Celebrating 30 years of public radio Phenology

John Latimer speaks about Phenology during the June 29 broadcast of the Great Northern Radio Show in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

John Latimer speaks about Phenology during the June 29, 2013 broadcast of the Great Northern Radio Show at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Tonight at 6:30, KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Phenology Show with John Latimer. Now, maybe you’re some kinda cat who doesn’t listen to the Phenology Show on this marvelous independent public radio station (the station, by the way, that distributes my radio show as well). Or maybe you were like me. Driving along one Tuesday morning you tuned in a station where this guy was talking about birds and plants. And you were all “OMG, you guys. Who listens to this stuff?”

But the rest of the station was pretty good and then they started running your stuff sometimes so you hated to change the channel and you actually started listening to the bird guy. And you got a little older. Maybe not your early 20s anymore. Maybe your late 20s. And you had kids and moved out to the woods.

And then something happened when you turned 30. You listened to the Phenology show and you heard them talking about some bird you had seen. Some tree you wondered about. You could feel the weather they discussed and see how it changed the natural order around you.

Suddenly, you realized you were in the middle of a big, turning world of which you were only one small part, your human ability to observe and record your surroundings the only thing separating you from a bird, or a tree, or the frailest spider web spun between two blades of grass. And that each year was a symphony, 90 percent orchestrated, 10 percent improvised, with a rotating churn of the greatest musicians God made.

And then it got to be Tuesday morning and you were all “Sweet! It’s Tuesday. I wonder what John saw this week.”

So, the bird guy is John Latimer. Harry Hutchins helps him out. They’re celebrating 30 years of John’s show, which began as a conversation along Latimer’s mail route that spilled onto the radio and now marks 30 years of climate, botanical and ornithological change.


Join us Friday, October 25th at 6:30pm at KAXE’s studios in Grand Rapids for a celebration of 30 years of the Phenology Show with John Latimer. Bring a dish to share. John’s friends are bringing the home-brew.   What does Phenology mean to you? Call our Talkback line: 218-999-9876, or email comments@kaxe.org

Phenology, by the way, is defined as “rhythmic biological events as they relate to climate.”

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