Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Underwriting on KAXE is Easy and Fun!

By Stephanie Rose

They [the ubiquitous they, you know?] are saying that times are tough out there. When things are tight, keep in mind that KAXE is prit-near the greatest value around!

As you know, underwriting on 91.7 KAXE identifies your business, services, and products as supporting independent community radio. Your underwriting announcements can reach so much further than commercial advertising. KAXE’s listeners tune into the station because they want to hear the top-quality music and diverse programming. And they want to hear what you have to offer! And they really, really want to support the folks who support KAXE!

Underwriting puts your business in the spotlight with strong, well-defined market segment of community radio listeners.

Underwriting increases positive awareness of your business within Grand Rapids, Bemidji, Brainerd, and their surrounding areas. KAXE’s signal covers about a 100-mile radius!

And we have options, folks! You can position your announcements during programs that appeal to the market segment that you are trying to reach. You can identify your business with a particular style of music or personality found only on 91.7 KAXE. And we can rotate several different messages so that folks can discover everything your business has to offer. And we’re here to help you figure out the best way to spread the word.

KAXE’s typical listeners are college graduates ages 35 and older. Community and public radio listeners are 88 percent more likely to buy products and services from companies that support community and public radio. A recent underwriting study by NPR and Jacobs Media showed that 95 percent of listener respondents had taken action as a result of hearing sponsor credits. Eighty percent have a higher opinion of companies that support public radio, and 75 percent would prefer doing business with such sponsors! These are great big, solid numbers to have on your side – especially when people are thinking about a little bit of belt-tightening.

If you, or your sister-in-law, or your next-door neighbors are trying to spread the word about what your business has to offer, call us! KAXE wants to help.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potlucks are Good

By Jennifer Poenix

On Saturday night, some KAXE staff and friends gathered together to say goodbye to the StoryCorps facilitators that were here for four weeks. We had a potluck dinner at KAXE's studios.

We had a great assortment of food including venison curry, Mad Dog pizza, peach pie, and lots more. I brought a fruit salad, consisting of pineapple, green grapes, apples, bananas, and oranges mixed with peach pie filling. It's the easiest fruit salad ever (well, not if you mix a can of fruit cocktail with Cool Whip). You can use whatever fruit you want and it turns out great.

Men have a whole different way of looking at potlucks. Right before we left for the potluck Saturday night, my husband Jeff* asked me, "So, are we bringing anything?" Yes, we are. We're bringing fruit salad. It's a potluck. Sunday afternoon, I got the leftover fruit salad out of the fridge to eat with lunch. "How did we get this?" Jeff excitedly asked. "Um..I made it for the potluck," I replied. "Oh, you brought this? This was really good!"

I like potlucks because you never know what you're going to get. I guess you could say life is like a potluck. If I could choose my last meal on Earth, I would choose potluck.

*seen on the left in this photo from the 2007 Green Cheese picnic. He didn't know what we brought to that one either. Root beer cake. We brought root beer cake, which wasn't as yummy as it sounds.

AMPERS—A Brief History and a New Subsidiary

By Maggie Montgomery

The man in that photo is Jim Gullickson. “Gully” is president of AMPERS (which also calls itself “Independent Public Radio”) and general manager of KMSU in Mankato.

91.7 KAXE is one of 12 member stations of AMPERS, the Association of MN Public Educational Radio Stations. One of KAXE’s founders, Rich McClear, was one of the organization’s original board members.

According to a personal history of AMPERS written by founding member and current manager of the University of MN’s Radio K in the Twin Cities, Andy Marlow, the AMPERS stations originally came together to address issues related to unfair distribution of NTIA money in Minnesota. In the early ‘70s, the MN Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) was channeling all federal funds for public radio infrastructure improvements to MPR (then called MER—Minnesota Educational Radio) and Twin Cities Public Television (TCPT).

Several other stations statewide were pulled together as an advisory board to the HECB in an attempt to address this inequity, but the effort eventually failed because MER and TCPT refused to participate.

The group continued to meet in order to address MER’s monopoly on NTIA funds for radio in MN. Eventually the group found other common interests, formalized, and became AMPERS.

Andy’s history addresses an interesting facet of Northern Community Radio’s history: “Early on, we worked hard to differentiate ourselves from Minnesota Public Radio. Few people knew we existed as an organization. There was a lot of anger at MPR's behavior, particularly attempts to take over some of our stations by MPR (those included KUOM, KUMD, KMSU and others), MPR's efforts to prevent KAXE and KFAI from being licensed, and MPR's devious "theft" of the name Minnesota Public Radio from Rich McClear's effort to establish a station in Grand Rapids. The not-for-profit corporation created by McClear and his community supporters was originally incorporated as Minnesota Public Radio. Bill Kling of Minnesota Educational Radio and Marion Watson of KUOM convinced McClear to give up the name so it could be used generically by all public stations in Minnesota. McClear changed the name of the corporation to Northern Community Radio. Less than three months later, Kling changed to name Minnesota Educational Radio to Minnesota Public Radio.”

Andy, who is retiring from Radio K in early 2009, described several phases in AMPERS history. He does not describe the most recent phase—AMPERS has changed its name to Independent Public Radio. The stations are working together on a joint underwriting project that has led to the formation of a for-profit subsidiary called Independent Community Media, or ICM.

ICM was envisioned as a marketing and ad agency run for the benefit of AMPERS/IPR stations. It was formed because IPR’s joint underwriting ventures were so strong that they jeopardized the organization’s nonprofit status. Through ICM, potential underwriters can contract with any AMPERS/IPR station or stations. ICM can also make ad placements for other media. At the end of the year, all profits are distributed to the AMPERS/IPR stations. Jim Lowe is the vice president of statewide underwriting for ICM. If your business is interested in marketing through ICM, his phone number is 651/293-0077.

The concept is brand new! All of the AMPERS/IPR member stations will be monitoring ICM to see how the concept works in the coming months.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's hear it for radio! by Linda Johnson

Again. Let's hear it for radio. KAXE radio! Butt-widening staring at blinding computer screens not required.

Radio allows, perhaps even promotes multi-sensing and accomplishment. Wood stacked. Dishes washed. Chickens fed. Diapers changed. Seeds planted. Weeds pulled. Trees pruned. Gutters cleared. Weights lifted. Checkbooks balanced--well, maybe a stretch. Vegetables canned. Supper prepped. Floors swept. Children tickled. Fences mended. Sweaters knitted. Dances danced. Gifts wrapped. Apples peeled. Cookies baked. Dogs scratched. Bread kneaded. Cards played. Snow shoveled.

Life. Body, mind, spirit. Stimulated. Experienced. Not a comatose stare. I choose to listen to nature, silence, or radio at will. And move. Ooops! Gotta go. Linda n Beej

Turn Off The News! by Michael Goldberg

A lot of people are walking around shocked by the election polling news, as reported this morning 9/19 by NPR, feeling worse and more scared by the day. But here's the thing about these polls that are called "news":
To be polled, you have to answer your land line phone. Only about half of people in their 20's even have one.
To qualify as a respondent, you have to be a "likely voter", which pollsters have always determined in the past as people who've voted before. They're trying to adjust their technique, but at best they're really just experimenting.
Over-all, the daily polling only means that, as of that day or hour, about everyone who voted for Bush favors McCain, and everyone who voted for Kerry favors Obama as our first community organizer President.

The Obama campaign is going to own the ground on Election Day. In most cities in America, people are riding buses part of each day with registration cards, signing people up. Not only the on-line, but the phone banking and door knocking is going great, and is highly organized, often under the local supervision of experienced organizers who have been at key locations for 5 - 18 months. There's no way the pollsters nor the pundits can keep up.

They might be missing the story, too. Retailers are selling baby onesies with slogans on them like My Momma's for Obama and Barak-a-bye Baby. A Mommy group I know of lined up their babies, each in his'her own Obama-ware, and took a photo, so those children would grow up knowing they'd been part of the 2008 election. Imagine anyone having done that in any past presidential election. And who buys onesies? People young enough to have babies in diapers. And of course young people, like African Americans and the poor, have had the lowest voting rates.

In the 2000 election, 76% of the eligible population was registered, and of those, two-thirds, or 51.3% of the total, showed up or were allowed to vote at the polls. It was close. So in 2004, registration went up to 79%, and turn out was 69% of those -- the newly registered voted. Still only represented 55.3% of the total.

So here's my advice for the next few weeks. QUIT FOLLOWING THE POLLS, and in fact, turn off the news when that's what's on. Instead, spend time with young adults. Show up every day, and then again on Election Day. And then, keep showing up every day. It's not like President Obama is going to make things OK. Like he says, it's not about him -- it's about us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sustaining Phenology

By Stephanie Rose

Phenology n. The scientific study of periodic biological phenomena, such as flowering, breeding, and migration, in relation to climatic conditions.

On Tuesday night, folks at KAXE kicked off a year-long celebration of the Phenology [that’s the study of biological and rhythmic events of nature as they relate to climate] Show’s 25th Anniversary. Lots of very nice people came to enjoy snacks, an enormous cake, and a live Phenology Plus show at 6:00, hosted by John Latimer and lots of his friends. “Time flies,” said Latimer. “It feels like I’ve only been doing this for 18 or 19 years!”

Some highlights of the evening for me included hugs from young Zane Poenix, watching volunteer DJ the DJ distribute name tags to our guests [the catch: most people didn’t use their actual names], Connie Vincent’s delicious [hot, hot, hot!] pistachio-habanero wraps
Publish Post
, and, of course, visiting with lots of Phenology fans the whole time. Phenology has touched lots and lots of lives over its 25 years.

To help sustain and advance the Phenology program in honor of its 25th anniversary, we’re trying to raise $25,000. The funds we raise will go toward KAXE’s purple martin house and rain garden, supplies for Phenology’s 12 classrooms, and help with more outreach programs. If KAXE’s Phenology has touched your life, we hope you’ll consider contributing to the Phenology Fund. $25, $250, $1,000 or any amount that you choose would be lots of help, and really appreciated by many, many people. There are pledge forms here, or you can call to find out more.

We’ll help keep Phenology near the front of your mind by having more celebrations all through this year. And don’t miss The Phenology Show Tuesday mornings starting at 6:50 and Phenology Plus Tuesday evenings at 6:00.

Yeah Yeah Yeah

By Jennifer Poenix

I’m 27, and I like the Beatles. If you have heard me host "On the River" on KAXE, you have probably heard a Beatles tune or two.

“But Jennifer,” you may be saying, “you weren’t even born yet when the Beatles were a band. You didn’t experience them in the 60’s.” Yeah, I’ve heard that before.

When I was young, I didn’t know that the Beatles had been one of the most popular bands of all time (if not the most). I just liked their songs.

When I was in 9th grade, The Beatles Anthology aired on ABC in three parts. (They promoted it by calling themselves “A Beatles C.”) I was mesmerized and turned into a total Beatles geek. I bought books, t-shirts, and scoured antique stores for records or any other collectibles I could find. I wrote discographies in a Mead 5-Star notebook. I was constantly doodling the Beatles drum in school. I quoted A Hard Day’s Night.

As I approached high school graduation, my aunt asked me where I would go if I could go anywhere in the world. My immediate answer? Liverpool. Little did I know that she was actually planning to take me there! We went, and it was amazing.

My son Zane is almost two, and while I haven’t exactly forced the Beatles on him, he does say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” quite a bit, and I’ve also taught him how to shake his head and say “wooooo!” It just goes to show that even though a person might not have been around when Beatlemania was prevalent, they can still be a fan.

How Can KAXE Serve Hibbing Better?

By Maggie Montgomery

Aaron Brown (in the photo) was one of 9 KAXE members and listeners that attended a dinner meeting at Zimmie’s restaurant Monday night to talk about how 91.7 KAXE could be more of a hometown radio station to people in Hibbing.

Others in attendance were Tom Vucetich, Al Lipke, Joe and Sue Gnoza, Lucy Vitale, Mike Ricci, Jean Winter and Joann Mulonovich. Scott Hall, Stephanie Rose and I got to be part of a lively and fun discussion!

Here are a few things we learned:

Hibbing has not had a locally originating radio station—at least not for many years.

There was interest in a satellite KAXE studio to serve people in Hibbing.

It’s really hard to get through to Green Cheese (trivia). The phone lines are always too busy.

Those in attendance were not necessarily enamored of the Binary Boys but were impressed to learn the show was produced locally.

Hibbing Community College Theater would like to partner with KAXE for some events. There may be other partnership opportunities in Hibbing also (the Hibbing public library, Mesabe Concert Assn, Silica Fire Department).

KAXE might be viewed as elitist or inaccessible on the Range.

In spite of the fact that KAXE sees itself as a regional radio station, it is hard to portray it in Hibbing as other than a Grand Rapids station. One reason is the largest number of underwriting and other announcements are about Grand Rapids, followed by Bemidji. Another is the divide between being on or off the Range.

The outstanding work of KAXE’s music volunteers is appreciated (Volunteer of the Year Rev Dave was especially singled out for praise).

People in Hibbing don’t know KAXE is out there. Many think KAXE is part of MPR.

There is interest in more news and cultural information from Hibbing, including food. The group supplied Scott Hall with many leads for interviews.

Tonight some members of KAXE’s staff will head to Virginia to meet with another group of KAXE listeners. More on that meeting later!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hooked on Chickens? by Linda Johnson

Elna, head low, moving slow...thought she might be the one who laid the first egg. Gotta be a bit uncomfortable. Or maybe she was in shock. And awe from the experience. Then I saw a blond hair sticking out of her mouth. But no. A monofilament fishing line. Oofda. Did she swallow a hook? A jig? Lead sinker? Leader? Hoola popper?

My inner EMT kicked in. Gather: needle nose pliers, flashlight, popsicle stick, rubbing alcohol, Q-Tips, hand lense, plastic, masking tape. Carefully slide a plastic "gown" on her. Mere minute fussing. Cinch gently. Secure, mummifying her with masking tape. Only head and tail feathers free.

C'mon, now sweety, open up. Pry. Squint. Flashlight. Struggle. See nothing but line. Pliers pull. Snap. What's down there? Happens to loons. A lot. Only without the mummy stuff.

Demummified her outside after tatooing her inner legs with a permanent marker to distinquish her easily from Esther, Rose, and Eula.

Three weeks hence, Elna is gabby and perky as if she'd just had a beak job.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Walking in the GASF

By Jennifer Poenix

If it's nice enough outside, my family and I go for a walk after supper most nights. We often end up on the River Road ski trails in the Golden Anniversary State Forest. Thanks to Boomer the Groomer for making the trails passable after the grass got too high.

So, it's me, my husband Jeff, son Zane, and dog Cooper on the trail. Cooper likes being able to run through the woods without his leash. If we decide to keep our walk shorter by staying out of the state forest, he tries to take us there anyway. Zane seems to enjoy riding in his stroller, even if the ride is a bit bumpy.

Jeff and I have found a few treats that the woods have to offer. The blackberries have become ripe in the last week or so. We haven't remembered to bring a container to carry them home in yet, but they are nice treat to find as we walk. The last time we walked, Jeff also found hazelnuts. He has a really good eye for them. He told me that he sees the plants all along our route. I have no idea what to look for. Yet, anyway. I tasted my first hazelnuts a few days ago. Not too bad, but not that great either.

There's all kinds of treasure to find in northern Minnesota's woods, if you just know what to look for. I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you yet, but KAXE's fall fundraiser is going to be all about the things you observe in your life, whether they are nature related or not. It's scheduled for October 20-31, and, like all of KAXE's fundraisers, we'll aim to make it fun.

So, keep your eyes (and your ears) open. You never know what you might find.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Community Supported Journalism

by Maggie Montgomery

I have a question for you: Are you willing to pay for in-depth coverage of a public affairs or news story on the Internet and on 91.7 KAXE?

Are you willing to donate some money to support this coverage in addition to your current KAXE membership pledge?

How much would you be willing to pay for, say, a multi-week series of stories about the challenges of heating a home in northern Minnesota this winter? Or for a series about how we might fund public education in the future?

The way we consume, participate in, and pay for media is changing. News organizations across the country are looking for financial models that will keep journalism strong in an era of declining newspaper readership and declining use of traditional media, especially among young people.

KAXE, with help from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB) Public Media Innovation project, will be testing a new model for news and information programming on public radio stations and their websites in the coming year. Our idea is called Community Supported Journalism.

We’re trying to learn whether people and businesses will support specific, community-based newsgathering and pubic affairs efforts.

KAXE will be working with citizens, community journalists and citizen journalists in communities across our region to determine what stories really matter to us. Then we’ll use Northern Community Radio’s new website, http://www.northerncommunityinternet.org/, and 91.7 KAXE to bring these stories to you.

And then we’ll ask you to help us pay for them.

Your donations will pay journalists for their work and help pay an editor to work with KAXE’s staff to pull it all together.

Back in 1976, when KAXE first started, nobody knew for sure whether people would support a community radio station in rural northern Minnesota. We’re not sure if Community Supported Journalism will work either, but we’re going to try.

If you’d like to help, or if you’d like to donate to this effort, let us know!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pancakes in a can?!

By Stephanie Rose

We recently started sort of a tradition, now that we have a kitchen at KAXE: Pancakes and sausage [usually pronounced chottch-idge] and vegetarian alternatives on Friday mornings around 9:30. Everyone's welcome to join us, of course!

When we started the tradition, John Bauer always made the pancakes. Jennifer Poenix and I were allowed to pour the juice, make the coffee, and occasionally, if we were very careful, get the local eggs out of the fridge. Gradually, though, after lots of careful observation, Jennifer's been granted more pancake authority. She can even make the pancakes without John's supervision now! I, on the other hand, haven't quite attained her level of pancake authority. But I'm fine. I'm great at getting the eggs out of the fridge.

Still, imagine my delight when I discovered, at the supermarket, Batter Blast: All-organic pancake mix -- already mixed, that is -- in an aerosal can [similar to a Redi-Wipp can]! I bought two cans of mix, plus chottchidge and vegetarian alternatives, and I waited for Friday morning with my fingers steepled.

So. This morning. Pancake time. No one was going to put Stephanie in the corner. I plugged in the griddle and started cooking chottchidge. I got the can of batter our of the fridge. No eggs. No mess. No mixing bowls. I even -- rather magnanimously, I thought -- allowed Jennifer to squirt the first batch of pancakes! When she flipped them, they were beautiful. Perfectly golden-brown.

So. Five minutes later. Pancakes were a gloppy mess. The coffee pot had stopped mid-brew. The griddle wasn't even hot. The Rev Dave was wringing his hands from lack of coffee. Train wreck in progress! Luckily, I realized that the breaker had tripped. So I reset it, and we were back in business. I squirted the next batch of pancakes. Five minutes later. Another gloppy mess. John Bauer moaned, "I'm sorry, but these pancakes are terrible!" He was done. Shut down. Not even extra chottchidge could change his mind.

I reset the circuit breaker again, and Jennifer moved the griddle to a new outlet, but it was too late. The magic was gone, and there wasn't any more batter-in-a-can. Half of KAXE's staff went pancake-less. It wasn't easy. Scott Hall tried to comfort me, but I've learned my lesson. Pancakes don't come in a can. And I'm content with my jobbies: Get the eggs out of the fridge and pour the juice.

25 Years of Phenology on KAXE

Phenology Past and Present

This month, KAXE is kicking off a year-long celebration of 25 years of John Latimer's Phenology Show. In October, 1983, John began doing a weekly review of his journal of nature notes he collected during his daily rural mail deliveries.

Since then, the program has expanded way beyond John's mail route and the studios of KAXE. Thousands of listeners and students from all over northern Minnesota have joined John to create a network of eyes and ears tracking the small and large changes as the seasons pass. We've talked with many people about their experiences and knowledge of the great variety of wildlife and the nature of where we live.

An Uncertain Future

Teachers, people who fish and hunt, foresters and other wildlife professionals are noticing that the number of young people interested in outdoor activities and the natural world is going down. John's programs in the schools are one way to pass on that interest and curiosity in our natural world.

Over the next year, our goal is to raise 25 thousand dollars. Most of that money will be used to support John's outreach work. We hope you will join us Tuesday evening, September 16th, from 5:30 to 7 o'clock, at KAXE's studios for a reception/fundraiser to kick off the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Phenology on KAXE.

What are your thoughts on the future of our natural heritage?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Got Zucchini?

By Jennifer Poenix

It's harvest time in northern Minnesota! Is your garden overflowing with produce?

I decided to plant zucchini this year. I had purchased it a few times at last year's farmers' market and really liked it. I had never really eaten much of it before except when my mom would make a chocolate zucchini cake when I was a girl. My mom never gardened, but usually ended up with a few zucchini every summer from someone, so she would make cake.

I have made three of these cakes so far this summer, and thought I'd share the recipe with anyone who finds themselves with an abundance of the green stuff:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Mix Together:
1/2 c. margarine or butter

1/2 c. oil

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. buttermilk OR 1/2 c. milk plus 1/2 Tbsp vinegar

In a separate bowl, sift together:

2 1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. cocoa

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Add to batter. Then add 2 cups grated zucchini. Pour into greased, floured pan (I use a 9 x 13). Sprinkle 1 or 2 cups of chocolate chips on the top and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes?