Duluth and its surrounding communities are not necessarily known for their famous podcasts, but in recent years about a dozen productions have been pushed out to the internet and smartphones with the notion that people across the planet might be interested in Duluth’s take on birds, professional wrestling or whatever.
The definition of “podcast” is a little vague, by the way. Some people consider a podcast to be pretty much any audio production that can be heard on the internet. Wikipedia, however, narrows it down a bit: “A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio files which a user can subscribe to so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player.”
So, basically, shows people can subscribe to are considered legit podcasts, but the stuff that can be streamed or downloaded manually and not automatically are what we’ll refer to as “other audio productions on the web.”
First, a look at podcasts produced in the Arrowhead region.
For the Birds
For more than 30 years Duluth-based ornithologist Laura Erickson has been dropping her bird-nerd knowledge in segments on 103.3 FM KUMD and other stations. For the Birds is the longest-running radio feature about birds in the United States. Episodes are about five minutes long, focused on a single subject. It airs on KUMD weekdays at 7:32 a.m. New episodes have been released roughly twice a week as podcasts since 2014. Available on: lauraerickson.com | kumd.org | iTunes
David “Grizzly” Smith tells stories and reads stuff on his podcast, subtitled “The Life and Times of a Minor Local Celebrity” or “Stories from the Hiber-Nation.” He produces about 30 episodes per year, varying in duration from just a few minutes to an hour or slightly longer. Debuted February 2007. Available on: Liberated Syndication | PlayerFM | iHeartRadio | iTunes
Every Wednesday a combination of Duluth News Tribune reporters — most frequently Brady Slater, Christa Lawler, Tom Olsen and Brooks Johnson — sit down to chat with guests about local happenings, from music and shipwrecks to politics and tacos. Episodes conclude with each person explaining what they are “into” that week. Typical episodes run about 30 minutes. Debuted November 2015. Available on: Liberated Syndication | iTunes | Stitcher
KUMD Radio Program Director Maija Jenson hosts a weekly segment about people, ideas and Minnesota artists, featuring interview clips. It airs on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. and Fridays at 7:45 a.m. on 103.3 FM. An archive of episodes dating back to Nov. 2009 is available on KUMD’s website. Episodes are five minutes long, and made it to iTunes in January. Available on: kumd.org | iTunes
Two “brothers from the same mother,” Tom and Jason Skull talk about all things pro wrestling in this weekly podcast out of Duluth’s upper-Smithville neighborhood. Features include occasional interviews with wrestlers and wrestling insiders, the past week’s “Figure Five” news stories, and a “Slapnuts Moment of the Week” segment. Episodes typically exceed one hour. Debuted November 2016. Available on: PodBean | iTunes | Blubrry | Stitcher | PlayerFM
Take it with You
This series of live radio plays recorded at the Underground theater in Duluth finally made it to iTunes in April after three years in existence. Musician, writer and actor Blake Thomas produces about eight episodes of the show each year, with a cast of local entertainers and guests. The shows are typically an hour long; some are shorter. All are “set in a watering hole on the shores of Lake Superior.” Debuted May 2014. Available on: takeitwithyou.org | iTunes
Tent Show Radio
Tent Show Radio has been produced as a weekly radio variety show since 1994, showcasing live performances from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua. The show is hosted by humorist Michael Perry and features the Blue Canvas Orchestra and touring musicians who perform under the big-top tent. It airs on KUMD Sundays at 8 a.m. and on KUWS Saturdays at 7 p.m. Podcast archives date back to January 2014. Available on: tentshowradio.org | Liberated Syndication
Tom and Jim’s Top 5
Tom Skull and Jim Doutt compare their top 5 lists on anything and everything from sports, music, movies, pop culture and more. Debuted November 2016. Available on Podbean | iTunes | Stitcher | PlayerFM
Judy Breuer hosts this health and wellness podcast with an occasional Duluth focus. Most episodes feature and interview segment with someone involved in the fields of fitness or nutrition. Debuted December 2016. Available on wellnessrenpodcast.com | iTunes | PlayerFM
Wisecracks & Roadside Flats
Duluth musician and author Teague Alexy presents short stories and folktales in this podcast, accompanied by background music and sound effects. Episodes run between 10 and 15 minutes and are published somewhat randomly; the first four episodes came in a three-month span, then the show went on hiatus. Debuted February 2017. Available on: consideritcorrespondence.com | iTunes | Stitcher
The productions below, although many are promoted as “podcasts,” are not available for subscription download, but nonetheless can be similarly heard online.
Naturalist Larry Weber talks about all things phenological every Friday morning at 8:20 a.m. on KUMD’s Northland Morning program. The “Backyard Almanac” segments are cataloged for streaming on kumd.org, with an archive going back to March 2015.
Duluth Band Profiles
Seth Langreck produces short profiles of local bands, mixing interview excerpts with music clips to give listeners a sense of the sounds and personalities of the Duluth music scene. Episodes are roughly three minutes long. Debuted February 2014. Available on Perfect Duluth Day via SoundCloud.
The Duluth Local Show
Mike Novitzki hosts The Duluth Local Show on 90.9 FM “The Current” every Sunday at 8 p.m. The one-hour show focuses exclusively on the Duluth music scene, with occasional interview segments and live performances. Episodes can be listened to on thecurrent.org. The archive goes back to May 15, 2016, but a previous iteration of the show launched in March 2013.
Live from Studio A
Duluth’s 103.3 FM KUMD produces segments with local musicians and also traveling musicians with shows in Duluth, which are later posted online at kumd.org. There is not a consistent schedule, but the segments occur on a roughly weekly basis, varying in length from about 10 to 30 minutes. Christine Dean is generally, but not always, the host.
People of Color
People of Color is a radio program broadcast every Thursday on 91.3 FM KUWS in Superior and 90.9 FM WUWS in Ashland. Host Henry Banks leads a discussion with a new guest in each episode, generally focused on a current event related to people of color. Episodes are roughly 50 minutes in duration, and can be listened to or downloaded at wpr.org.
Sound Off! with Brad Bennett
Brad Bennett, a longtime broadcaster and Purple Heart recipient for his service as a Marine Corps sergeant during the Vietnam War, talks about local and national issues every weekday from 8 to 11 a.m. on WDSM 710 AM and 98.1 FM. Episodes are uploaded as hourly segments available to stream or download on wdsm710.com.
Speaking of Homes
Every Saturday at 8 a.m. “Speaking of Homes” hosts Chelle Eliason and Erick Filby offer advice about building bathrooms, designing decks and other home building and remodeling topics on WDSM 710 AM and 98.1 FM. Eliason is an executive officer at Arrowhead Builders Association; Filby is territory manager for Marvin Windows and Doors. The weekly episodes are available to stream or download at wdsm710.com.
Every Monday at 8 a.m. on 103.3 FM KUMD during the Northland Morning program, University of Minnesota Duluth student Pavel Arkhipenkov hosts a segment presenting “life at UMD from a different perspective.” Episodes are available to stream on kumd.org, with an archive dating back to March 2017.
There are probably a few podcasts or “podcasts” that are missing from this list. Remark about them in the comments to enlighten the world.
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