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Terry Vandrovec column: Stations fill airwaves with football

Jim Birkemeyer is out to make small-town radio a big-time production. "If ESPN Radio or those people can be calling in and doing (live) reports we sure can, too," he explained. "So that's what we do." And they, Birkemeyer and his gang of roving r...

Jim Birkemeyer is out to make small-town radio a big-time production.

"If ESPN Radio or those people can be calling in and doing (live) reports we sure can, too," he explained. "So that's what we do."

And they, Birkemeyer and his gang of roving reporters, do it from Ada (KJRB 106.3) and Mahnomen (KJRM 101.5).

Each Friday the twin stations -- Birkemeyer is co-owner of each plus one in Mayville, N.D. -- air live broadcasts of at least two prep football games, complete with sideline reporters and postgame interviews. Meanwhile, two satellite correspondents attend other contests and call in to the stations with live updates. Further info is relayed via listeners at yet other locations.

That's eight personalities, at least six games and a Saturday morning coaches show. Every week.

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With volleyball games between.

"I just believe to get out and do the coverage," said Birkemeyer, in his third decade in radio. "You obviously want to be professional and get out to as much as you can because people are interested in the area."

The interested area includes folks along Highway 10 to Highway 59 and north to Clearbrook-Gonvick.

With such a broad coverage area, the stations provide hometown coverage without a homer slant.

"It's very positive (feedback), and obviously it's also business driven," said Birkemeyer, who will call the Ada-Borup at Ulen-Hitterdal game this Friday. "It's a credit to the businesses and the people of the communities that sponsor it. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them."

Perham wins at Eden Prairie

It's tradition in Perham: 16 consecutive Heart O' Lakes Conference volleyball titles and meager success at the Eden Prairie Invitational.

"We usually go there expecting to come home with a couple of losses because of the size of the teams and chalk it up to experience," third-year Yellowjackets coach Dan Christenson said.

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It was an experience, all right.

Perham (6-0) won the thing Saturday, going 4-0 with victories over Minnetonka, St. Peter, Alexandria and Eden Prairie, ranked No. 7 in Class 3A and No. 38 in one national poll.

The Yellowjackets, who graduated one reserve from the 2002 squad and is ranked No. 9 in Class 3A, lost one game along the way.

"Things that let us down last year, especially toward the end, were blocking and coverage," said Christenson, whose squad is led by returning all-HOL performers Kari Satter, Maria Spencer and Jackie Bucholz.

"Those are things that those kids did really well last week. So I'd like to think they picked it up where they left off last year on the defensive end."

Something else

Moorhead is ranked No. 7 in the latest Class 2A boys cross country team poll, while senior Ben Klungtvedt is No. 6 individually. ... Deb Thompson of Park Rapids and Gabriele Anderson of Perham hold the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, in the Class 1A girls cross country poll. ... Fergus Falls senior receiver Luke Schalekamp caught six passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns, all from senior quarterback Brandon Carr, in Friday's 22-19 season-opening victory against St. Cloud Apollo.

Readers can reach Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548 or tvandrovec@forumcomm.com

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