Community Radio in the “Big Swamp”

Grand Marais was founded by French Canadians.  It means Big Marsh, or swamp.  It was involved in early fur trading, then it became a logging center where huge log booms were assembled and towed to mills in Wisconsin near Duluth.  Today it’s a tourist and arts town.  It is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the start of the Gunflint Trail, and has lots of galleries and restaurants.  There’s a folk school, artist colony and a community radio station. 

I listened to WTIP on our drives up and down Highway 61.  It is nice to hear a local station discussing local issues rather than the normal automated music services that most small town stations have become.  There were three hot issues on WTIP.  First, Highway 61 was under construction (summer in Minnesota) and traffic was detoured through residential streets.  Drivers were not stopping at stop signs and folks really wanted the police to do something about it.  The second, the forest fire danger because of the drought and the fear that fires in Canada will cross the border into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  And third, the announcement that the Coast Guard will be closing its station in Grand Marais.  Everyone was rightly upset about that.   

It’s good to listen to real radio that reflects the community it serves.

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