Bog Frog Shares
Conservation Tips Via Radio
500 Stations Air Area Firm’s Programs
By TERRY MIKELSON
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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.