As a way to benefit 103.7 The Connection radio station, “The Christmas Stories Tour” featuring Christian contemporary singer-songwriter Jason Gray will make its way to Dickinson in early December.

Gray, along with his son Kipper, are scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Evangelical Bible Church in Dickinson. In conjunction with the holiday concert, there will also be a silent auction featuring items donated by local businesses and baked goods.

General Manager Heidi Larson of 103.7 The Connection sat down with The Press to share what this concert means for the radio station.

“We’re so excited. Jason is so loved in this area,” Larson said, adding that this will mark the sixth time Gray has performed in Dickinson. “... I’ve never personally seen his Christmas concert, but if it’s anything like the rest of his concerts, it’s going to be amazing. Jason has a unique way of bringing you in and feeling a part of (something that’s) a little bit more intimate, and you’re a part of listening to a story versus just being up there and entertaining you. So yeah, we’re super excited and we’re so thankful for it to have sponsors that have come forward and helped us underwrite some of the cost of Jason.”

Before it was a Christian-genre radio station, The Connection was 103.3 and it was mostly a talk radio station. In March of 2018, those running the radio station decided to take a turn and focus the format to contemporary Christian music, Larson said.

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“First of all, our goal is to bring hope and encouragement to the community... So that's our primary point is just to bring the gospel to the Dickinson area,” Larson said. “But in addition to that, we're bringing the funds to help our radio station keep going. We're solely dependent on donations and events. We don't do advertising; we can't do advertising because of our license and we don't really want to. We want to be able to give more music, more programming, more encouragement and make this about Dickinson. But in order to do that, we have to raise funds to continue our ministry here in Dickinson.”

Heidi Larson is the general manager of 103.7 The Connection in Dickinson and has served that role since June of 2021. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
Heidi Larson is the general manager of 103.7 The Connection in Dickinson and has served that role since June of 2021. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Larson came on full-time as the office manager in February of 2020. Then this past June, Larson took over as general manager.

“It's just been amazing to see how God is using this little radio station on the prairie to minister to people,” she noted. “The timing of when I came on was right before the pandemic and we learned in 2020 how radio can be used to reach our community. When we’re told we have to stay at home (and) we can't be with each other, you can still turn on the radio and hear somebody.”

The station centers its goal on bringing all denominations of Christianity to the airwaves in a 25-mile radius, Larson said, adding that the message is to connect people with the gospel.

“I’m native to Dickinson, and so I have a heart for this community. In a time where you hear so much negativity and you hear so much division, we can give them the hope that is found in Jesus. We can care about Dickinson and that’s what makes us one of the things that make us unique. We’re not a satellite station that gets fed to 10 to 12 other stations in the area. We’re around here,” she added.

Not only will Gray’s concert be "inspiring and uplifting," it’s a way to support local media, Larson added.

“I think it's a great time to just be refreshed. In the hustle and bustle of Christmas, we're being pulled in so many directions. We just need to be reminded of why we celebrate Christmas — it's the birth of Christ,” she said, adding, “And Jason has a very unique way of presenting anything to do with his songs or the gospel, but he will be recounting the Christmas story in his own Jason way.”

In the future, Larson said she hopes the radio station can continue hosting community events and partnering with local churches and nonprofits.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. VIP tickets, which includes a meet and greet with Gray and a preferred seating section, are $25 and may only be purchased in advance. For VIP attendees, doors will open at 5 p.m. For general admission, doors will open at 6:15 p.m. To purchase tickets ahead of time, call 701-483-1037 or visit 1037theconnection.com.