It is often said that to become a writer one must become an avid reader. Logic might also suggest that to become a great storyteller one must learn to listen. Erika Adams, host of the Tale Collector on Two Harbors Community Radio, naturally embodies both of these traits. As someone born with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) she has had to develop a laser-like focus as the ‘disorder’ makes it difficult to screen out background noise. She is also a budding author in her own right.
Erika’s book entitled ‘Allie’s Adventure on the Wonder’ is loosely based on Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland.” It tells the tale of a young woman with APD and her adventures. It was through promoting her book that Erika first met KTWH volunteer Michelle Miller at the Two Harbors Public Library. Adams was there to donate a copy of her book when she struck up a conversation with Michelle that led to the suggestion that Erika should host a show.
Tale Collector is a monthly 15-minute review of tales told via book, music, movie or video game. Adams on-air delivery has overtones of Levar Burton’s Reading Rainbow in that there is nothing either infantile or pompous in her tone. Her voice has the measured cadence of someone who has spent years reading aloud for all ages. As Erika discusses the deeper meaning of the symbols used in a narrative, one gets strong hints of Joseph Campbell and his ability to zero in on the story’s central message.
Adams’ growing catalog of shows includes a review of the 2010 video game Limbo. The player guides an unnamed boy through a 2D side-scrolling environment as he searches for his sister and tries to avoid danger. It uses minimalist black and white imagery to create a film noir effect that is reminiscent of Indonesian shadow puppetry.
“I liked this game,” she says, “because of the minimalist aspects in both the artwork and the storytelling. Like a great book or a 1940’s era radio drama, it leaves enough blank space for the player to fill in the back story and missing pieces from their own imagination.”
Tale Collector airs bi-weekly on Fridays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. KTWH-LP, 99.5 FM, is a volunteer-driven non-profit serving the town of Two Harbors and surrounding area with a broadcast range of 10 miles. It streams online at ktwh.org.
Most everyone who grew up in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, knew someone like Robert Johnson, host of Two Harbors Community Radio’s ‘Harvest Program.’ A young adult with a massive record collection and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of music. They were the go-to person who could settle any disagreement concerning the members of a band or the author of a particular song. Ever wonder what happened to such people after high school or college?
In Robert’s case, his passion for music did not fade away as the years progressed. While attending college in Staples, MN he used a major portion of his $1500 of what would now be called his Student Loan to travel to Minneapolis and purchase over 100 vintage albums. After college, he found work in San Jose at a record factory which led to a position at one of Tower Records flagship stores. From there it was onto community radio station KKUP in Cupertino, CA. It was here he became enamored with the somewhat legendary KFAT in Gilroy, CA. KFAT (now KPIG) was notable as a freeform alternative country station and was also responsible for many of the comedic parodies of radio ads that proliferated on the airwaves during the 80’s. He eventually returned to Minnesota and spent 12 years working the record section of Carlson Books in Duluth.
The Harvest Program is very aptly named in that over the years Robert has separated the wheat from the chaff, preserving the very best from each decade of vinyl. The music heard is a mixture of blues, country, folk, jazz, and rock that flows seamlessly from one song to another. The background and history provided for the various tunes of interest is presented in a friendly matter of fact manner. What the listener does not see when the mic is off and the music is playing is that the DJ/host/producer is rocking out like 15 year old headbanger with the speakers at full volume.
One of the inaugural programs that launched KTWH during its first week on the air, it can be heard ‘live’ Tuesday mornings at 9 AM. It is rebroadcast at noon on Saturdays.
KTWH-LP, 99.5 FM, is a volunteer run non-profit serving the town of Two Harbors and surrounding area with a broadcast range of 10 miles. It streams online at ktwh.org.
The musical term ‘steel guitar’ usually conjures up notions of twangy country tunes rife with lyrics about heartache and romantic betrayal. Steel Harmony host, Paul Hanson, uses his two-hour Thursday night show to quash that stereotype. Each week he showcases a multi-faceted instrument that has a surprising history and has gone through an amazing evolution over the years.
Like most all of the Two Harbors Community Radio on-air personalities, Paul is a passionate student of the genre that he presents to the public. The student becomes the teacher when he speaks about the history of the instrument and the exact definition of ‘steel guitar’ as a style of music. “It was a result of Captain Cook bringing the Spanish guitar to Hawaii. In 1889, Joseph Kekuku applied a steel bolt to the strings on the neck of an old Spanish Guitar creating the first slide guitar style of playing. He would go on to become internationally famous, touring Europe for years.”
Paul also gave a much more inclusive definition of the steel guitar when he said, “It is really a style of playing as much as it is a particular instrument. There is the slide technique of playing using a steel bar or glass bottleneck like the Dobro used by Delta bluesmen. Then there’s the lap, or Weissenborn, also called the Hawaiian, steel that has a squared off neck and no resonating cavity. And finally, there is the pedal steel that most people have come to associate with country and Texas swing music. The pedal steel, in the hands of a true master like Buddy Emmons, has found homes in such genres as classical, bebop, rock, Dixieland, jazz and even Nigerian Jùjú music. It is more versatile than what most people think.”
As part of the core group of former 80’s KUMD DJs and engineers, Paul was involved in the early efforts to make community radio a reality in Two Harbors. As a result, Steel Harmony was one of the station’s inaugural shows. He credits his neighbor, Dave Slatterly, for mentoring him in the rich history of the steel guitar, without which the show would have followed a different path.
Steel Harmony airs Thursdays at 7 p.m. and re-airs Saturdays at 4 p.m. KTWH-LP, 99.5 FM, is a volunteer run non-profit serving the town of Two Harbors and surrounding area with a broadcast range of 10 miles. It streams online at ktwh.org.