General News

Year after year, the Twin Cities earns national attention for its talented songwriters. Not only is Minnesota home to a vibrant live music scene, but an academic one as well—with 37 accredited music schools in our state. But the way we consume music is rapidly changing. Streaming services like Spotify and Rdio provide access to millions of songs without having to buy a hard copy, or even download tracks. So how does technology and a changing music business affect the sustainability of our local music scene?

This week MinneCulture explores how today’s local musicians are navigating the ever-changing landscape of the music business, in an audio documentary produced for KFAI by Allegra Oxborough. Tune in on Wednesday, February 5, at 7:30pm.

Pictured top to bottom: Holly Newsome, Adam Levy, Caroline Smith, Lizzo.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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The End of the Rope: How a botched hanging ended the death penalty in Minnesota

by Susan Gray


Tonight on MinneCulture, producer Susan Gray takes an in-depth look at how a botched hanging ended the death penalty in Minnesota.

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This week on MinneCulture, an encore presentation of the The Minneapolis Music Scene 1975-1980, produced by Cyn Collins. The Twin Cities has had a vibrant music scene for decades, but in the early to mid-1970s there was almost no original music being performed. Only a few bands dared to be different, and thanks to their creative diligence, the Minneapolis punk/rock scene was born. This two-part documentary describes the Minneapolis music scene between 1975 – 1980, and features interviews and music by Curtiss A (Thumbs Up/the Spooks), Chris Osgood (the Suicide Commandos), Robert Wilkinson (the Flamin’ Oh), Chan Poling (the Suburbs), Kevin Cole (Rev 105), Peter Jesperson (Twin Tone/New West Records) and many more.

Monday, August 5: Part I
Wednesday, August 7: Part II

Wed, Oct 9, 7:30pm on MinneCulture:

He was the spokesperson for the Jazz Age. A big drinker who enjoyed the high life. One-half of the golden couple of the Roaring ’20s. He was F. Scott Fitzgerald. And before the celebrity and success of “The Great Gatsby,” he was a St. Paul boy who dreamed of becomming a great American author. KFAI producer Britt Aamodt talks with noted Fitzgerald scholar Dave Page, and tours St. Paul with guide Ann Melhus in this audio documentary, This Side of Summit Avenue: Fitzgerald in the St. Paul Years.

Travel around St Paul and you’ll notice that some of the streets have two names—one that appears on maps, and a second, co-street name that honors an individual. Katie McWatt Avenue, Raskas Road, William Mahoney Street—these caught the eye of KFAI producer Bobbie Scott.

Tune into MinneCulture tonight at 7:30pm to hear some of the stories behind the street names; from an African-American woman and civil rights activist, to a local rabbi involved with national issues, to a labor activist who became the mayor of St Paul during the Depression.

MinneCulture is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This week MinneCulture begins its new regular broadcast schedule: once a week, each Wednesday evening from 7:30-8pm.

On Wednesday, September 11, producer Nancy Skalkos presents an audio documentary on Small Space Living.

Converting a school bus into a living space might sound crazy, but it’s not so far fetched. Small space living has spawned a plethora of websites, books and blogs, as eco-conscious and debt-averse consumers search for alternatives to oversized McMansions.

Nancy Skalkos examines downsizing the American Dream, and talks to Sarah Susanka, author of “The Not So Big House”; WeeHouse Architect Geoffrey Warner; University of Minnesota Housing Professor Becky Yust; and graduate student Hank Buttita, who is converting a school bus into a weekend retreat.

MinneCulture, Feb 26, 7:30pm
Peggy’s Dreams: Living life with Down Syndrome
Produced by Marisa Helms

This week on MinneCulture, producer Marisa Helms presents an up-close and personal account of Peggy Mehen.

Peggy wants to make some changes in her life. She wants a new job. She wants to live independently. And her biggest dream is to be a supermodel. The fact that Peggy is a 40 year-old woman with Down syndrome has little impact on what she believes she can achieve. As a child growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, Peggy belongs to a first generation of children with Down syndrome to be mainstreamed into schools—paving the way for today’s generation of parents and people with Down syndrome who continue to push boundaries and demand greater inclusion and better social and medical supports in the community.

Tune into MinneCulture Wed, Feb 26, at 7:30pm to hear the full documentary.

Producer’s Note: The 1952 educational film heard in my story, In Our Care: Woodward State Hospital and School, is part of a 13-week series of documentaries about Iowa’s state institutions. The entire In our Care series is archived online at the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities website (

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This week MinneCulture presents youth poets from across the Twin Cities. The Capri Theater in North Minneapolis stages an open-mic event on the first Monday of every month. Recently, young people participating in the Brave New Voices international youth poetry tournament performed to a full house. Hear their passion and connect with this new generation of poets, coached by local poet/educator Guante, and hosted by hip-hop/spoken-word/community advocate Tish Jones of TruArtSpeaks.

MinneCulture airs every Wednesday evening from 7:30-8pm. This program was produced for KFAI by Daniel Zamzow, and is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

This week on MinneCulture, KFAI producer Britt Amodt talks with historian Rhoda Gilman, Pam Brunfelt and Peter Rachleff.

At the turn of the last century, Minnesota’s Iron Range was a cauldron of ethnicities and languages. From 1892 to 1914, more than 40 different ethnic groups immigrated there from the Old World, converging on one of the richest iron lodes in history.

In 1907, a large-scale labor strike erupted on the Mesabi Range, led primarily by immigrant Finns. The strike raised questions about whether laborers had the right to strike for liveable wages, eight-hour work days and fair work practices. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the strike broke down cultural barriers and united miners under the common banner of organized labor.

Tune in on Monday and Wednesday at 7:30pm.

This week on MinneCulture, producer Bobbie Scott presents an audio documentary on Arcola Mills. Tucked along the banks of St. Croix River just north of Stillwater, Minnesota, Arcola Mills is a serene spot with a long history. From Native and European settlers, to loggers and artist communities, it offers a beautiful respite along the St. Croix. This program is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.