Tag Archives: KFAI

Write On Radio! Is Right On.

A mix of events and connections have got me back to thinking more about Minnesota writers and the rich literary environment in which we are privileged to live and read.  It’s not the sort of thing one should forget, but it takes replenishment at times.

One of the supports I had let lapse is Write on Radio!  This is KFAI’s timely and eclectic weekly interview with Minnesota writers of every persuasion.  I was delighted to learn that this evening’s interviewee is Peter Smith, known to many of us as an MPR contributor whose wry humor gives a jump start to the morning.  From Write On Radio’s helpful notes I learned that Smith is a 30-year veteran of Twin Cities advertising and author of a newly released book A Cavalcade of Lesser Horrors.

Smith will be interviewed on Write on Radio! this very evening, September 20, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  If, like me, you’re at a neighborhood meeting this evening, know that the interview is archived by KFAI for two weeks.  A review of the archived programs, including a special tribute to Roy McBride, makes a great read.

On the same show Penny Noyce, author of the children’s book Lost in Lexicon and Desiree Bussiere, marketing director for Scarletta Press will be talking about the Midwest Booksellers Association Conference, September 22-23 in St. Paul.

I learned all this by reading the latest weekly email from Write On Radio!  Anyone who has an interest in good reads and interesting writers may subscribe by simply sending an email address to producers.  The email updates offer scheduling information and background on gusts and weekly events.

Write On Radio! Gets It Right!

Write On Radio one of the superstars of KFAI, ranks among this community’s untapped audio treasures.  Week after week producers somehow manage to lure authors, critics, bibliophiles of every stripe, to their funky (is that still a word?) studio in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

Consider Tuesday, January 4, for example.  On that wintry evening Charlotte Sullivan of KFAI will discuss children’s and young adult books with some of Minnesota’s finest.  Headliner is Phyllis Root, author of Big, Belching Bog, illustrated by Betsy Bowen.  Joining Phyllis will be Swati Avashti (author of Split), Michele Corriel, author of Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery, Janet Fox, author of Faithful and other books, and Jacqueline Houtman, author of The Reinvention of Thomas Edison among other titles.

The show is on Tuesday evening at 7:00 -8:00 p.m. St. Paul listeners should tune in to106.7FM – Minneapolis listeners should tune to 106.7.  Write on Radio  also available from the KFAI archives soon after the original airing and for two weeks thereafter.  Recent  shows feature Jane Smiley and Scott Edelstein (December 28).  Jane Smiley is author of A Thousand Acres, Private Life, a new series of books for young readers, the latest of which is A Good Horse, and numerous other titles.  Scott Edelstein is the author of several books and articles; his newest book, Sex and the Spiritual Teacher, will be published in March 2011 by Wisdom Publications.

On December 21 Write on Radio featured Lan Samantha Chang, director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is author of All Is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost, a novel tracing the lives of three poets and their teacher in a creative writing program “somewhere in the Midwest.”

Stephanie Ash, Alex Austin, Ian Graham Leask, Steve McEllistrem, Lynette Reini-Grandell, Matthew Rucker and Charlotte Sullivan spend endless volunteer hours making Write On Radio the unique community resource – and showcase of literary talent – that it is.  Watch the website for the updated schedule of weekly interviews.

The Flavors of Annona Gourmet in Saint Anthony Village

According to the infallible Wikipedia  Annona is a genus of flowering plants in the pawpaw sugar apple sugar apple family cultivated in Mexico since 1000 BC. Currently, seven Annona species and one hybrid are grown for domestic or commercial use mostly for the edible and nutritious fruits; several others also produce edible fruits. Many of the species are used in traditional medicines for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Several annonacaeous species have been found to contain annona.   Annona is also a goddess, personification of plenty or the produce of the yearly harvest.

Picture of the Annona plant

Botany and mythology aside, for increasing numbers of Twin Citians Annona is becoming a household word, not because of the flowering plant but because of Annona Gourmet.  Annona is a gastronomic treasure trove of taste-satisfying treats for the gourmet and for lurkers who want to know about subtle tastes.

James Norton, writing for the gourmet’s delight, Heavy Table, tempts the tastebuds with his description of Annona Gourmet:  “In terms of sheer impact, few gastronomic experiences rival letting a few drops of flavored balsamic vinegar slide across your palate.  The result can be a fig-tinted sledgehammer, a pomegranate wrecking ball, a blueberry uppercut;  vivid , slashing, barn-burning flavor that demands bread, or tonic, or vegetables to act as a catcher’s mitt for the vinegar’s flavor fastball.”  (Heavy Table, February 13, 2009)

In just two years Annona owner and Windom Park  resident Jean Rarick has made her welcoming shop an essential destination for many and a the hub of the community.  Visitors will find gourmet delicacies accented with neighborhood news and a glimpse of what’s next in Northeast Minneapolis, St. Anthony Village and environs.
Several years ago, while pondering a career change from the international business world of fine paper, Jean was laid off.  Having traveled extensively with her previous job, she had seen the gourmet shop concept in other countries and states.  Knowing there was nothing just  like she craved in Minnesota, she decided to open Annona Gourmet in The Village, a relatively nondescript strip mall that straddles St. Anthony Village and Northeast Minneapolis.

Annona Gourmet fills the gustatory gap while the community benefits by Jean’s commitment to stay in Northeast where she has lived for the past 25 years and where she has had family in the area since the late 1800’s.  Annona Gourmet also provides a lively outlet for local entrepreneurs with ideas, kitchens and workshops and a pitch to local customers.

Annona Gourmet offers an endlessly tempting array of gourmet delicacies – a rich assortment of vinegars that Jean rotates on a regular basis, extra virgin olive oils from around the world, pasta, sea salt and a mix of locally produced products.  Shoppers will find such local products as honey, jams, salsas and snacks plus a variety of art, pottery, jewelry and crafts, including handsome woodcrafts – and of course aprons — created by local artists and crafters.  Recent additions to the gourmet shelves include  coffee from Café Palmira, biscotti from LindaLiscious and seasonings from Kayak Kitchens.

Visitors to Annona Gourmet, 2807 Pentagon Drive in the Village Shopping Center, will also find a warm welcome, taste tests of fine vinegars and virgin oils, and a new appreciation of gustatory subtleties introduced by Jean who loves fine cuisine, her adventuresome customers, her community and good music as played on her favorite KFAI – not necessarily in that order.  Shoppers and shopper wannabes will  also find a busy shopkeeper and community resource, currently making big plans for the St Anthony Village holiday special set for December 10 – more on the traditional SAV carriage rides, vendors and entertainment in future posts.

Contact Jean and Annona at 612 354 2027 or sales@annonagourmet.com

KFAI Fresh Air Radio

By definition, Poking Around involves exploration of the radio dial, especially the diminishing segments thereof that remain independent.  The June gathering of independent public radio producers in St. Paul sparked latent poking around proclivities.   I did not attend in person but followed insofar as possible via the media.

KFAI where I serve with pride on the community advisory board was a player.  Still, that didn’t stop KFAI staffers and the board from tackling internal issues, to wit:  the program schedule.  Major changes!

Many listeners tune in for KFAI’s unique music offerings – roots, blues and world music, interviews and features wrapped in the commentary of volunteer dj’s, often collectors and performers who really know their genre.  There are several changes in music programming, including the fact that during the week the station will air music all night (8:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m.).

Other listeners tune in for Write-On Radio, the venerable local literary talk show that has hosted just about every Minnesotan who has an oar in the literary waters.  Write On Radio moves to has 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.  Politicos swear by Truth to Tell, Andy Driscoll’s public affairs interviews with a wide mix of informed guests, moves to Monday mornings at 9:00.  First Person Radio, hosted by Richard LaFortune and Laura Wittstock, an unique look at the contributions of issues of the American Indian community, moves to Wednesday mornings at 9:00.  The plan is “to create  a
new morning alternative for Twin Cities listeners that helps fulfill the mission of KFAI.”

To top it off, KFAI will dedicate of Sunday to broadcasting content of particular interest to immigrant communities in the metro area where the KFAI signal extends.

KFAI wannabe listeners beyond the reach of the signal, otherwise engaged at the appointed hour, or just eager to know more should check the options.  The volunteer producers of these shows offer supplementary support including archived and indexed streaming and websites.

FAQs about the new schedule are answered with care.

KFAI-FM      90.3 in Minneapolis       106.7 in St. Paul

I Love Podcasts!

Sometimes a Poke evolves into a Probe.  Such is the case with this Probe into one of my favorite pokes, i.e. podcasts.

I love podcasts!  I love to poke around and learn about new pockets of podcasts.  I love audio and video podcasts, but mostly I love audios, audios that capture lectures, interviews, posts by journalists, scholars, and thinkers who ask good questions and elicit ideas and information from unexpected sources.

What got me started on this poke and probe path is the forthcoming meeting of the 35th Annual Community Radio Conference, the gathering of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, set to meet in St. Paul, June 9-12, 2010.  These folks are major players in the world of podcasting – because what they produce is creative, unique and now accessible.

Podcasts are intellectual recycling, an ergonomically correct alternative  with great potential to simplify life, share ideas and wrest the viewer/listener from the rigors of commercial-saturated audio and video media.  Though the name “podcast” suggests iPod plus broadcasting, the fact is that podcasting predates the iPod invasion and actually grew out of the RSS feed format.

If you don’t have hours to probe, don’t get started with podcasts!  I’ve tried to focus on podcasts that are Minnesota-specific, audio, and spoken word (as opposed to the inestimable mountains of music about which everyone seems to know anyway).  My goal is to whet the listener’s audio appetite – no effort to plumb the depths that are both endless and shifting.

Note #1 about what follows:  Virtually all of these podcasts can be streamed on your PC.  They can also be downloaded and stored for replay on whatever audio device you have stuck in your ears.

Note #2 is about access: While traditional media are organized by topic, podcasts are organized by series or distributor. The user just needs to know where to look.

Note #3:  These are by or about Minnesota and Minnesota agencies.  In the interests of open government I tried to focus on publicly supported sources, though that’s a broad category that encompasses sports, public radio, the U of M and other key players in the world of podcasting.  I did not include state agencies per se.  Watch for a future blog.

Basic introduction to podcasting as a resource:

Try the University of Minnesota Digital Media Center for a great introduction/  They even support an ongoing Podcasting Discussion Mailing List.

Public Radio Player from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting focuses specifically on public programming in their excellent Q&A introduction to podcasting and related technology.

Christina Lopez at the University of Minnesota has written a superb piece about the potential of podcasting well worth more poking around.

Ready to listen?

Following is a totally random sampling of Minnesota audio podcast options – there are scores of other possibilities if you have but the time and a smattering of intellectual curiosity:

The University of Minnesota offers an incredible portal to podcasts of every stripe – lectures, interviews, backgrounders, opinion pieces and more.  Some samples:

  • Missed the Great Conversations series?  Check out the podcasts– everyone from Seymour Hersh to Ken Starr to Rafael Yglesias – fabulous!
  • Culture Queue from Radio K offers a pot pouri of information, ideas and opinions on current issues ranging from eating local to slam poetry and Tea Baggers..
  • The Civil Engineering department produces regular audio and video podcasts to which you can subscribe.

UMD is a podcasting mecca.  Check the Designer Network or, for the latest on research on The Lake (Superior, that is) try the Minnesota Sea Grant Feeds Library which offers audio programs and updated news and events on water quality, coastal communities and aquaculture.

The U of M is but one of many of Minnesota’s academic institutions floating through the airways to students and the general public. Check out St. Cloud State’s great website or what’s happening at Alexandria Technical college or Austin Community College for samples – virtually every publicly supported academic institution is in the podcasting game,

Access Minnesota is self-defined as a “weekly public affairs radio show featuring noted academics, authors, politicians and business leaders engaging in common sense conversations about compelling and relevant issues in the state of Minnesota, across the national and around the globe.”  It’s a joint project of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and the U of M.

Some Assembly Required is a superb series of weekly podcasts based on music and audio art, an exploration of the world of sound collage.  Produced locally by MnArtists the series is now nationally syndicated.

Want to know more about Minnesota architecture – broadly defined? Check Minnesota Builds for stories, interviews and heaps of photos on the complementary website.

Truth to Tell, heard first on KFAI’s, features interviews with a wide range of Minnesota decision and opinion makers.   Northern Sun News, another KFAI product, features interviews about current issues particularly ecology, peace and justice

And then there’s Minnesota Public Radio the ubiquitous audio giant that podcasts just about everything.  Start here to explore the library of podcasts from MPR.

Or check out KYMN in Northfield where you’ll find nearly a score of locally produced programming ranging from the Law Review to an After School Special to Art Zany and Tech Talk’

No surprise, the Vikes are in the game, so to speak. So do the Wild.  And the Lynx.  And the Twins.  You get the picture….

But you might not know about The Icebox Radio Theater, an independent, nonprofit arts organization in International Falls.  They’re dedicated to using the “old art of radio drama to tell new stories about their corner of the world, i.e. Northern Minnesota and Northwest Ontario. Or then there’s the MN Standup Comedy podcast series or La Casa Rojas, Spanish language podcasts beamed and streamed from St. Paul.

The list and the listening go on!  Dip for now, then drink deep of the audio stream….