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Radio host shares stellar steel harmonies

i Sep 9th No Comments by

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.

Northwoods Archive: Archivist’s Ambitious Undertaking

i Aug 28th No Comments by

Two Harbors Community Radio’s program description for the Monday night music show, Northwoods Archive, lists it as “a musical sojourn exploring a common thread.”

When host Shane Dickey was asked how he goes about selecting a particular theme for the show, he replied, “There’s not a solid theme for each show, it’s more of a feeling I’m having that day that connects each song.”

Much like making a mixtape with a friend in mind, the content of the show is a means for Dickey to connect and communicate with his audience via the medium of music. The show is a mixture of genres as well as a blend of both lesser and more well-known artists.

Because he is a music archivist in his personal life as well as managing the station’s collection, his broad goal is to play only one song per artist in order to showcase as many musicians as possible.

“As much as I love Brother Ray, if I play ‘One Mint Julip’ that means Mr. Charles is forever off limits,” Dickey said. “It is easy to fall into a rut by allowing yourself to use prolific artists like Ray Charles, Prince, or even the band Chicago as ‘go to’ fillers in a playlist. The challenge is to keep it fresh. If I want to play ‘Georgia on My Mind’ now that Ray Charles has had his turn, I will select another artist that has covered it. Sometimes that version is a much better fit than if I had gone straight to Ray.”

Dickey developed an interest in music both new and old during the 80’s. Like a lot of kids, he got his start by rummaging through his grandparents’ and parents’ vinyl record collections. But it was hearing the Beatles for the first time that truly fanned the flames of his musical passion.

While not one of the founding Two Harbors Community Radio volunteers, Dickey has become an integral member. Board member, mentor, program producer and host, and manager of the station’s music archives are some of the titles he holds.

Northwoods Archive airs Mondays at 7 p.m. and re-airs Fridays at 3 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.

Supporting Lake County’s Non-Profit Organizations: Made Simple

i Aug 14th No Comments by

Looking for an easy way to show your support for the various non-profit community organizations here in Lake County? Well, here’s a method that is simple, easy, and free.

AmazonSmile, part of amazon.com, is willing to donate 0.5% of each purchase made by shoppers who have chosen a charity via the smile.amazon.com website. Doing so will not add a penny to the shopper’s purchases.

It is as simple as logging into the Smile URL with the same username and password used for every day Amazon purchases. Type in the name of charity into the search field provided, e.g., Lake County Humane Society, Two Harbors Community Radio, Two Harbors Area Food Shelf, etc…hit enter, and click on the Select button that matches your charity.

The only requirement after completing the setup is to remember to log in to smile.amazon.com each time before making a purchase. No checks to write, no boiler-room sales pitches, no endless series of emails clogging up your Inbox. Amazon eliminates the hassle.

Oh, for simple!

Cooking, Clapton and cream of mushroom soup

i Aug 7th No Comments by

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Most people would not think to turn on the radio to experience their favorite cooking show but that is the aim of chef Uriah Hefter, host of The Hotdish Imperative on Two Harbors Community Radio.
“I wanted to create a show for those interested in cooking that I, myself, would actually listen to whenever it aired,” he said.

The weekly program is a blend of music, humor and food preparation instruction. The music for each show is selected to loosely complement the main dish through a shared commonality. If the focus of the program is about baking bread there is a better than average chance that the 1960’s and 70’s rock band Bread will see some air-play that day.

It would be easy for the average person to think to themselves, “A show about cooking? On the radio? He doesn’t do magic tricks, as well, does he?” To overcome for the lack of visuals that cooking shows on TV have traditionally relied on, during the broadcast Hefter closes his eyes and attempts to describe, in detail, each step of the preparation process.

“I would imagine that if you walked past the studio while I was in ‘explanation mode,’ you would most likely assume that I’d lost all mental capacity, or was experiencing a stroke at minimum,” he said.

Hefter, originally from Kansas City, Mo., met his wife, a Sauk Centre native, while in the City of Fountains. From there they moved to Iowa for a few years, but both had a yearning to make Northern Minnesota their permanent home. They are now going on their fifth year in the area.

A graduate of the culinary arts school at Indian Hills College in Ottumwa, Iowa, Hefter has honed his skills at small mom and pop owned kitchens, catering companies and large corporate operations. His preference is for smaller restaurants whereby he has oversight of aspects of the operation or as he puts it, “I like to have my fingers in lots of pies.”

The Hotdish Imperative airs Thursday at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast at 11 a.m. 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.

Big Dave’s Beat Farm

i Jul 29th 3 Comments by

Dave Anderson was always a musical child. In the same manner, most kids were scolded by their parents for sitting too close to the TV, Dave was prone to hugging the family radio, with his head and ear pressed firmly against the speaker until reprimanded by his mother. It is this love for music that leads inevitably to his learning guitar and the formation of his first band Dave & the Wharf Rats in 1960. The next four years saw him playing in several bands including one that went by the name The Pink Panthers. He took a long break from the road, got a respectable job, and soon left the Two Harbors area upon getting married in 64’. He returned to the area after retiring from the Teamster’s Union in 1998. He then set about becoming involved in 4 separate bands as a dobro player.


One of the early volunteers and content producers for Two Harbors Community Radio, Mr. Anderson was involved doing on the spot recordings for the station at various events prior to the launch of the Big Dave’s Beat Farm. He describes the 2-hour weekly broadcast as “an upbeat mix of Tex-Mex, Blues, Boogie, Swing, etc. Each show features a live music segment with area bands and musicians of varying skills, styles and instruments.” The live performance spot is open to anyone from the area regardless of professional experience.

Getting the best performance from someone who has never played ‘live’ requires a bit of wizardry. The magic begins with Dave’s hospitality towards his guests. His demeanor is genial and unrushed. As a musician himself, he can anticipate concerns and questions a first timer might have. Watching him interact with last week’s guest, Larry South, before the show, the outside observer comes away with the sense that Dave is truly interested in the person before him and the story behind their music. The show is not an altar to his ego, and this segment is purely a vehicle designed to showcase community artists of all skill levels.

A few minutes before going on-air the radio station office suddenly transforms into the lobby of a local civic center as friends and fans of both the performer and the show casually file in to lend support and add to the overall energy. Stories and names are traded between audience members until the signal is given for the one-minute to air countdown. The small rows of folding chairs now take on a church-like quality as everyone sits quietly waiting for the show to begin.

One could easily draw parallels between the Beat Farm’s live broadcast and the in-the-field recordings made by the late great archivist, folklorist, and musicologist John Lomax. The musicians, their stories, and their songs that Mr. Anderson makes available to the world are, for the most part, those rarely heard outside of living rooms, multi-family BBQs, or the occasional coffee house.

The wrap party between host, performer and their supporters is brief as there is still another hour of programming to be filled. After each show, at his own expense, Dave snail mails each artist a digitized copy of their performance. For some first timers, this makes all the pre-show jitters well worth it.

Big Dave’s Beat Farm airs Friday nights at 7 PM and repeats again Sundays at 3 PM. 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.

A heartfelt Heritage Day thank you

i Jul 15th No Comments by

Two Harbors Community Radio would like to thank everyone who stopped by the KTWH Heritage Days booth to show their support this past weekend.

Many of those visitors were former residents who were pleasantly surprised that Two Harbors now has a real-time source for community news, severe weather information, music, and entertainment. A surprising number of these hometown visitors were already aware of the station and were frequent listeners via KTWH’s live streaming feature at ktwh.org.

THCR would also like to thank its many volunteers for the time and effort they contributed towards making Heritage Days 2016 a rousing success. Just as crucial as the volunteers who set up, maintained and staffed the Heritage Days booth were those who stayed behind to man the boards back at the station. It is this type of coordinated effort that makes possible the day to day operation of the station and the services it provides to the community.

A round of applause is in order for both Arna Rennan and Dave Anderson for their special participation. Arna, the host of Nordic Roots, christened the Heritage Days main stage with her performance of Scandinavian folk and dance tunes on accordion. Big Dave’s Beat Farm and his band of Beat Farmers endured the midday sun as they rolled through town dispensing good will and candy for children of all ages.

Congratulations are due to the three lucky winners in the Two Harbors Community Radio Heritage Days Prize Drawing:

● Taking home the all-in-one entertainment unit was Steven Keech.

● Brad Ronning chose the one night’s stay for two at The Inn at Gitchee Gumee.

● Winner of the John & Susanne Bathke donated loon artwork was Tim Lekatz.

For everyone we have yet to thank, such as content contributors, underwriters and the people who drop off baked goods at the station, etc., thank you for your support.

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. Big Dave’s Beat Farm airs Friday nights at 7 p.m. and repeats again Sundays at 3 p.m. Nordic Roots airs Mondays at 9 a.m. and again Saturdays at 3 p.m.

Big Dave’s Beat Farmers Fling Fun

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Two Harbors Community Radio’s very own Dave Anderson, host of Big Dave’s Beat Farm, and his band of Beat Farmers helped celebrate Heritage Days with their entry in the annual parade.

 

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Big Dave’s Beat Farm airs an upbeat mix of Tex/Mex, Blues, Boogie, Swing and much more. Each show includes a segment which features an area musician or band as an in-studio guest. The show can be heard Friday nights at 7 PM on KTWH-LP 99.5 FM or live streamed on ktwh.org. It is rebroadcast Sundays at 3 PM.

Making and Remembering Heritage History

i Jul 8th No Comments by

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There are plenty of things for the whole family to do during the Heritage Days celebration. Two Harbors Community Radio is back again this year with more to see and hear.  The THCR booth will be located in the Vendor area near the Historic Depot. Volunteers will be on-hand to hand out KTWH-LP 99.5 FM program schedules as well as answer questions about the station and its mission.

On Friday, July 8th, starting at 11 AM, Nordic Roots host, and on-air personality Arna Rennan will be kicking things off on the Heritage Days stage performing a selection of Scandinavian dance tunes on accordion.

Saturday from 9 to 11 AM the radio station, 99.5 FM, will air rebroadcasts of two shows that will be of interest to residents and visitors alike.

  • Harbor Theater Recollections –  recorded in October of 2014 during the Harbor Theater History Celebration. Fans and former patrons reflect on this long-standing local icon.
  • The Dixie Bar & Grill – June 27th marked a sad day for local residents. On-air personality Jackie Rennwald interviews former owner Terry Hood as well as Dave Anderson about the history of this now vanished landmark.

Both shows will air again on Sunday, July 10th starting at 11 AM.

Saturday at 1 PM watch for KTWH’s very own Dave Anderson, host of Big Dave’s Beat Farm, and his Beat Farm float in the Heritage Days Parade.

Sunday at 12 noon Two Harbors Community Radio will hold a drawing for three awesome prizes including:

  • A 6-in-one Nostalgic Entertainment Center which features both CD and cassette players, turntable, FM radio, plus Bluetooth technology.
  • Artwork donated by John & Susanne Bathke.
  • Certificate for a one-night stay at The Inn at Gitchee Gumee.

New Show Premiere! Sunday at 7 PM will mark the start of the weekly hour-long program, Hear Tomorrow.  The show profiles new music and artists (of every genre) that might not otherwise be getting the attention they deserve.

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.

Honorarium enables ‘High School Half Hour’

i Jun 24th No Comments by

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“It seemed like the perfect way for me to apply my interests and develop my skills,” said Sam Knight. Sam is one of the Two Harbors High School students responsible for the weekly production of The High School Show which airs Fridays & Saturdays at 1:30 PM. The young Mr. Knight joined the team as a self-taught audio engineer/editor.

The High School Show, a half hour of music and news relevant to all ages, is part of the Youth Radio Initiative which is funded via a grant from the Northland Foundation. The initiative seeks to promote intergenerational grassroots participation in a variety of endeavors throughout Northern Minnesota. Some of its goals are assisting students in acquiring the production skills and interview techniques required to produce a weekly show, developing relationships with mentors in business, government, and civic organizations, as well as a knowledge transfer from senior to freshmen participants in the program.

The program is overseen by on-air personality Mychele, who spearheaded a similar project while working in radio on the Iron Range. The students describe her as an easy going and accepting mentor who champions and relishes their uniqueness. She speaks glowingly of these young adults when she recounts lessons learned from them and tales of the 120+ hours of volunteer effort the students have contributed to various projects both in and outside the studio.

The credit for the show’s inception goes to THHS student Dale Peterson, who submitted the initial proposal for the High School Show. Dale was already somewhat of an accomplished interviewer and reporter before KTWH went live. He served as Two Harbors Community Radio’s ‘man on the scene’ during a 2015 summer food networking event and has conducted many of the interviews during the H.S.S.’s early days.

The Leon brothers, David & Jackson, make up the other half of the student production team for the show. Jackson, the subject of an interview by Dale, enjoyed himself so much during his time in the station that he joined the team. His brother David soon joined him. Both plan to pursue careers related to radio and audio/visual engineering.

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.

THCR Program Producer Presents Punk Pioneers

i Jun 4th No Comments by

KTWH radio personality Kristina Rafn takes the audience to school with a two-part documentary presentation detailing the evolution of punk rock from its 60’s art scene roots, its exportation to the UK where it went supernova, and its influence on mainstream culture.

Each one-hour segment is a separately produced program and will follow Ms. Rafn’s regular Sunday 8-9 PM Digital Vinyl timeslot over a two-week period starting June 12th.

The first installment, The Pioneers of Punk, explores how Andy Warhol’s NYC art scene was embraced and transformed by that city’s economically disaffected youth during the 70’s.

In Part two, The Punk Invasion, the nascent genre getting no American airplay in the era of Disco, finds a home in the UK and evolves into a worldwide phenomenon.

Ms. Rafn, an avid music fan of alternative music since her late 80’s childhood, sees punk as being more than the soundtrack for protest, “When people think about punk, they think angry British people with Mohawks, but to me, punk is fun happy music.” Kristina also finds it empowering. “One of my favorite things about punk music is the place women hold in it. All-female bands like Mudwimin, Frightwig, Tragic Mulatto do not fit into the stereotypical sex goddess role. Punk audiences aren’t looking for glam, they want someone with an opinion that can rock.”

Digital Vinyl is a Two Harbors Community Radio produced weekly presentation of Kristina’s favorite upbeat alternative and punk rock classics.