A hometown gal

Sarah Jackson and Lee Valsvik
Sarah Jackson and Lee Valsvik. Photo by Tracy Walsh

Isn’t it nice, in this age of presidential tweets and endless Facebook feeds, to bask in the simplicity of turning on the radio and hearing a voice you know? 

While social media has been a widespread phenomenon for only a decade or so, radio has been with us for nearly a century.

We don’t need to scroll. We just have to listen to songs, stories and more.

Radio allows us to be an audience, not merely consumers. 

And that’s why I’m so delighted that one of the Twin Cities’ favorite local voices is on our cover this month: Lee Valsvik! 

Who is this radio — and TV — star with the beaming smile?

Not many folks can work in both those genres, but Valsvik, a Minnesota native and a longtime resident, seems to do it with ease with her time at KOOL 108 on weekdays and KARE 11 on Saturday mornings. 

Even after decades in the business, her energy level is off the charts. 

And that grin? It’s still beaming on TV while she gamely tries new things like roller skiing, riding a three-wheeled motorcycle or meeting baby lambs at the Minnesota State Fair. 

Sure, she’s only 59, but she’s had to navigate midlife and evolve with the times, too, including her own Twitter feed that’s full of her digital work — on-the-scene selfie videos, product endorsements and retweets of her favorite local events like the Gophers’ epic win against Penn State. (Go, Gophs!) 

And she’s done it all while raising two kids, now age 18 and 19, whom she adopted with her wife, Holly Boyer. 

In her spare time, Valsvik uses her celebrity status for good as a frequent emcee at charity events for Stillwater public schools, Youth Advantage and others.

Retirement, she said, isn’t on her radar: In fact, she wants to be the “Betty White of Minnesota media.” (White, still working as an actress, turns 98 next month.) 

I hope you enjoy Valsvik’s mini life story in this issue and then, sometime, maybe while you’re in the car, you’ll notice the warmth of her voice on the radio and know you’re hearing the words of a hometown gal.

We’re lucky to have her.