Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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!

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