A new season of my Great Northern Radio Show launches Saturday, Oct. 20, with a live KAXE/KBXE broadcast from the Boardman Theatre at Eveleth-Gilbert High School in Eveleth, Minnesota. Our new take on the variety show format has been touring northern Minnesota for a year and we’re excited to show off our progress back “Home on the Range.”
You can listen to the show Oct. 20 from 5-7 p.m. on 91.7 KAXE-Grand Rapids across most of the Iron Range. North central Minnesota is covered by 90.5 KBXE-Bemidji. The 89.9 Brainerd signal covers that area. We’re streaming live all over the world at kaxe.org, where we also offer podcasts of our previous shows and, eventually, this one.
Most of my childhood was spent in view of the steam discharge at Eveleth Taconite. My first job was delivering pizzas for Snickers in downtown Eveleth one summer. My first media gig was later that year when I was hired as an overnight disc jockey at WEVE in Eveleth when I was a high school junior. So this is shaping up to be a very comfortable and fun show with a lot of old friends.
Who’s in the show?
Then there’s the Slovenian button-box man Paul Paulisich from Aurora. My old friend Casey Aro from Zim will do some of his Iron Range/Finnish folk music and storytelling. And our friend the singer/songwriter Iris Kolodji will return home from the U of M that weekend to play a couple of her new Range-centric songs.
Honestly, I could just let those people play and that would be a helluva show, but we also have cadre of actors to perform some original sketches, including C.J. Anderson, Kathryn Gritzmacher and Louisa Guggisberg and more. Special guests will include writer-poet Steve Downing of Grand Rapids (via Taconite), Iron Range man-about-town Bill Lah and Lauren Nickisch, a Brainerd-based actress and descendant of the famed Merritt Brothers who opened the Mesabi Iron Range.
I’ll have some new material. We’ll be back with our regulars, including house piano man Nickolai Koivunen, sound effects by Range radio veteran Scott Hanson, director Shelly Nowak and associate producer Kelly Gustavsson. KAXE’s production team includes Dan Houg, Heidi Holtan, Travis Ryder and really support from within that whole organization. We’re underwritten by the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The Great Northern Radio Show is a unique conception of the classic radio variety show format. We are hyper-local, using the town we visit as a central part of our program. We tell stories, play music and have some laughs about modern life off the beaten path.
Our show is a production of KAXE/KBXE-Northern Community Radio, a large independent public radio network in northern Minnesota. We are rebroadcast through the AMPERS network on other Minnesota independent stations and continue to look for new markets, though not with any particular ambition as we like northern Minnesota just fine.