Great Northern Radio Show hits Reif Center stage June 29

We’ll be doing the summer edition of the Great Northern Radio Show from the stage of the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on Saturday, June 29. My seasonal variety show is, on one hand, a simple incarnation of the traditional radio variety program, on the other it’s a rather quirky exploration of northern Minnesota culture and music.

This is our seventh stop for this traveling program, the first in Northern Community Radio‘s hometown of Grand Rapids. This particular show is our biggest ever, both in terms of number of acts and in terms of the massive size of the Reif Center theater, more than 600 seats. I’m not going to sugar-coat this; I need some MinnesotaBrown readers to come on over and be a part of this. I really think you’ll like this one. We’ve developed a voice and style that is both distinct and inclusive of many different audiences.

We’ve got the red hot Actual Wolf, two-time world champion jug band the Roe Family Singers, the up-and-coming MN folk act In Theory along with renowned jazz guitarist Sam Miltich and fiddler Mary LaPlant. A cast of specially-selected local actors are on board, along with several guests. I had some help writing this show from Duluth’s John Ramos (of Transistor fame) and my Hibbing-turned-D.C. journalist pal Matt Nelson, among other contributors.

You can listen to past shows here, or connect with the Reif Center box office for free tickets here.

More information about how to get free tickets or listen to the show below the jump.


Great Northern Radio Show to air live in Grand Rapids June 29

GRAND RAPIDS, Minnesota – The Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast its live traveling radio show from the stage of the Reif Center in Grand Rapids on Saturday, June 29. The program, a production of Northern Community Radio (, combines music, comedy and storytelling to showcase the unique culture of northern Minnesota.

This broadcast will include several special guests, including Grand Rapids native Actual Wolf, who opened for Trampled by Turtles during their May performance at the Reif Center. Two-time world champion jug band The Roe Family Singers, a well-traveled Minnesota band, will also appear, along with a new instrumental folk group In Theory and Grand Rapids musicians Sam Miltich and Mary LaPlant.

The Great Northern Radio Players troupe for this show includes Jim Cagle, Bill Adamson, David Martin, Katie Smith and Sharon Marty Rasmussen, all of Grand Rapids, along with some surprise guests. John Latimer, Western Itasca Review columnist Chris Quaal Vinson and Steve Downing will also contribute to the broadcast. The show’s stage director is Shelly Hanson of Hibbing. Associate producer is Kelly Gustavsson of Hibbing. Scott Hanson of Hibbing provides foley sound while Nickolai Koivunen of Zim will play house piano. Broadcast audio production is by Dan Houg, of Bemidji, with additional help from KAXE staff.

The Great Northern Radio Show was created in 2011 by Minnesota author and radio producer Aaron Brown, who lives in rural Itasca County. Brown produces, writes and hosts the program, each one tailored for the area where the show broadcasts. Past sites have included Hibbing, Bemidji, Brainerd, Eveleth, Bigfork and Bagley.

“We’re excited for this show because it’s essentially a homecoming for us,” said Brown. “Grand Rapids was where KAXE first went on the air and many of us live in Grand Rapids or nearby. The Reif Center is also the biggest theater we’ve played, and we’re hoping a lot of people come to see how much the show has developed.”

The show airs from 5-7 p.m. on June 29 on Northern Community Radio, including 91.7 KAXE (Grand Rapids/Iron Range), 90.5 KBXE (Bagley/Bemidji), 89.9 FM (Brainerd) and 105.3 FM (Ely), and live streaming at People are encouraged to attend the live broadcast. Tickets are free, but reservations are requested by calling the Reif Center Box Office at 218-327-5780. The audience is asked to be seated by 4:30 p.m. to be ready for the live broadcast at 5.

“The real advantage of attending the show live is to see how we texture the sound that radio listeners hear,” said Brown. “You become part of the show. People who have seen our show once usually try to get to future broadcasts, because it’s a kind of entertainment you just can’t find anywhere else in our area.”

Brown is the author of “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range,” which won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. Former editor of the Hibbing Daily Tribune, Brown now teaches communication at Hibbing Community College, writes the award-winning blog

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