91.7 KAXE presents the debut of a new, hour-long audio documentary that tries to answer the question, “What does it mean to be an Iron Ranger?” Award-winning producer Milt Lee visits with young folks and old-timers, retired miners and rock musicians, born-and-bred Rangers and “packsackers” to seek the essence of this special and significant region.
Ranger in My Heart debuts Thurs., Feb. 24, at 8 a.m. with additional broadcasts Fri., Feb. 25 at 6 p.m., Sat., Feb. 26 at noon, and Sun., Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. KAXE is heard across the Range at 91.7 FM, in Bemidji at 105.3 FM, and in Brainerd at 89.9 FM. The program will also be streamed live and archived at kaxe.org on the Culturology page.
Milt Lee is a radio and film producer who grew up in southeastern South Dakota. His wife, Jamie, grew up on the Iron Range. Like most husbands, Milt had always wondered what made Jamie tick. At the same time, KAXE’s parent organization Northern Community Radio was interested in a documentary project about the Iron Range. The convergence of these two interests is the inspiration for Ranger in My Heart.
Milt takes an outsider’s look at the history, people, natural environment, attitudes, and culture of the Iron Range. The documentary weaves together interviews, music and sounds gathered around the Range. His interviews include local history sources like Dan Bergan and Aaron Brown as well as prominent area musicians like Matt Ray, Rich Mattson, and Aurora Baer. A musician himself, Milt finds that he can interpret something about the soul of a people through the music they’re making.
Milt Lee has been producing documentaries for public radio since 1992. With his writer and wife, Jamie Lee, they have done over 70 long form documentaries. Winners of 6 Golden Reels, the Lees continue to explore the inner workings of grassroots people leading regular lives and discovering the true wealth of America.