Minnesota Military Radio Reflects on 2023

In most cases, it would be an exaggeration to declare every year of an organization’s success an outstanding year. Yet, for Minnesota Military Radio, that declaration seems to be more reality than hyperbole.  

2023 started off on an eventful note, as members of the MMR team went to Norway to capture the stories of the 50th Anniversary of the Norwegian Exchange. While this was not the first time the show had traveled to Norway for the exchange, it was a historic event to capture alongside partners in the Minnesota National Guard, who solidified their 50-year relationship with the Norwegian Home Guard through the Department of Defense State Partnership Program. 

As spring came around, founding host Tom Lyons made an announcement on the program. Until this year, he had been the sole host of the show. In 2024, he will make way for a Veteran of another generation to take the role. Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Doug Wortham, former Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Minnesota National Guard, will take the helm on Memorial Day 2024. 

MMR continued its tradition of recording at special summer events, helping the program stay connected to the community it aims to serve. The Minnesota Military Family Foundation held its 14th annual golf classic, an event that MMR has recorded at since 2011. The program has also been at every Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair since 2011. This year’s theme, Honoring Vietnam Veterans, offered a special thank you and “Welcome Home” to local Vietnam Veterans who served under very different conditions than service members of today.  

In the fall, MMR celebrated both its 13th birthday, and the recording of its 700th show. Director of the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, Patrick Kelly, allowed the MMR team the time and space to record on-site at the Minneapolis VA, as well as participate in a VA-themed 700th episode. Alongside St. Paul Veterans Benefits Administration Director Kim Graves, Tom Lyons and Director Kelly hosted an interview with U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.  

Partnerships are the lifeblood of Minnesota Military Radio. From its inception with sponsorship from iHeart Media Minneapolis to the multiple production partners in the Minnesota National Guard, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. Even further, the show maintains relationships with the Minnesota Association of County Veteran Service Officers, or MACVSO, the Patriot Guard, the Commander’s Task Force and other Veteran Service Organizations.  

Minnesota Military Radio is where all these organization come to share their message and ensure that, through 66 network stations and an online podcast, their messages get to the Veterans, service members, and families who need to hear them.  

While 2023 may be the end of another year, 2024 will be the beginning of a new era for Minnesota Military Radio.  

Story by Army 1st Lt. Linsey Williams

Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs