Duluth, Minn. – KUMD 103.3 FM’s Lisa Johnson ’83 (broadcast journalism) has received the 2016 Broadcaster of the Year Award from the Association of Minnesota Public Educational Radio Stations (Ampers). Johnson was honored for her accomplishments as KUMD’s Northland Morning host and producer, the job title she has held since 1991. 

During her 25 years with KUMD, Johnson has had a major impact on the success of the station. Through her reporting she has connected the community with important information on local issues and created a greater understanding of the community, preservation of the arts and our environment. Johnson’s ability to immerse herself in the topics she covers has allowed KUMD to develop, produce and air a variety of locally relevant and interesting public affairs programming, including Community Conversations, MN Reads and a series on homelessness in the Northland entitled Finding Home.

Photo courtesy of KUMD
Photo courtesy of KUMD

“Lisa has undertaken the role of educator and publicist for particular issues that greatly affect our community, including environmental and artistic programming, while promoting opportunities for improving social justice and acceptance of others. She connects our listeners with information and special features that are extremely relevant, building a stronger community one interview at a time,” says KUMD Station Manager Vicki Jacoba.

This past year, Johnson initiated and produced two Mental Health Weeks on KUMD, entitled “Change Your Mind: Living with Mental Illness” and “Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Talking about Suicide.” In addition to the two series, KUMD aired numerous public service announcements throughout the year, educating its listeners about depression, suicide and other issues related to mental illness.

As the host of Northland Morning (which airs Monday through Friday from 6-9 a.m.) Johnson has also trained and mentored numerous UMD students in the field of journalism. She has developed a news team, which consists of students interested in working as journalists or news producers. Johnson recruits, selects top applicants and trains up to six students per semester. These hands-on journalistic opportunities have propelled several team members into both radio and television careers, and deepened the knowledge and skills of the participating students.


Ampers represents and serves seventeen community radio stations, including: KUMD in Duluth, Jazz 88, Radio K, KMOJ and KFAI in the Twin Cities, as well as KSRQ, WTIP, KAXE, KVSC, KUMM, KMSU, KBFT, KOJB, KKWE, KQAL, WGZS and WRPR. Each station is locally managed and programmed by and for the local communities they serve. Ampers is the largest network of community radio stations in the state of Minnesota and one of the largest of its kind in the United States. Ampers stations reach from Grand Marais, and Thief River Falls, to Mankato and Winona, and just about everywhere in between.

Ampers member stations produce a variety of programs, documentaries and musical specials on Minnesota’s arts, historical, and cultural heritage. Thanks to funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Ampers stations are able to create more programs and share those offerings with their listeners. More about Ampers can be found at www.ampers.org.