A new media company is launching a daily radio show that will focus on the issues, disputes and foibles of the North Dakota Legislature.
The Legislature Today will debut at 7 p.m. Jan. 7, the night before the 2013 Legislature convenes. It will be the only show of its kind in North Dakota. It will be broadcast live, Monday through Thursday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., on flagship KFYR Radio of Bismarck, N.D. Other affiliates will include AM 1100 “The Flag” in Fargo and KTGO AM 1090, which covers northwestern North Dakota’s oil country.
Former Associated Press state Capitol reporter Dale Wetzel will host the show. Wetzel has covered four governors and 13 sessions of the Legislature since he joined the AP in September 1984. He resigned from the news agency this week to become a partner in a new media venture affiliated with Bakken Beacon Media LLC, of Fargo, N.D.
The show is part of a media project that will include the radio show, websites, and the Great Plains Examiner, a recently acquired Bismarck-based newspaper. Wetzel will be developing content for the radio show, the newspaper, websites and other North Dakota media affiliates. The company intends to expand to other ventures in the coming months.
Bakken Beacon Media LLC is a group whose leadership includes Wetzel; Gary Emineth, a Bismarck businessman and entrepreneur and former chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party; and Scott Hennen, a Fargo radio talk show host.
“We look at this as an historic opportunity to deliver news that’s important to North Dakotans at a crossroads in the history of the state,” Emineth said.
The show will feature discussions of what’s going on in the Legislature and how it affects North Dakotans. It will include all political perspectives, including some that are seldom heard in the North Dakota media.
“This is a venture that’s going to focus on news and issues. It is not some Republican propaganda project. If it were, I wouldn’t be part of it,” Wetzel said. “For one thing, nobody would listen to a show like that. It wouldn’t be good business. “
The show will be broadcast from the Peacock Alley, a bar and restaurant in downtown Bismarck, N.D., that has a rich political history of its own. It is a popular spot for legislators from both parties, and the Legislature itself used the building for meetings when the state Capitol burned and was rebuilt in the early 1930s.
“We think this venture will provide more information for North Dakotans about how their tax dollars are spent,” Wetzel continued. “And we’re going to have some fun doing it.”