Monthly Archives: April 2006

WNRB Wausau’s Community Radio

An important community resource is almost a year old now. It was just over a year ago that WNRB started soliciting volunteers to produce program and help out at the station. Many people answered that call, and now WNRB hosts a variety show produced by real people in our community.

I am a volunteer at WNRB, a LPFM station sponsored by Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. The college has been absolutely wonderful to us and put us light years ahead of where we would be if we were simply a community group using our own resources to put things together. They have provided space, equipment, pull in the community and most importantly a full time employee, Dino, our Bossman.

After giving the station all of those resources they have basically given the station back to the community. WNRB is a very eclectic station with a wide range of informational and musical shows. We carry programming in three languages, English, Hmong and Spanish. Musical styles range from the blues to classical. We have informational programming on health, finances, the environment and world news. WNRB is all over the map, and we like it that way.

Here is a link to our homepage. At the moment the homepage is a little bit staid and out of date, but we are working on a new, dynamic content management system that will allow each show to have a blog and those blogs to all be linked together. Should be quite nifty when it is complete.

You can listen to WNRB live on the web. Yet another service that Northcentral Technical College provides for the station. We said we would like to stream on the internet and they said “sure” and within a week had installed the software and hardware necessary. The stream is a wonderful sounding 128K stream (not so good if you are on dial-up, I am afraid). I am told that in one month we have had over 3000 unique hits on the stream, which is quite amazing.

In addition to our “official” website we do maintain a blog, where we post station information and sometimes show notes.

In a bit of shameless self promotion I will say that I produce and host two shows on WNRB. The first is an enivironmental newsmagazine called “Earthtones” which airs from 10 am to noon (Central US time) on Wednesdays. The second is something completely different. “Slap Happy!” is a music show where I play songs which I hope will slap a silly grin on your face. The Slap Happy! playlists are posted here each week.

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Journey Out to See Sir Douglas

Here is an event that seems to have slipped underneath the radar a little bit. The Wausau Symphony is performing “The Journey of Sir Douglas Fir,” April 28 and 29 at the Grand Theater.

It is the story (originally written by Bill Barnes) of the worlds tallest wooden flagpole, set to music. Actually it is the story of what happens in the woods and how to cope with change. You can read all the background on the Symphony’s webpage. For a lot more information and a sneak peek at the book on which it is based, you can go to Douglas’s own website. Unfortunately the library does not have a copy of the book, so for now a sneak peek will have to do.

Sir Douglas Sneek Peak

Here is the ticket information straight from the Symphony’s website:

Performances of Sir Fir will be April 28th and 29th, 2006. There will be two special performances on Friday, April 28th, at 10 am and 1 pm, specifically geared for school children. Seats are $4 each, and must be reserved and paid for by March 27th, 2006 to guarantee availability. We will also be performing Sir Fir as a part of the Wausau Symphony and Band’s Saturday, April 29th “Celebrate with the Folks” concert. This performance will also feature a visit from the author, Ric Reitz! Children who attended the Friday’s performance can get in free Saturday night!

You can buy tickets online here. Or you can tool on down to Artsblock and talk to the friendly folks there in person.

A Very Cool Tool

I was looking around for some Wausau links for the site and was digging into the city website.  Well, not too deeply, the link for this was actually on the front page.  It is a link to the county GIS.  "And what is a GIS?" you might rightly ask.

GIS stands for "geographical information system" which at first sounds like a five dollar phrase for "map." In some ways that is true, but it is much more than that.  Essentially a GIS is a map combined with a database.  Information from the database can be overlayed on to a geographical map to produce all kinds of new maps.  If you want to dive into GIS, here is a Wikipedia article to get you started. 

But to see it in action you can go to the county system here.  

What you will find is that you can take a county or city map and overlay lots of interesting things such as, city council districts, school districts, parks, zip codes and even elevation.  So at a glance you can find out where the kids in your neighborhood go to school and how far up or down the bus has to go to get there.

This is a very nice way to get some baseline information about the neighborhood you live in. 

Hello Wausau and Central Wisconsin

In an effort to more localize my thinking and writing, I have started a blog about my adopted hometown, Wausau, Wisconsin.  It is a wonderful place to live, work, play, and raise a family.  But those of you who live here already know that.  

I am trying something different here and soliciting different people to contribute to the blog and make it a true community effort.  I have never organized something like this, so we will see how it works.  Fortunately on the technical side, WordPress gives wonderful tools for such a collaborative effort.

It should be very interesting to see what we come up with in this space, so keep checking back!