchers the team from Rabbit Lake. We’ve go oh there
is so many of them we’ve go Camp Carnage, from Jack the horse
lake north of Deer River. We’ve got the Clauson Ave
group in Bemidji and everytime she says Clausen Ave
cause I like pickles so well I
have to wipe my mouth or keep from drooling. The Wabana
Brain Trust and they have all
the different parts of the brain that call in.ppWe have DeKalb Illinois calling in on a regular basis,
Joe from Elk Grove, CA We have had people call in from Germany,ppall over the state. Wyoming, Idaho, Montana,
I can’t think of any place off hand where they don’t call in. ppBut we’ve got the regular set that want to call whether it’s the
whipper snappers of Brainerd the hill dwellers south of Bemidji.
They just make up their own
names. It’s just hilarious.
There is ten from New Ufta. Delores from Bovee.
She’s passed on now. We’ve just got great people who
call in who want to have fun. Who are interested in learning things ppand sharing it. It’s a hoot. Anybody can listen to us anywhere.
Probably even in the space
station. Through streaming us at
KAXE.org. So if somebody doesn’t have doesn’t
live within the distance of the radio signal even with 100,000 watts
here and I think it’s 50,000
watts over there and the translator
in Brainerd. You can still get us on not only
a computer at KAXE.org. There are now 4 or 5 different apps where people can
listen to us and play on their cell phones and that just came outPPa week or two ago. It is suchppa privilege. to sit behind this mic and have people that I don’t know
call in and share with me have the guts to
answer something that they don’t know if they’ve got
the right answer. We are so
community based there is nobody
in Boston, or New York or Dallas or LA or anyplace
else telling us what to play. You will not find many examples
like Northern Community Radio
KAXE in Grand Rapids, KBXE in Bemidji.
You won’t find examples of this many places
in this country. Communities
here are kind of built to facilitate this
kind of radio. There is a
great arts community. Especially here in Bemidji, we’vePPnoticed there is a fantasticpparts community. And then there is this unique
culture that stretches back 100 plus years on places
like the Iron Range where there is so many interesting stories.
A lot of commotion took place here historically. And though it seems like PPa long time ago it reallyppwasn’t. You had all sorts of new populations
sweeping across northern MInnesota, not that long ago in the
lifetime of people who are
still alive. And so there is all of
these fresh influences and fresh cultural
perspectives blending of different kinds of
communities. And it’s produced interesting things. Interesting art,
interesting music and
interesting stories. And that is really why this show
has focused on northern
Minnesota. We really think that there are so many storiesppthat we could go for 30 years or longer and never tell all
the stories and experience all the music that
this place has to offer. A lot
of what we do on Northern Community Radio kind of
harkens back to a bygone era. Seems like modern radio nowadays
is very focused on it’s
advertisers and on selling a product. And what
we do is kind of back in the old days of radio. Where the people
come on the air, they’re real characters and their tasks
is to engage with the audience directly and not necessarily
selling soap. Well KAXE is different from corporate radio, like I said
before because it’s you feel like you are part of a family. ppOnce you become a member well even if you are not a member.
You get to know the radio
personalities and it’s intimate.
It’s intimate radio I guess. Corporate radio seems cold and official. But KAXE is homey
it’s down to earth. And you know it talks about
your life here in northern Minnesota and
really makes you feel a part of
it. Well the important thing to know is thatPPNorthern Community Radio is anppindependent public station. It’s an
affiliate of National Public Radio. They subscribe to thePPprogramming. They are notppMinnesota Public Radio is a wholly separate organization.ppIt’s totally independent It’s heavily influenced by the people
who take the time to participate, and get involved in
Northern Community Radio. It’s
agenda is really that of the people
who are excited about music and culture and life in
northern Minnesota. So it’s a
station that genuinely belongs
to the people it aims to
serve. It’s almost a cooperative station
in many ways. It’s really remarkable that something like that
could succeed as it has and
grown as it has. in a place like northern Minnesota
in a time like the present. There is not a lot of examples of that model
working. Somehow it has worked
quite well. singing singing singing It’s been successful.
It really has worked. KAXE is a star that’s out there
that shines really bright and you know there’s a million stars out therePPbut this is one that shinesppbrighter than a lot of them. It’s a
unique being. And that’s what should, I hope it keeps going,
I hope it keeps that community
feel. even though that we’re getting bigger
and more stations we’re adding
more communities by adding relayers
here and there and stuff. But we still have that feel of being
community oriented so you can talk to your neighbor when you
come in and listen to KAXE/
KBXE. Northern Community Radio
KAXE/KBXE wouldn’t even be here if it
weren’t for the people who
started it, who wanted a radio
station up here in rural northern Minnesota in the first place.ppWe have local business for supporters whether they
are in Bemidji, or Grand Rapids
or Brainerd or up in Effie.
It’s community based people want the radio station
they put their ears and their money behind it.
We’re member based radio. Our large contributors are the people
who listen. One of the things you are going to find reflected in
Northern Community Radio is
the nature of northern Minnesota. You are going
to hear a lot about the lakes the forest, the animals, the weather.
We’re going to hear about the creative output of the people
who live here. We’re going to
have creative activities like what Aaron Brown
is doing with the Great
Northern Radio Show. We are going to
have musicians and music. And it’s because people, because
northern Minnesota is this and northern Minnesota people love this that
is what you are going to hear
on the air. And because our organization being
a couple of transmitters on
hills is just a reflection of the things
that go on in the community. And we try to hold ourselves openPPfor the expression of thepppeople. who live here. It’s everybody’s
participation that makes it possible. It’s when people
use the station to talk to each other it’s the inner activity
of programming. It’s people calling up and taking part
in what we do. It’s when people tell us about their eventsPPand the things that matter toppthem that we can do good stories. Everybody needs
to keep us in the loop. If anything important or interesting
is happening we’ll help get
that out to everybody else.
Well community radio is almost always
non commercial radio and we’re really focused on our community, in fact that’s
the mission of Northern
Community Radio is to build community through our radio
programming and concerts and
things like that. It’s a kind of station
where you can walk in the door and let us know what’s going on.
So much of modern life’s
dilemmas are related to this rootless, wandering spirit
people have because they don’t
know where home is. So we like to really bring the notionPPthat there is a home, there isppa place and there is something that welcomes us. One of
the things about Northern
Community Radio is that it is really fun.
It’s a fun place to be. It’s a good group of people
and it’s a lively place to be. It’s really an honor to be part
of it. singing singing singing Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you
next season on Common Ground. If you have a segment idea for Common Ground
pertaining to north central
Minnesota contact us at [email protected] or call us at 218-333-3022. To view this episode or
any Common Ground segment visit us at lptv.org. ? ? ? ? ? ? To order individual segments
or entire episodes please call 218-333-3020. Common Ground is funded
by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with money
from the vote of the people on November 4, 2008.