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Paul Bunyan Broadcasting: Local radio stations nominated for awards

The National Association of Broadcasters announced this week that two Bemidji radio stations have been named finalists for the NAB Marconi Radio Awards.

KBUN (1450 AM) of Bemidji is one of five finalists for sports station of the year, an award given to one station regardless of market size.

"That category takes in every market," said Lou Buron, station manager and owner of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting with Mary Campbell.

The other nominees for sports station of the year are from Albuquerque, N.M.; Lafayette, La.; Rochester, Minn.; and Buffalo, N.Y.

KBHP (KB101 FM) of Bemidji is one of five finalists for small market station of the year. KFGO-AM of Fargo, N.D., also is a finalist, along with stations from Mountain Home, Ark.; Bloomington, Ill.; and Adrian, Mich.

The Marconi Radio Awards honor radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. The winners will be announced Sept. 24 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held during the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia.

"The Marconi is a very prestigious award," said Buron. "In our business, it's the pinnacle of the awards you can win."

He said no matter the market - large city or small, music, sports or weather - people want to listen to a good radio product.

Buron said in 1989 he and Campbell bought KB101 and KBUN, Bemidji's oldest radio station on air since 1946. Since 1989, Buron and Campbell have added KKZY-FM, KLLZ-FM and WQAX-FM to Paul Bunyan Broadcasting.

He said 80 percent of the people working for the stations in 1989 are still on staff.

"We're fortunate and blessed with the people we have in this radio station," Buron said.

Buron said the nominations also reflect the community involvement of the radio stations. Paul Bunyan Broadcasting hosts the annual Radiothon to Prevent Child Abuse, underwrites the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and holds fundraisers for Lakeland Public Television. When the Paul Bunyan Playhouse was in financial straits a few years ago, Paul Bunyan Broadcasting held a 10-hour live fundraiser that netted $58,000 to support the playhouse.

The award is named for inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi.