Pressroom Podcast

Tune in every Wednesday to hear Duluth News Tribune reporters Brady Slater, Christa Lawler and Tom Olsen talk with local guests about music, shipwrecks, giant ducks, politics, food and more.
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May 16, 2018

Jim Paine had been mayor of Superior for just over a year when a fire and series of explosions at the Husky Energy refinery forced the evacuation of a large portion of the city. This week, we sit down with Paine to discuss the events of that day in detail, what led to the decisions that were made, and whether or not he has any regrets about how things were handled. 

May 9, 2018

Because of our nature, we don't look up. And because of our technology, we often are looking down. However, News Tribune photo editor and amateur stargazer Bob King believes we should spend more time looking at the night sky. And this week he joins us to talk about some of the things up above us that everyone should seek out.

King's latest book, "Wonders of the Night Sky You Must See Before You Die: The Guide to Extraordinary Curiosities of Our Universe," details more than 50 such bucket-list wonders. Get a taste of them here.

May 2, 2018

This is one rowdy episode.

Musicians Tony Bennett and Mat Milinkovich of The Dames, a band that’s older than Homegrown Music Festival, join us this week to talk about the festival and the evolution of the Duluth music scene, all the while dropping truth bombs and stabs of inappropriate humor. Oh, and get this: Milinkovich has never in his life drunk a big glass of milk.

What we’re into this week: Bob Dylan’s “Time Out Of Mind” album, training for the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon and getting back to drumming after breaking a thumb.

Tune in every week to hear News Tribune reporters Brady Slater, Christa Lawler and Tom Olsen talk about current Duluth and Northland happenings. You can email us at or follow us on Facebook. This podcast is produced by Barrett Chase.

Apr 25, 2018

It's his gain, but our loss. Beloved News Tribune outdoors reporter and columnist Sam Cook is retiring after 38 years at the DNT. 

Sam joins us this week to look back a bit at the highlights of his career, but also to look ahead at how he's going to spend his time now that he doesn't have to fill the Sunday outdoors section of our newspaper every week.


Apr 18, 2018

What exactly is “affordable” housing, and what’s wrong (and right) with the housing in Duluth?

This week Jeff Corey, executive director of One Roof Community Housing, joins us to talk about Duluth’s aging housing stock, helping the homeless population and the renovation of Gateway Tower.

Oh, and here’s something you might not know: Corey is into skiing, biking and trail running — even though he is legally blind.

What we are into this week: Streaming “Broadchurch” and “Jessica Jones,” reading “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, the podcast “Time Crisis Countdown” and Louise Erdrich’s book, “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.”

Tune in every week to hear Duluth News Tribune reporters Brady Slater, Christa Lawler and Tom Olsen talk about current Duluth and Northland happenings. You can email us at, call our podcast line at (218) 382-NEWS or follow us on Facebook. This podcast is produced by Barrett Chase.

Apr 11, 2018

Amy Abts has released her first solo album after a 17-year hiatus. Why the wait? Well, the two brain surgeries for starters. The deafness, the wrist tumor. And the ongoing pain associated with with trigeminal neuralgia, also known as "the suicide disease."

But this podcast is no downer. Abts is somewhat of a comedian, as well as a visual artist, an actor and, yes, a former mime. Hear her tell her story as well as perform the title track off her new album, "Fifty-Fifty."

Apr 4, 2018

The UMD Bulldogs are once again headed to the Frozen Four. 

We sat down with senior wing and captain Karson Kuhlman of Esko and senior center Jared Thomas of Hermantown to talk about the tournament, as well as what it's like to play for the team you grew up watching.

The Frozen Four begins Thursday, April 5, 2018 in St. Paul. The Bulldogs take on Ohio State at 5 p.m.

Visit (or buy a newspaper!) to read daily Frozen Four coverage throughout the week.


Mar 28, 2018

Duluth is full of young entrepreneurs making their mark on this city. And Rachelle Rahn is no exception. 

Rahn, owner of Duluth Kombucha, started making the popular fermented tea in her kitchen when buying it in the store became too expensive. She never thought it would grow into a business with big plans for the future. 

Rahn give us a lesson on kombucha, its mother SCOBY and what it takes to be an entrepreneur in Duluth. She also shares some of her favorite (and least favorite) flavor combos. 

Mar 21, 2018

Named the Rising Star of the Year at the 2018 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, Dan Hartman, director of Duluth's Glensheen Historic Estate, joins the podcast this week to talk about how he turned an old mansion along Lake Superior into a fun place where people want to hang out.

He and his team have taken Glensheen from 61,000 visitors a year to 141,000 and the mansion is now the number one visited house museum in the Midwest, beating out Chicago last year. 

Hartman shares his ideas for the future of Duluth tourism as well as a few instances where he was spooked by unexplainable happenings at the mansion. 

Mar 14, 2018

Shortly after being diagnosed in August, right before the school year, with an aggressive form of breast cancer, Cloquet High School art teacher Julie Deters turned to Facebook and put herself out there with her cancer journey. 

"I'm a teacher. I've been teaching for 26 years and it is in me to teach people so that's why I guess I put it out there ultimately," Deters said. 

The most noticeable posts where the photos her daughter Sylvie took of the various hairstyles Deters tried out while her hair started to fall out due to chemotherapy treatments. And when the maroon mohawk made its final appearance, Sylvie shaved her mother's head and covered the blank canvas with henna tattoos and makeup.

Hear Deters talk about her journey and the life lessons she has learned along the way - the most important being learning how to accept and receive help from people. 

Mar 7, 2018

Even if you aren't a cross country skiing fan chances are you still heard Chad Salmela's famous gold medal call during the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

While he declined to replicate the "Here comes Diggins" call for us, Duluth's Salmela did give us some behind-the-scenes info on the race that made Minnesotan Jessie Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall the first U.S. gold medalists in the team sprint, male or female.

Salmela, cross country coach at St. Scholastica, shares what it was like to be a part of that historic race and how it feels to be compared to Al Michaels' "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" call from 1980.

Reach out to us at 

Feb 28, 2018

Another podcast first happening this week - recording in front of a live audience. 

Journalism students from the University of Minnesota Duluth joined us as we recorded today's episode with artist and musician Emma Rustan, better known as Ingeborg von Agassiz.

Hear how the electronic folk singer/songwriter came up with her name, what inspires her, and what the backstories are to a few of the songs on her debut album "O, giver of Dreams," which will be released on Spotify and iTunes on March 1. 

Feb 21, 2018

She is an activist to keep factory farms away from Lake Superior, she wrote a cookbook based from her blog and she drove all the way from Bayfield to the "big city" to tell us about her interesting life. 

This week Mary Dougherty talks about her advocacy (which has now led to a career), how her family of seven ended up in the small town of Bayfield, and how her first cookbook "Life in a Northern Town," which offers a mix of essay about the south shore, along with vivid photography and lots of recipes came to be. 

Feb 14, 2018

Jody Kujawa's life changed after playing a 600-pound shut-in in Renegade's production of "The Whale." He started to notice that some of his own symptoms matched those of the ailing protagonist.

Sure enough, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that has changed his life.

Hear Kujawa talk about the day he was in the emergency room with ten doctors surrounding him and the changes he has made since that day to his diet and lifestyle in order to drop over 100 pounds. 

Feb 7, 2018

In case you missed it, there was a big football game in Minneapolis this weekend. One of our sports reporters was there to capture the fan experience.

This week, Jon Nowacki talks about the game, the fans, the overall spectacle and of course the food of Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium. 


Jan 31, 2018

After the Minnesota Vikings lost the NFC Championship to the Philadelphia Eagles, local documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz felt like he needed to cheer up his sport-loving friends with the free release of his documentary "Lost Conquest."

His documentary explores Viking culture in Minnesota and the beliefs people have about Vikings having settled here. But archaeologists say it's all folklore and none of it ever happened. 

So really it has nothing to do with the Minnesota Vikings football team, but we're sure you'll find it more entertaining than that game we don't speak of. 

Jan 24, 2018

Back from a month-long stint in Kazakhstan, we catch up with former KBJR investigative reporter and news director Barbara Reyelts to see what retirement looks like for her.

We find out what she was doing halfway around the world, whether or not she misses the news biz and what her biggest pet peeve is about journalists. 

Also, Brady admits the only thing he knows about Kazakhstan is the movie "Borat."



Jan 17, 2018

Not sure how this happened, but for two years in a row we've started out the new year seeing what The Social Animals are up too.

Lead singer Dedric Clark, a Cloquet native, tells us what it was like to go on tour with Dashboard Confessional, The All American Rejects, and also play some shows with Blues Traveler, and The Shins. Clark also shares the story behind the band's new song "Cheer up Charlie." 

The group is also gearing up to play for The Current's 13th Birthday Party on Jan. 19 at First Avenue in Minneapolis. 

Jan 10, 2018

Nathan Holte and Alex Piazza of the Duluth band Alamode join hosts Christa Lawler and Brooks Johnson to talk about the band's debut album "Swell."

The pop/disco/dance/"Slovakian folk" band is shaking things up around the Twin Ports, which has gotten really bluegrass centric. 

Have an idea for the show? Email us at

Jan 3, 2018

Karen Sunderman and Steve Ash of the local PBS affiliate WDSE-WRPT join us to talk about their new show "Making It Up North," which airs January 7. 

The new show features entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and many more who call the Northland home and make a living doing what they love. Sunderman and Ash talk about a few of the people they are following for this series and everyone shares what they would do for a career if they had to give everything up right now. 

Have an idea for the show? Email us at 

Dec 27, 2017

This week we look back at the year's top stories with Duluth News Tribune editor Rick Lubbers.

Some of the top stories are obvious ones, like the allegations against U.S. Senator Al Franken and his resignation, or the October storm that destroyed the Lakewalk, while others are more specific to each reporter. 

Hear Christa, Tom and Brady share their personal favorite, or most memorable, stories from 2017, while Rick shares the many changes the paper underwent this past year. 

What stories stuck out to you? Let us know at

Dec 20, 2017

Katie Danielson and Stacey Achterhoff work with homeless youth in the Duluth School District every day. 

Last year, Danielson said 488 youth in the school district were homeless. Achterhoff has 49 students along at Myers-Wilkins Elementary that are homeless this school year. 

The two educators explain what their days look like working with homeless youth, what types of services they provide to the children and their families and how they keep the kids school lives as normal as possible. 


Dec 13, 2017

In November, Renee Van Nett was the first female Native American elected to the Duluth City Council.

"I didn't even think about that part until somebody said it publicly in that language and I thought, 'Oh, really?' " said Van Nett. "It's an honor and I totally dig it, but I'm focused on getting things done."

We catch up with her to see how she is preparing to take her seat on the council representing Duluth's 4th District. Van Nett shares her top priorities and how her Native American culture will help her to understand the people of her district, which included Duluth Heights, Piedmont Heights, Lincoln Park and part of West Duluth. 

Dec 6, 2017

He's been called "The straw that stirs the drink" in Duluth's music scene.

Bob Monahan, aka Duluth's Music Mayor, visits with News Tribune reporters to talk abut the Twin Ports music scene, his music venue The Red Herring and his newest hostel venture.

Not the horror movie, the trendy European way of exploring a new city without having to spend most of your money on a hotel instead of food and experiences. 

Monahan describes what his hostel will look like, what it will feature and who he expects to attract as customers. 

Nov 29, 2017

Duluth folk musician Charlie Parr, known for his guitar playing and authenticity, recently released his 14th record.

"It didn't feel good, but it was something that I needed to say. So that's exactly what this record is about," said Parr about his new album "Dog," which addresses his battle with depression and mental health. 

"It's cathartic for sure. I'm glad it's out of me. ... It's not as therapeutic as I'd like it to be." 

Parr shares what it's like to be a "hobo" on the road eating beans off the hood of his van and what he enjoys most about being home when he's not on tour. 


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