In 2009, Main Street Calumet, a nonprofit organization, initiated a one-hour episode of The Red Metal Radio Show (RMRS) The live radio-theater transported present-day visitors and local residents to the streets of Calumet a century ago. The program was performed at the historic Calumet Theatre during the Calumet Heritage Celebration (August 2009) and aired live over Eagle Radio. The first show was written by Darlene Basto and Oren Tikkanen who also served as Narrator. Oren took listenrs on an imaginary tour of 1909 Calumet as he interacted with its residents. The show illustrated a range of stories from immigrants of various occupational and ethnic backgrounds while regional musicians performed period music from the new immigrants from Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Scandinavia and Canada.
The Red Metal Radio Show was well supported within the community and with the success of the 2009 performance, the program became a principle feature of the 2010-2013 Calumet Heritage Celebrations. The 2013 show, which covered the 1913 miner's strike, was expanded to two hours.
In 2017, Main Street Calumet and Real People Media revived this program as The Red Jacket Jamboree, an old-time radio variety show featuring stories and songs from the Keweenaw Peninsula. The format of the show was revised to include contemporary sketches surrounded life in Calumet. The first performance took place on October 14th, 2017. With Main Street's assistance, Real People Media was able to take flight with the show the following year. The show now is solely produced by Real People Media.
Visit our "past performances" page to find out about past performances of The Red Jacket Jamboree. See below for information about The Red Metal Radio Show.
Past Show Themes/Participants
2009 Red Metal Radio Show
An imagined walk through Calumet (Red Jacket) in 1909
Written and Produced by Oren Tikkanen and Darlene Basto
Musicians and vocalists
Libby Meyer, Dave Bezotte, Eleanor Taylor, Matt Durocher, Doug Bacon, Deb McDowell, Bob Orton, Marian McKellar, Dan Maki, Melissa Lewis.
Members of the cast
Richard Tuisku aka Dick Storm, Diego Levy, Kristin Tepsa, John Carroll, Glenna Irwin, Ansley Knoch, Mick McKellar, Noah Aschauer, Dave Grahek, Mackenzie Murtomaki, Stan Murtomaki, Pam Pouttu, Babette Jokela, Dan Maki, Ralph Horvath, Johnnie DeBernard, Stan Murtomaki, and Bob Mark.
Audio provided by Jerry Kippola of the Marquette area.
Sound effects by Ken Olkkonen, with help from the Calumet Players.
2010 Red Metal Radio Show
(An imagined Streetcar Ride from Calumet to Hancock)
2011 Red Metal Radio Show
"The Keweenaw According to Mac"
Written by Kris Kyro Johnson and Oren Tikkanen.
Music by Bob Norden’s Parade Band, with Benjie Brotherton on trumpet, clarinetist Debra Zei, drummer Sherrie Pellegrini, Roger Laub on tuba, and Bob Norden on trombone. Dave Bezotte, the stage pianist, sang a song based on Keweenaw history. Also, RMRS regulars Melissa Lewis and Doug Bacon will perform some songs from the days of old-time radio.
Oren Tikkanen, producer and co-host of the RMRS, says that the 2011 show, "The Keweenaw according to Mac" is based on the book, Keweenaw Character, by the late local historian, storyteller, and park designer, David "Mac" Frimodig.
"We looked at Mac’s book, and fell in love with the way he brought out the human experience of living here in the Keweenaw in the old days," Tikkanen explains. "The Frimodig family kindly gave us permission to base the show on Mac’s book, and we have adapted parts of it for radio."
Kris Kyro Johnson -- co-writer of the show’s script, co-host of the program, and featured singer -- adds, "Mac covers many of the communities in the Copper Country and a lot of interesting people, and we had to narrow our choices down. We let Mac guide us to Centennial Heights, Ahmeek, and Gay -- and we learn about Johan Salmela’s accordion, Tootsie the Bear, the Ten-Dollar Baby, silent movies in Ahmeek, and Banjo Jim. We also find out about Francis Jacker, the lighthouse keeper and writer, (and) his Ojibwa wife, Ikwesins; and we hear how Nanabozho, the Ojibwa hero of many legends, gave the porcupine his quills. And much, much more."
2012 Red Metal Radio Show - Keweenaw Humor
Writen by Oren Tikkanen
Performers: Oren Tikkanen joined by local humorists and singers Kris Kyro and Glen Johnson, with music by Dave Bezotte, Tom Hiltunen, and the Backroom Boys Jazz Band
"We’re going to be presenting a great variety of funny stuff," says Tikkanen. "Some of it goes back over 100 years, and some of it is pretty current -- but it all has a local slant. It’s an affectionate look at the funny side of life in the Keweenaw and the UP, from immigrant times to the present."
"Kris and Glen are both very experienced performers and are very funny people," Tikkanen notes. "Dave Bezotte will sing a humorous French-Canadian song, with simultaneous translation. Tom Hiltunen will be singing comic ditties he learned from the great Art Moilanen, and others. We’ll have some original songs and parodies based on historical events. And jokes -- lots of jokes."
Come find out the facts about Heikki and Hilma in the Model T, Cousin Jack's and Cousin Jenny's 50th Anniversary, and Petit-Jean and the bear. Get the whole story about Perrine (the priest's housemaid), and about the Finnish women taking the law into their own hands during the 1872 Calumet strike. Discover for yourself the quick wit of Big Erick Erickson, and the legend of Big Joe Mufferaw (Joseph Montferrand).
2013 Red Metal Radio Show - The Strike
Written and Produced by Oren Tikkanen
Red Metal Radio Show co-hosts Oren Tikkanen and Kris Kyro Johnson offered a dramatic trip into the past with radio "coverage" of the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike. They tell the story of the strike with the help of local actors and actual journalists Dick Storm and Todd Van Dyke. The show was broadcast on K-Bear, WHKB-FM, 102.3 and streamed live on the K-Bear Web site.