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Forum staff reports, Published December 13 2012

New radio show to focus on North Dakota legislative session

BISMARCK – A new media company is set to unveil a daily radio show that will focus squarely on the goings-on at the North Dakota Legislature.

“The Legislature Today” will debut Jan. 7, the night before the Legislature convenes for its next session.

Those involved in the new venture say the show will air live Monday through Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. on KFYR Radio in Bis-marck.

Affiliates include AM 1100 “The Flag” in Fargo and KTGO AM 1090 in Tioga and Williston, which covers North Dakota’s Oil Patch.

Dale Wetzel, who resigned this week from his job as state Capitol reporter for The Associated Press, will host the show.

Wetzel has covered four governors and 13 sessions of the Legislature since he joined the AP in 1984.

He is now a partner in a new media venture affiliated with Bakken Beacon Media LLC, of Fargo, 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, host of a conservative radio talk show in Fargo.

“The Legislature Today” is part of a media project that will include websites and the Great Plains Examiner, a recently acquired newspaper based in Bismarck.

Wetzel will develop 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.

“We look at this as an historic opportunity to deliver news that’s important to North Dakotans at a time that’s a crossroads in the history of the state,” Emineth said in a release.

Organizers of the radio show say it will feature discussions of what’s going on in the Legislature and include all political perspectives.

“This is a venture that’s going to focus on news and issues,” Wetzel said in the release. “It is not some Republican propaganda project. If it were, I wouldn’t be part of it.

“For one thing,” he added, “nobody would listen to a show like that. It wouldn’t be good business, and it would be boring.”

“The Legislature Today” will broadcast from the Peacock Alley, a bar and restaurant in downtown Bismarck that is a popular spot for legislators from both parties.

The Legislature 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 what the Legislature is up to, and how their tax dollars are being spent,” Wetzel said. “And we’re going to have some fun.”