Great Northern Radio Show heads to Brainerd on Feb. 9

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, a vintage country duo consisting of Joe Hart and Nikki Grossman, will headline the Great Northern Radio Show on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd, Minnesota. (PHOTO: Micah Robinson)

NOTE: It’s time for me to shamelessly promote my quirky little radio variety show as it winds its way across Northern Minnesota. We’ll be in Brainerd on Feb. 9. That’s as close as we’re going to get to the Twin Cities for the foreseeable future, so readers there should plan a drive to see the show. Get your tickets. Details below.

BRAINERD, Minnesota — The Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast a live event in Brainerd, Minnesota on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at the Franklin Arts Center.

Headlining the program will be a rising Americana duo, the Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. The show’s soulful house rock band led by Katie Houg anchors the show, joined by Brainerd’s own singer/songwriter Brady Zierke.

This traveling variety program is produced by Grand Rapids-based Northern Community Radio, an independent National Public Radio affiliate covering most of Northern Minnesota. Through original comedy, stories and music, the Great Northern Radio Show celebrates life in small towns and rural places.

Producer and host Aaron Brown leads a talented cast through local legend and real life, highlighting the talent and culture of northern Minnesota. Each show celebrates a unique location and the people who make it special, sharing the experience with a much wider audience on the radio and online. The show broadcasts four times a year from locations around the state.

“We haven’t been to Brainerd since 2012 and we’re excited to come back,” said Brown, a Northern Minnesota author and blogger. “The town has had some successes and we want to celebrate them. That’s what we do at this show. We mix sharp humor with a feeling of belonging and hope. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, and that’s not true of most entertainment.”

The Feb. 9 program will feature The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, a vintage country America duo featuring Nikki Grossman and Joe Hart.

“Gifted songwriters, their songs are heartfelt, catchy, humorous, and somehow old-timey and brand new all at the same time,” wrote the website “For the Record Country” about the Sapsuckers, a couple from Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.

The Great Northern Radio Players for this show include C.J. Anderson of Pequot Lakes, Lauren Nickisch of Pequot Lakes on foley sound effects, Brett Carter of Bagley, and Nathan Bergstedt of Minneapolis. Special guests from Brainerd will be part of the program as well.

“We try to pack these shows full of surprises, special moments and laughter,” said Brown. “If we do our job right, you have no idea what’s going to happen next. Of course, that’s also what happens when we do our job wrong.”

The programs will air live from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Tickets cost $10 for adults, free for children and students with IDs. Audience must be in their seats by 4:30. Seating is limited. Buy tickets at or call 800-662-5799.

The Feb. 9 program will air live on 91.7 FM KAXE in Grand Rapids, Aitkin and the Iron Range, 90.5 KBXE Bagley and Bemidji, 89.9 FM Brainerd and 103.9 FM in Ely. The show is also rebroadcast on independent public radio stations throughout Minnesota and distributed as a live stream and podcast at Call Northern Community Radio for information 800/662-5799 or visit

The Great Northern Radio Show is made possible in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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