Icebox Radio Theater

News, events and doings surrounding the Icebox Radio Theater of International Falls, Minnesota.

Monday, September 21, 2009


You remember your first apartment? Ours (my wife’s and mine, that is) was a tiny little crook in the wall with one of those accordion sliding walls for a bedroom door, and three large windows that looked directly out onto an alley, the top of the car port, and then right into the apartment next door which seemed, at times, to only be six or seven feet away. This being a college town, there was no end of drama in that apartment next door, and my wife and I spent much of our first three months of marriage trying to figure out exactly what the relationships were between the two men and one woman who lived across that alley. Diane and I have lived in many places since then, but I’ll always have fond memories of that first place.

And now, the Icebox Radio Theater has a place as well, and it’s every bit as funky and quirky as that apartment with a view from long ago. I’m writing this in the basement of Backus Community Center, a 70-year-old building that served International Falls as a junior high until a few short years ago. Our new home is in the basement; a room marked ‘Health Room’. I do not know if Health Class was taught here, or if it served as some sort of early weight room, but it was a challenge to convert this space from its former use to ours.

About two weeks ago, several brave volunteers began moving our equipment, a lot of donated carpet, Styrofoam and cardboard egg crates into the room. Along the way we picked up a few tables, chairs and music stands (it’s amazing what you can scrounge around the basement of an 70-year-old building) and benefited tremendously by the generosity of the building’s management who allowed us to use the old fly curtains from the auditorium stage as sound insulation.

Last week, our good friends the Erwin’s came in to record ‘Cass and Lol’, our first play to be recorded here. Things basically went off without a hitch. There is still a little more echo than I’d like, but we’re working on it.

The attached photos are of the actor’s area (basically finished) and the control table (look, already a mess!) The next task will be shaping a sound effects area out of the rubble of all our other projects. We still have hopes for a comfy green room area, but are waiting on some donations, namely a few furnishings. Oh my kingdom for couch!

Yesterday, my daughter and I ran internet cable to the room, so we can now broadcast from this space, as well as record. The whole project is really coming together, so stay tuned for more. Keep Listening!

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

I sit wearily typing this as summer officially comes to an end. A wonderful, marvelous team of people gathered today to begin the process of turning a large, very noisy room (the picture at right is the blank canvas stage) into a recording studio. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I think we’re on our way. I’ve always wanted a playground on which to play, and I can see it coming together in the next few days. There’s still a few things the room needs. Our Green Room area (a place for actors to hang out between takes) is a little bare of furniture, as we were hoping someone would offer up a old couch or two and no one did. I still have hope and know that this funky little space will help us create great things, and maybe even become a comfortable hangout, besides.
Some more nice news: Radio Poplar, an online station in the England that started out life as a service for a hospital in Leeds, will be airing three of our plays during the Christmas season. We’re very proud to know that more folks in the U.K. will find out about the Northland’s stories. Their website is
Well, that’s about all the gas in the tank. The first shows from our new studio are due in October, so stay tuned, and Keep Listening!