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Bog Frog Shares Conservation Tips Via Radio
500 Stations Air Area Firm’s Programs

By TERRY MIKELSON
Tempo Correspondent

 

If you are a radio listener anywhere in this county, you’ve probably heard the croaky voice of Bog Frog, ribbit-ribbiting “frog-friendly” conservation-related sound bites over the airways.

            Trumpeting a “conservation pays” motto, Bog Frog programming has been picked up by nearly 500 radio stations nationwide, most of them in small to medium markets, including the lakes area.

            Each program—snippets of get-smart information about living in harmony with the planet’s ecological realities—is written, produced and distributed by a local company that resides in an environmentally friendly geodesic dome east of Brainerd.

            This year, the Water Foundation, Inc. expects to deliver about 4,500 radio programs that will reach millions of listeners with tips and trivia that in the words of founder David Winkelman “will provide practical and positive consumer actions for conservation of natural resources.”

            “The quality of the environment isn’t going to change by on big decision,” he said in a recent interview, “but by billions of little decisions every day, such as what type of bulb to buy or how to fertilize the yard.”

            Marketed under five separate titles, each with its own conservation theme, the programs boast some of the country’s largest corporate sponsors, particularly those with a local retail presence, said Winkelman.

            Names such as Ace Hardware, Archer Daniels Midland, Black & Decker, GE Lamps, Rubbermaid, Honeywell and dozens of other corporate dowagers appear on the programs’ sponsor list.

            The sound bites—60 or 90 seconds in length—can be heard in morning and evening drive times on most stations that carry them, broadcast as promotionals wrapped in entertainment.

            Their targets are the youngest among us—reflecting a catch-them-when-they’re-young approach—and, of course, the deep-pocketed 25-54 audience loved by radio advertisers everywhere.

            All a subset of Bog Frog, a trademarked symbol of the company’s pro-environmental products and services, the programs are packaged as “Outdoor Trivia,” “Frog Friendly Tips,” “Ocean Planet,” “Eco-Auto Tips,” and “Natural Ways.”

            They are produced and licensed for broadcast by the private sector side of the Water Foundation, which also operates as a nonprofit corporation with an international mission:  “We are dedicated to the discovery and preservation of water’s unique benefits,” its promotional literature declares.

            The foundation has spread its wings around the globe, with working partnerships wit scientists and their organizations to “understand water’s complex nature,” Winkelman said.

            Part of the research is conducted in and around the foundation’s Eco-Domes headquarters, built on wooded, wetland acreage with an experimental pond, a few miles south of Highway 18.  Public tours are available.

            Winkelman and his 12-person staff practices what it preaches.  For example, the energy self-sufficient building and the business-oriented conservation philosophy that has inspired Winkelman for nearly three decades won two major awards this year alone:  the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Waste Wise Smart Business Award.

            The radio programming is just one of many elements in Winkelman’s long-term plan to teach the country “how to harmonize with nature.”  On-line newsletters, television programming, community action and education strategies and many other approaches are already in place or in development, Winkelman said.

            The radio programming and all the rest are based on Winkelman’s belief that “conservation pays” and there are profits to be made by those who get on the foundation’s bandwagon.

            And the best way to get the message out, he said, is with an aggressive, grassroots approach with an entertainment component.

            “If you want to get something done, the local community is on of the most effective ways to get it done,” he said, “rather than lobbying for an act of Congress or industry.

            “We’ve found that people in their backyards are willing to reduce pollution, they want to keep their neighborhoods clean,” he added, “and they will be willing to do something if we show them how they can save time and money and resources and at the same time create a more sustainable future.”

            Bog Frog and the company’s other information projects can be reviewed at the firm’s official Web site, bogfrog.com, and tour information is available by calling 764-2321.