It’s the start of the hour and you’re listening to 99.7 MAX FM on your radio dial in the heart of Baraboo.
It’s the end of the clock and you’re listening to all the hits on 99.7 MAX FM on your radio dial in the heart of Baraboo.
It’s any time. It’s all the time. It’s on the radio dial. It’s on TV43. It’s at the local football game. It’s at this week’s board meeting. It’s at the Christmas parade. It’s 99.7 MAX FM and the heart of it, aside from the community that supports it, is Kory Hartman, its general manager.
“Baraboo is one of a kind,” Hartman said in front of the radio consoles at the Sauk County Innovation Center, where the radio station originates. “Every week we meet amazing people who call the Baraboo area home.”
He is looking forward to meeting others on Monday evening, September 12 at 5 p.m. at the station. There will be an open house where locals can check out the station’s new digital audio equipment, see the construction of its podcast and video studio, and hear about its new second transmitter near Reedsburg on 103.7 FM.
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The station wants to reflect the community because it is part of the community. “We’re all in this together,” Hartman said. “If a local radio station is not about locals, how can it really be a local radio station? »
Hartman, 44, and his family call the area home, and his family can easily remember the station’s call letters because they all work there in one form or another. He’s on the air. His wife is too. His two sons work at the station. The station as a whole has approximately 10 full-time and part-time employees. “The best part of running the station is connecting with the people,” Hartman said.
They connect over the airwaves and online. These waves have flooded Hartman since his youth. As a teenager, he joined a radio station in Iron River, Michigan. He was 15 years old. “I entered,” he said. “And didn’t leave.”
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He hasn’t really left radio and broadcasting since. He became the switchboard operator of this station. Later, he became a set operator for Milwaukee Brewers games. He worked, in part, with the legendary Bob Uecker. He was a storm chaser for Weather Channel.
But he wanted to return to small town radio. He wanted to return to the roots of it: the one in which a stronger community flourishes. An opportunity presented itself to Baraboo. He took over as the resort’s owner in 2017. He said, “I love this area.
Hartman knows it takes more than heart. It takes hard work. COVID-19 has been difficult. With businesses not open in the area and most events cancelled, advertising has dropped significantly. Ninety-nine percent of the station’s funding comes from local advertising. The station survived. Hartman said, “We all want to be here for each other.”
Technology is also a challenge. Internet connectivity is a significant issue. The station uses five internet service providers just to keep the station on the air.
Regardless of the issues, Hartman is dedicated to keeping the station on the air and continuing to be a vital community resource, whether it’s playing Duran Duran tunes, broadcasting a local church service, showing a Wisconsin-based fishing show, cheering on the local football team, or the myriad other ways to be of service to the Baraboo area.
Up the hour, or down, the waves resonate with the Baraboo community. Always that.