Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life On The River: The Parade Begins

On Tuesday morning, after John Latimer and I got off the air, we put the binoculars on some Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers on the Mississippi. Over the next four or five weeks, or until the ice goes out on the lakes, we will see all kinds of waterfowl as they migrate back to northern Minnesota. The early ones like the Goldeneyes and Mergansers will move further north to nest. As these photos show, these birds are stunning in their mating plumage. In addition to the parade of ducks, Herons and Osprey will arrive later and hang around all summer. We know we are lucky to work here, with our studio windows looking out on a scene like this. Even a dreary March day serves up golden moments on the river. Stop in and take a look.

Sisters w/ Their Songs and Brothers w/ Their Beats

by Doug MacRostie

Tonight on Centerstage MN I'll be talking w/ Shannon Murray, a singer, songwriter and activist from Bemidji about the 2nd Annual SisterSong Concert: a Celebration of Women and Their Music (this Sat @ Wild Rose in Bemidji starting at 6:18). Shannon founded and organizes SisterSong, which is a fundraiser for scholarships of the same name for young women musicians. I asked Shannon to bring her guitar along with the hope that she'll play a song for us live in-studio :D

Also, new to the show tonight will be Take Cover, a pop-rock band out of the Twin Cities. Their bass player is Chad Snell, he graduated from Deer River High School in '00, and before moving down to the Cities was very active playing music in Duluth, Grand Rapids and various places around northern MN. In the spirit of full disclosure, Chad has been my best friend since kindergarten and I am pumped to be playing music from his band tonight. BUT, that's not why I am playing Take Cover - their music stands on its own. Oh, and here is a little sneak peak for you: I am planning to have Take Cover perform a live acoustic set in-studio coming up in June (when they'll be having a CD release party at the Ground Floor in GR, muahahahha).

Another new band to the show will be My My Misfire out of Minneapolis - while well produced and with actual singing, I still call it hardcare thanks to the loud guitars, badass drums and occasional SCREAM!!!!! :D They'll be at the Elks Club in Bemidji Sat night.

Also Clawthroat, Podipto and the Gypsy fact, you can read more about my plans for the show tonight in my Previous Blog :)

Centerstage MN is every Thursday evening at 6p - streaming live online at, or 91.7fm Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. CSMN is also rebroadcast Sundays at 6a, and all interviews are archived at

Add To Your Community Website!

I hope you have a chance to take some time to check out Northern Community Radio’s new online project, That’s the regional website that’s perhaps your best starting point for finding your local, community Internet site.

Maybe that’s, or, or, or

There are 10 community websites so far, and more are being requested!

These sites are specially designed so that you can ADD CONTENT to them! Maybe you have a blog that you’d to share with a larger audience. Perhaps you have something to sell on the free classifieds. Or maybe your business or organization would like to add an event to the community calendar.

Whatever you add, it’s participation that makes the community websites more and more useful to your community.

You can also find interesting things there that your friends and neighbors have added, conduct a Google search that stays inside your community, participate in local political discussions on e-Democracy, and more.

If your community doesn’t have a site yet, and you’re interested in helping us get one started, let us know via the feedback form on the site. If you are interested in serving on a local management team for your community, you can help design and shape the content on your community’s website. Again, contact us on the feedback form! Thanks!--Maggie Montgomery


KAXE's "Stay Warm" fundraiser ended on March 6, and it's time to acknowledge some very important people (VIPs, if you will).

We want to thank:
Carolyn King, for being here several times during the fundraiser to answer phones
Jane Jewett and Roger Vogt and Fleming Township, for providing an incredible local lunch
Summer Kitchen Supplies, for supplying pasties and calzones for lunch
DJ the DJ, for bringing in a pot of awesome chili
Kathleen Blake, for answering phones and bringing in blueberry coffee cake
Elaine Hayes, for bringing in warm, curried fruit on Hot Dessert Day
Mike Peterson, for answering phones and for providing Hot Dessert as well
My Dinner Party, for donating a delicious lunch
KAXE's Very Own Chef Charlie, for serving the troops lunch and dessert
Sandy Roggenkamp, for answering phones and bringing food
Joe and Sue Gnoza, for answering phones and bringing food

And the following people all answered phones:
Anna Johnson
Derek Fox
Brenda Greeley
Kody Calgaro
Betsy Crabb
Nancy Oleheiser
Laurie Vail
Carolin Humpal
Randy McCarty

We couldn't have done it without you!

Thank you also to all on-air volunteers, and of course, those who pledged!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EXTRA! Unruly Mob Reads, Watches and Believes Whatever It Wants: More OnThe Uncertain Future of Journalism

by Scott Hall

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t read or hear about another newspaper laying off staff, declaring bankruptcy, or going out of the newsprint business entirely. This week it’s the Houston Chronicle, last week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Minnesota’s largest newspaper, the Mpls Star-Tribune, is publishing while going through bankruptcy.

This has been going on for a long time - well before our economy crashed. More people get their information from the internet now. That’s a factor. Now the economy is lousy so money from advertising is way down.

But it’s not that newspapers weren’t making money. It’s just they weren’t making it in big enough amounts for Wall Street investors. Of course, now a lot of investors would love to find investments that have the profit margins that newspapers once had. That's another story.

Good journalism is expensive. It’s labor-intensive. And, compared to other businesses, it’s not a good investment. The editor of the on-line Slate Group, Jacob Weisberg, has a good essay on different ways to pay for the news in a recent edition of Newsweek. Those who tried to figure out how to make the news more profitable, have, for the most part, given us news sexed up with scandal, personality, and opinion. This approach to news drowned out serious journalists doing good work.

We can find lots of good reporting if we care to look. Here in northern Minnesota, I like to read the work of Marshall Helmberger and his crew at the Timberjay, and Brad Swenson at the Bemidji Pioneer. They consistently turn out good stuff. Tell us about the northland journalists you like to read.

I don't like to get my news from the internet. But I'm glad it's there. If I miss a story from National Public Radio, a story in one of our local papers, or an interview on KAXE, I can go on line and listen to it or read it.

Here at KAXE we are building a place for reporting on issues important to us here in northern MN. It's called Northern Community Internet. We’ve found talented writers, photographers, and people creative in new forms of journalism. We need a reliable source of money to pay them.

When KAXE went on the air 33 years ago, there was no guarantee that the first public radio station in rural Amerca would survive. It was a risky venture. KAXE is still around because thousands of listeners voluntarily support it every year, along with dozens of northern MN businesses.

So we’re asking you to take a chance and invest in Northern Community Internet. You might think of it as something like a newspaper subscription. Or maybe you just like the idea of being part of a good new idea, and sharing the dream of creating a new kind of community-owned media. You can get more information at the web site, or call KAXE, 218-326-1234. It's a work in progress. Make a donation or tell us how you can help.

Mysteries on This Week's Realgoodwords

On this week's episode of Realgoodwords, we're talking to two Minnesota mystery/suspense authors.

Brian Freeman
is back with us. Brian writes the series of books about Jonathan Stride, a detective in Duluth. In his latest, "In the Dark" Jonathan's past is back. A murder that was committed when Jonathan was young was never solved and a woman who comes to town and is writing about it is determined to get him to look into the case. Reviewers said,

"Edgar-finalist Freeman's fourth thriller to feature Duluth, Minn., police lieutenant Jonathan Stride (after Stalked) may be his most ambitious—and accomplished—work to date.... Powered by darkly poetic atmospherics and deep character development (especially Stride, whose understated intensity, dignity and resilience are emblematic of the Twin Ports area itself), this harrowing and heartrending novel will leave readers guessing until the very last pages." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Brian has also embarked on a new writing journey - writing under a pseudonym (Ally O'Brien) and with a partner (his literary agent from London). His new "chick-lit" mystery series begins with "The Agency". It's the story of a tough, funny, British literary agent with a boss who turns up dead.

With an insider's take on the book biz, and an appealingly foul-mouthed heroine, this debut is fast, funny and a bit nasty not unlike Tess. A naughty, catty good time. --Kirkus

First time mystery writer Julie Kramer is also joining us. Though it is her first novel, the world of uncovering clues and motive and crime is far from new for author Julie Kramer. Julie is a television producer who worked for WCCO's I-team for many years and now works independently for NBC News. In her first novel, her sleuth is television news reporter Riley Spartz. Riley, always looking for ratings, has uncovered some cold cases that she hopes she can link together and solve in times for sweeps month.

"STALKING SUSAN is a fantastic debut. Julie Kramer has crafted a thriller that will get your heart racing."

These three novels I've mentioned run the gamut in terms of mystery - Brian's Jonathan Stride books are gritty - his new alter ego of Ally O'Brien and main character Tess Drake are flippy and fun with an edge - and Julie Kramer's Riley Spartz is smart and intense and working hard to make sure she can stay in the TV game. What kind of mystery appeals to you? What are your favorites? Here's some mystery websites to check out:

Minnesota Crime Wave
Uncle Hugo's Bookstore
Once Upon a Crime Bookstore
Reviewing the Evidence
Detectives Beyond Borders
Notes from the Handbasket

How do you find a new mystery to read?

Flooding in Northern MN

In this picture from the Bemidji Pioneer, volunteers help stack sandbags on the east shore of Lake Bemidji. For the full story, see the Pioneer website:

Monday, March 23, 2009

From punk-folk activism to hardcore... hardcorism :D

by Doug MacRostie

This week on Centerstage MN my guest will be Shannon Murray; a singer/songwriter and socially conscious activist out of Bemidji. She has a “punk-folk” style and 6 albums to her credit and just recently finished touring Florida on a bicycle (talk about walking the walk, eh?). But Shannon and I will be talking about the 2nd Annual SisterSong Concert: a Celebration of Women and Their Music which is happening at the Wild Rose Theater in Bemidji on Sat. the 28th starting at 6:18pm. Shannon started the event last year – it’s a fundraiser for the SisterSong Scholarship Program and they’ll be giving out the first 3 scholarships at the event this year. Shannon will tell us more about it, and pick a couple of the great women musicians at this years SisterSong to highlight during Centerstage MN.

Also, I’ll be playing some My My Misfire this week, the hottest hardcore out of Minneapolis!!! This 5 piece band does it all themselves, from releasing albums to organzing national tours. They’ll be performing at the Elks Club in Bemidji on Sat. the 28th – music starts at 5:30 and there is something like 4 or 5 bands playing, including Hackensack’s In Pursuit of Tomorrow. This is definitely going to be a bad ass show, and I’m looking forward to playing My My Misfire’s new song Gypsy Rose on Centerstage MN - be sure to have it turned WAY up :D

More excitement in MN music – Clawthroat (formerly Cpt. Clawthroat and Crooked Teeth) have a new CD coming out. You might remember I had Joseph Downing on Centerstage MN last summer, before they went up north to perform at the Winnipeg Folk Fest. The demo they had last year was excellent, and from what I have gotten to listen to, they have done nothing but improve. So we’ll hear Clawthroat along with some early 70’s Bemidji rock from Podipto and new music from Peter Himmelman’s “The Mystery and the Hum.”

Centerstage MN is every Thursday evening 6, streaming live at, or 91.7fm Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. Interview are also archived at (click on CSMN on the left). Read more of Doug's blogs about at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Creativity is the Utmost

A scene from today's KAXE staff meeting:

Half of a banana.

Filled with coffee.

Filled with whipped cream. Mmmm...good.

KAXE Volunteer Training Classes

by Maggie Montgomery

Two or three times a year, we hold classes for new, on-air volunteers at KAXE. Usually about a dozen people attend, and now and then some current volunteers come back for a “refresher.” This spring the classes are on three Tuesday nights in April: the 14th, 21st and 28th.

KAXE program director, Mark Tarner, and I teach the first two classes. KAXE engineer Dan Houg finishes the class training with a technical introduction to the on-air studios. After the classes, everything happens at the volunteer’s own pace. The “grads” sign up to observe a staff member or volunteer as many times as they wish before practicing in the studio. They can practice in a studio as often as they wish too, before their first, partial airshift under supervision. Completion of that supervised airshift is usually the last step before they go on the air on their own!

Going into that first class, we always wonder what will happen. Who will be there? What preconceptions will people bring with them? How familiar are they with KAXE’s programming? Why are they volunteering? What are their hopes and fears?

We hope we can gently introduce the class to audience-centered programming concepts that impose some rules on what they do and still keep them “jazzed” about the opportunities and creative processes of radio program production!

By the end of the first class, we trainers are the ones who are jazzed!! The classes are invariably impressive!

Class sessions are a good way to train new volunteers because new people coming into the station do so knowing other new people from the class—a built-in support group! And if some trainees don’t follow through it’s ok. It’s a low-pressure environment, and a great learning experience for anyone.

If you’d like to sign up for volunteer training there are 2 things required:
1) Be a member in good standing of KAXE
2) Register for the class by calling 218/326-1234 or emailing, or responding to the Facebook event on the KAXE Northern Community Radio Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So much music you’re going to need bigger pants

by Doug MacRostie

There are a lot of great MN bands out there, and more and more of their CDs keep coming into KAXE hoping to be featured on Centerstage MN (and you can’t blame them, that show rocks ;D) and I’ve got a lot planned for this week; from Duluth hip-hop to Minneapolis jazz to psychedelic acoustic rock, to instrumental Celtic tune sets, be sure to tune into Centerstage MN this Thursday night at 6 on KAXE.

This week on Centerstage MN I’ll be talking with jazz guitarist Cory Wong. From out of this world soundscapes to a jazz fusion interpretation of Radiohead’s Idioteque, Cory Wong’s debut album “Even, Uneven” is a wonderful collection of experimental jazz excursions by a young and talented group of musicians. At the age of 23, Cory has already established himself as an innovative and creative jazz musician in Minnesota and I am looking forward to having him on CSMN.

Speaking of experimental jazz, we’ll also hear from the new release “For All I Care” from The Bad Plus, which is their first album to have vocals (and yet, I’m playing an instrumental tune…) and I can’t spend this much time thinking about jazz guitar w/o playing some Sam Miltich and the Clearwater Hot Club.

We’ll also have a hip-hop set w/ Duluth’s reality rappers Kritical Kontact and hip-hop/electronica artist Prophis out of the Twin Cities. Plus, new music from St. Dominic’s Trio and The Brothers Burn Mountain.

Next week I’ll be talking with local singer/songwriter Shannon Murray – she is the mastermind of SisterSong. Now in it’s 2nd year, the SisterSong Concert is a celebration of women and their music happening Sat. March 28th at the Wild Rose Theater in Bemidji starting at 6:20pm. Shannon will tell us about the event and she’ll pick some performers to highlight next week.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6pm, streaming live at, or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 in Bemidji, heard again Sunday mornings at 6.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

upcoming books on Realgoodwords

Sandra Harper's new novel "High Tea" is a fun novel - the story of a L.A. establishment called Magpie's Tearoom. They pay strict attention to the tradition of High Tea including perfect, plain scones from Maggie's grandmother's recipe and traditional sandwiches. You can read chapter one here.

"Wintergirls" is the new novel by Laurie Halse Anderson.... Anderson is the bestselling author of the young adult novels "Speak" and "Catalyst" among others..."Wintergirls" explores the obsessive, competitive culture of eating disorders through the eyes of Lia.
Starred review, Booklist, Dec. 15, 2008"...a devastating portrait of the extremes of self-deception. This is a brutal and poetic deconstruction of how one girl stealthily vanishes into the depths of anorexia..." "Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world..."

Our friend Minnesota author Brian Freeman is back with two new mysteries. One continues the story of Duluth's Jonathan Stride... "In the Dark" (or in the U.K. "The Watcher" ) explores the mystery that Jonathan has never really wanted to look back into - the 1977 brutal killing of his girlfriend's sister. Also, Brian is writing a wholy different kind of novel, under another name. This one is called "The Agency"...

And Minnesota writer and judge Mark Munger will be talking with us soon about his biography of his uncle, Willard Munger. It's called "Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story".

State Representative Willard Munger was the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. During his long career, Munger authored every major environmental or conservation law adopted by the state. Now his story, beginning with his birth in a log cabin in Otter Tail County, continuing with his search for work in the shipyards and factories of Duluth, and culminating with his storied legacy as Minnesota's "Mr. Environment" is ready for readers to enjoy.

Julie Kramer's first novel, "Stalking Susan" is a mystery that centers around Minneapolis news reporter who is looking into some cold cases that all involve the death of women named Susan. The author herself is a freelance TV news producer for NBC's Today Show, Nightly News and Dateline. She lives in Minnesota.

Stay tuned for more information! And post your current reading here!

Thomas Friedman and Swans

Harry Hutchins, co-host for "A Talk on the Wild Side" on KAXE's Morning Show (Tuesdays 7:40am) mentioned a book that he is reading and will talk about with John Latimer on next week's show. The book is Thomas Friedman's "Hot Flat and Crowded".

Harry said, " When I read "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman I thought there's a lot more to this than just worrying about when the internet came around and how all the economies are all the same...and how we can all rise up to some great level...sure enough he came up with "Hot, Flat and Crowded". I'd highly suggest it for people who are looking at global climate change or looking at effects on biodiversity."

Have you read it? Let us know what YOU thought of it.... Check out Thomas Friedman's website - he's doing a really interesting thing, he's asking for input on updates on his book!

John and Harry also said that they'll have a conversation/listening session next week about the differences between the songs of the trumpeter and tundra swans. Won't be long before the tundra swans are here!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guido's Guide to the Arts

March 12, 2009

Brainerd area: “The Doctor In Spite Of Himself” tonight (3/12) through 3/14 at Central Lakes College Chalberg Theatre, 7:30. March 28 at the Pequot Lakes High School Theatre it’s the Gaudete Brass Quintet, time TBD, check with them. April 5 @ 2 it’s the Heartland Symphony in “A Taste of France” at Little Falls High School, Charles D. Martin Auditorium. April 7 @ 7:30, Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” at Central Lakes College. www.

Ripple River Gallery near Deerwood: “Seasons” by Dan Mondloch through 3/29: watercolors, mostly landscapes, familiar Minnesota scenes, very well done, and Dan’s doing things with negative space & transparent acrylics & other media that are pretty unique. He’ll be at the closing reception on Sunday, 3/29, 2-4.

Jaques Art Center/Aitkin: they still have Scott Duffney’s private collection up, fine art from around the world, through 3/21. Next: student art from Aitkin County schools, grades 7-12. Annual spring tea parties & tastings are starting to happen, various dates & times & places. Bring your own brown bag lunch 3/19: a framing demonstration by Midge Johnson.

Ironworld/Chisholm: “Apron Chronicles: A Patchwork of American Recollections” through 4/30. This Saturday (3/14) Sheila Packa’s doing a memoir writing workshop, 10:30-3:30. Friday 3/20 @ 6, dinner theater, “Hephzibeth, Woman Of Iron” in Ironworld’s restaurant. Saturday 3/21 @ 2 Frank Ongaro, Executive Director of MiningMinnesota, talks about the next generation of mining in northeast Minnesota.

Range Art Center/Hibbing: ongoing woodcarving & children’s classes, plus upcoming photography, stained glass, fused glass, drawing classes, & more.

The Edge Center/Bigfork: "Back Road" rocks the stage this Saturday night 3/14.“The Odd Couple”/The Female Version 3/26-3/28 @ 7 & 3/29 @ 2, reverse spin on Neil Simon’s play, directed by Patty Feld. The call for entries is out for the 5th Annual Art on the Edge Juried Show---apply by 5/11---exhibit is in July.

Bemidji: at BCAC “The Palette: Exploring the Media of Painting”, work by Natalia Himmirska & her students in the encaustic & other media of canvas & panel. Wild Hare: drawings by Nina Lubarski. Dunn Brothers: photography by Brandon Bjerknes. Gallery North: Maureen O’Brian & Ashlee Morton. And so on. It’s Bemidji; the art’s everywhere.

MacRostie Art Center/Grand Rapids wrapped up Empty Bowls last Friday, and this Friday (3/13) it’s more clay art, a group show, opening in both galleries, reception 5-7, sponsored by Miskovich Dental Clinic.

Brewed Awakenings
features paintings by Andrew Downing this month. Jazz next Thursday (3/19).

Reif Center: tomorrow (3/13) @ 7:30 Reif Dance Company/Dancing With Our Stars, sponsored by Dr. Mike Hagley/Grand Rapids Dental Care & White Wolf Computing Solutions & Computer Enterprises. This Saturday (3/14) @ 7:30 it’s Afro-Cuban All Stars, sponsored by Hawkinson Construction. Monday 3/23 @ 7:30: “Footloose”, sponsored by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Tuesday 3/31 @ 7:30: Grand Derangement, sponsored by White Ivy Design. Thursday 4/2 @ 7:30: Turtle Island String Quartet, sponsored by Grand Rapids State Bank. St. Patrick’s Day (3/17): Itasca Youth Chamber Orchestra @ 7:30 and Thursday 3/19 Itasca Symphony Orchestra Student concert @ 7:00. Grand Rapids Players, “Once Upon A Mattress”, 3/27-4/4.

Elsewhere: Miami Art Museum, through 5/24, “NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith”---a group show of sculptors & other 3-D artists exploring ritual in the artistic process & spirituality in contemporary art. With help from the Menil Collection in Houston.

Michael Zadoorian's "The Leisure Seeker"

Michael Zadoorian's "The Leisure Seeker" is a road trip novel like not other. The main characters are a couple in their 80's who have cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Sick of doctors, children and the world in general, they decide to jump in the RV and runaway to Disneyland.

Elmore Leonard wrote "Zadoorian's pace is deceptive, it's restful. But unexpected scenes jump out at you. Come to the end and you'll say 'Oh my God'"

Michael will be my guest this week on Realgoodwords.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jazz Fusion, Experi-delic and Horns!!!

by Doug MacRostie

This week on Centerstage MN (Thurs @6 on KAXE) I'll be talking with jazz fusion guitarist Cory Wong from Minneapolis about his debut release "Even, Uneven." Cory is a regular performer in the Twin Cities area, and he also does recording and production work, including with artists such as Bootsy Collins, Jimmie Vaughan, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Pat Donohue and more. "Even, Uneven" is one of those CDs where the longer the songs are, the better they seem to get ("Well You Needn't" for example - which takes you from one extreme to another before it's over). Sometime's the album's just rockin' (like halfway through the 9 minute song "Sea Journey", which also has some great spacy sections). But, that doesn't mean the short songs are lacking. The 2 minute "Ani" is a "sounds of the universe being born" kind of two minutes :) The musicians that Cory has with him on this CD each stand out and hold their own with great soloing and a great energy.

I'll also be playing from my current "favorite new MN CD" - The Brothers Burn Mountain "Wild Cat Road." I'm not sure how to describe it (experi-delic rock?)'s like a new interpretation of the OLD-school Moody Blues style (I'm talking "Threshold of a Dream" type stuff...but with a modern and edgy feel) complete with harmonies (but, 2 part instead of 5 like MB) and creative stellar imagary. I'll definitely have this brother duo on Centerstage MN sometime.

New to the show will be St. Dominic's Trio, which is an offshoot of the nine-piece Van Morrison cover bandThe Belfast Cowboys. This 9+ piece "trio" recorded their latest CD "Switch" at Sparta Sound on the Iron Range and it even has MN legend Rich Mattson on guitar and back-up vocals! The CD is a great rock album complete with horns, keys and a cut-loose attitude which is a lot of fun to listen to.

That's just a snap shot of some of the new MN CDs that I've been enjoying - tune in to Centerstage MN every Thurs evenings @ 6; streaming at, or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd, 105.3 Bemidji)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Public Radio Day on the Hill

The dust hasn’t settled from the Stay Warm fundraiser yet at KAXE, and at noon on the last day we don’t know for sure whether we’ll reach the $50,000 goal. But our fingers are firmly crossed we are hopeful. Listener support is KAXE’s largest and strongest source of funding, and members step up in unbelievable ways, especially when times are tough.

The funding picture is getting more serious as we move into the last half of KAXE’s fiscal year 2009. We already know we will not receive our $16,000 annual endowment payment (because the Pax World Fund, where the endowment is invested, lost so much money in 2008). We cut the budget to make up the difference. Because the state budget is decided in April or May, we won’t know about the state appropriation until late in the fiscal year, when it will be hard to make up any shortfall with budget cuts.

This Tuesday is Public Radio Day on the Hill. Starting at 8 a.m., members, volunteers, staff and board members from AMPERS radio stations from across Minnesota, along with their counterparts from MPR, will meet with legislators in St. Paul to talk with them about funding for public radio stations in our state.

KAXE usually receives about $30,600 annually from the state. Some of that is for operations ($26,090) and some for equipment ($4,545). This is about 5% of KAXE’s operating budget, or about one staff salary.

The entire AMPERS appropriation (for all 11 stations) costs each Minnesotan a little less than 7½ cents per person per year (MN’s population is 5,167,000 and the appropriation for AMPERS is $386,000/year).

For that amount of money, we are all getting a really good deal! People especially rely on information and entertainment resources like KAXE and other community-based media during hard times.

It’s going to be hard asking our legislators for money when they’re scratching their heads, wondering how to pay the state’s bills. All of us have to share the burden of this deficit. But we have to ask for some money nonetheless, because KAXE really needs it!

If you’d like to be part of Public Radio Day on the Hill, call KAXE. If you can’t make it to the Twin Cities, consider writing a letter to your legislators. Thanks to the volunteers and board members who are taking the time to be part of this effort on behalf of our regional community’s radio station!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Live Realgoodwords Event TONIGHT!

I'm so excited! Tonight is our first ever LIVE Realgoodwords. We're continuing our Stay Warm fundraiser for KAXE - Northern Community Radio. Be a member!!!!

What is it?
Why it's the BEAT CAFE! Join Heidi Holtan and The Krebs for a night of poetry and finger snapping music. There will be a beat, candlelight and lots of black. We're celebrating KAXE - Northern Community Radio - a community radio station that brings you locally produced programming and events. Join us at KAXE (260 NE 2nd Street, Grand Rapids) or on the air from 6-7pm, tonight for Steve Downing, Pat Albert Downing and KC Johnson in a KAXE house concert. Free to all KAXE members - enjoy coffee and treats.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stellar Echoes reverberating through northern MN

by Doug MacRostie

This week on Centerstage MN (Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live at I'll be joined in the studio by Norwood Hall and Caleb Fricke of the Bemidji experimental rock band Uncle Shurley.

Uncle Shurley's latest CD "Stellar Echoes" was recorded at Gary Burger's Studios in Turtle River, and it's a great album from cover to cover. Their interpretive style and experimental flare, along with creative melodies and vocals, combine to create unique and engaging tunes to move to. With songs like USS AAA, Kellers and Ghost in the Machine, it's sure to be some interesting conversation.

Just a reminder that this will be during KAXE's Stay Warm Fundraiser. We're an independent radio station and our single largest source of funding is from listeners just like you - so you haven't pledged yet, you can show your support for local music by pledging during Centerstage MN.