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One of the things I’ve often wondered about over the past 24 years as a journalist is how cool it would be if, instead of readers just getting a glimpse of the most compelling conversations I’ve had with folks in southern Minnesota, they could actually hear the whole thing.

Well, that’s what’s happening with our newest feature called FreepCast.

Launched a few months ago, FreepCast is our new podcast that has a very simple premise: Deep conversations with some of the most interesting people in southern Minnesota.

We kicked it off a few months ago with our inaugural guest, Billy Steiner. We followed up with a series of guests who have both surprised and delighted me.

So I just wanted to use this space to plug those conversations. If you’re like me, and you like deeper conversations that go beyond what we can print in the newspaper, then check out FreepCast.

If you’ve never listened, here are some things you’ve missed:

■ Billy Steiner, the rock of the Mankato band City Mouse, talked about the nascent days of his music career at Backlund’s music store in Mankato.

■ Tim Lind and Shelley Pierce, hosts of the Shuffle Function morning show on KMSU, told the story of how they met at Barnes and Noble, how they developed their idea for a radio show, and they became the kind of show that could get “the Johns” from They Might Be Giants to come to Mankato.

■ Artist Michael Cimino told us about how the disdain from a friend’s dad toward his career choice solidified his decision to pursue art (or, in his words, f*%&ing art).

■ Musician Erik Koskinen told us the story of being the house band at Nye’s Polonaise Room in Minneapolis, which at the time had been given the distinction from Esquire Magazine as being the best bar in American. Packed houses, good times.

■ Free Press hockey writer Shane Frederick got us ready for the NCAA hockey playoffs by giving us the inside scoop on the Minnesota State University men’s hockey team.

■ Former Free Press journalist and musician Joe Tougas told us the story of meeting Frank Zappa, and how his entrepreneurial venture to start a beer fest was sabotaged by an inebriated Marshall Tucker Band.

■ Radio host Cari Moriarty from Hot 96.7 gave us some behind-the-scenes scoops about modern radio, and told us about some of the creeps that inevitably rear their heads to female radio hosts.

■ Eric Jones, co-director of the Mankato Civic Center, told us the story of James Taylor doing his own laundry backstage after his Mankato concert. Jones also told us about how his college-era band, Howard’s Hair, came close to making it big.

■ And Dinah Langsjoen, in addition to telling tales of religious cults, talked about the artwork that grabbed my attention (and $50) in the first place. She also was very candid about her cancer diagnosis, and about how supportive her family and friends have been as she enters a scary and uncertain time.

So my point, you guys, is that there are great conversations just waiting in your podcast feed for you to discover. The goal has been to give you access to the people as we, as journalists, get them. And it’s happening. So check it out.

Robb Murray is the Features Editor for The Free Press. He can be reached at 344-6386 or rmurray@mankatofreepress.com. Follow Robb on Twitter @FreePressRobb

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Features Editor, Mankato Free Press Associate Editor, Mankato Magazine