To Coin A Phrase – It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

It was 20 years ago today that AM1280 The Patriot – the station that I’ve been on for the last 17 years – changed to its current, conservative talk format.

For starters, if you’ve followed the history of AM radio in the Twin Cities (as one does), that’s a pretty amazing number. The 1280 kHz frequency was one of the first ever assigned in the Twin Cities – but in the decade and a half between my moving to the Twin Cities and March 19, 2001, probably changed formats, and often owners, at least annually. Business (several times), R&B (a couple), Classic Rock, Oldies (at least one), and even Dance music (in the early ’90s, almost as a “pirate” operation – the 1280 frequency seemed to be a metaphor for the ongoing collapse of the AM radio band

Then Salem – which had been running Christian-format radio for some time – bought the 1280 (and its sister station, AM980, which went through almost as many gyrations as the 1280 over the previous couple of decades), and converted it over to what was a new format for them, conservative talk.

And two weeks shy of three years later, they took perhaps an even bigger flyer – putting a bunch of local bloggers, only one of whom had ever done commercial radio (and one other, student radio) on the air to do a weekly weekend show. That’s where I come in.

So it’s an unbelievable story nested inside another unbelievable story – a bunch of guys doing a grass-roots talk show on a station that managed to stake out a piece of wan, forgotten turf in a crowded radio landscape, with both managing to hack out an enduring piece of Twin Cities media mindshare.

To celebrate, we’ll be doing a special (deep breath) four hour NARN tomorrow, featuing just about everyone that’s ever been on the show: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey, King Banaian, Briand “Saint Paul” Ward, “Chad the Elder” and Brad Carlson, along with a few of our former producers (Tommy Huynh, Jon Osburne and The Consigliere).

Hope you can tune in! It’s going to be just as mad and chaotic as those first couple years of shows were!

See you then, 1-5PM tomorrow!

That NARN Malarkey? C’mon, Man…

Today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network:

  • Lacy Johnson, GOP candidate to replace Ilhan Omar in the Fifth Congressional District.
  • Jason Lewis, candidate to replace Tina Smith in the US Senate.

I’ll be on from 1-3PM. You can find the show on:

Or use your favorite streaming apps!

Join us at 651-289-4488, or on Twitter at #NARNShow.

When Making Your Plans For This Evening

Busy night tonight. Here’s what’s going on.

Jason Lewis – Second Amendment Virtual Town Hall. I’ll be MC-ing a virtual town hall with US Senate candidate Jason Lewis at 6PM tonight. You can register for it here.

Every election is important for Second Amendment supporters. But this one is particularly fraught. On the one hand, support for gun rights was growing, perhaps virally, even before the Blue City Plague and the Democrat Riots. The number of undecideds, newbies and leftists who’ve strapped up in the past seven months should change

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Debate – After that, join Brad Carlson, the staff of AlphaNews, and me on AM1280 at 8PM for an hour of talk about the latest in MInnesota and national campaign talk, in what has been an amazingly turbulent week.

It’s a good day to be an extrovert!

I Heard It On The NARN

Doug Willletts is running for MN Senate in SD51 against Sandy Masin.

John Lott’s Newsweek article and RCP piece. Here’s the Crime Prevention Research Center.

And Diane Napper is running for the MN State Senate in SD63 against Patricia Torres Ray.

By the way, I specifically and explicitly offer equal time – let’s call it a “challenge to take the equal time” – to Senators Torres Ray and Masin.

I Heard It On The NARN

Here’s the link to the Free Minnesota Coalition. The Government Oppression Hotline is (844) RIGHTS-0 (which is 1-844-744-4870, if you prefer. They want to file a case next week, so get on board fast if you’ve got a case – or would like to donate money or (if you’re a lawyer) time.

Here are the twitter links to the two CDC studies on Covid transmission:

This one was from last week – a CDC article about a study in Hong Kong.

This one came out this morning – in re an outbreak in a call center in South Korea.

Finally – “How Cowardice and Class Privilege Shift Shift Support for Coronavirus Lockdowns”.

I Heard It On The NARN

Diane Napper is running for MN State Senate in SD63 . Check out her website. Help out if you can.

And if I can’t convince you to “socially distance” yourself for the duration of the public health crisis, hopefully this excellent article will. It’s a long, it’s a long, technical read – but the uphot is, the difference between a flu-like .5% death rate, and Italy/Iran/Wuhan-like 3-6%, is keeping the rate of infections down to what the health system can handle. That means lowering the number of infections at any given time, so the heatlh care system can keep up.

It’s literally a matter of life and death.

Wash your hands – often. Wash down surfaces. Don’t sneeze on people – sneeze into a hanky or your elbow or anything but open air. Enjoy some alone time. Stay home from work if you can, and keep your distance if you can’t.

Sweet Sixteen

My first radio “career” started when I was 15, and ended sometime around age 29.  It led me through jobs at a bunch of radio stations – KEYJ and KQDJ in Jamestown and KDAK in Carrington North Dakota, then KQDJ again. 
And at age 22, I figured that’d be pretty much it.  I was tired of spinning records, and didn’t see much future doing radio news.  
Then, of course, I moved to the Cities, and fell into a job – KSTP-AM – and, more importantly, a format, talk radio, that was just…
…me.   In some ways, that two year job was not just my indelible first work experience out of college, but almost the first real all-consuming love of my life.   I produced comedy (the Don Vogel show), sports (Minnesota North Stars, Minnesota Strikers and the State Hockey Tournament network), and of course my own show, from 2-4AM weekday mornings, a testimony to management’s confidence in their relentlessly-ambitious newbie.  
That ended, of course – followed by jobs at KDWB AM/FM, WDGY and KFAI. 
And then…nothing.  
And then 12 more years of nothing.   
Well, not “nothing”, per se – I had had a couple kids, started a new career and then another, got divorced, moved on with life.  
And then, via a confluence of meetings and opportunities almost too improbable to recite, I wound up back in…
…well, not “the radio business”, per se.   Radio was always a lousy field, one of few fields in modern business that couldn’t afford to razz the popular music industry’s ethics.  
I wound up back in the fun part of radio – talking over the air to people for fun, a little money and, most important of all in these fractious times, a voice.    For me and, I’d like to think, a lot of people like me who – perhaps counterintuitively for a political talk show host – hate politics, but know we’ve got to keep a toe in it anyway, since it’s going to affect you whether you’re resplendently above it all or not.  
Anyway, that confluence of events led to the first ever Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast, sixteen years ago today on AM1280 in the Twin Cities.   And pretty much every Saturday afternoon since then.  
And I need to thank everyone involved; in AM1280’s operations manager at the time, Patrick Campion, for taking that crazy idea and running with it; with general manager John Hunt for OKing it; with GM Nik Anderson and ops manager Lee Michaels for keeping us on the air all these years.  
To a couple generations of producers who made us sound good – from the late Joe Hanson, through Matt Reynolds, Tommy Huynh, Irina Malanina, Megan Fatale, the Consigliere, and for the past couple years Terminator N.  
And of course, to the guys:   Atomizer (for that first day, and that first day only), JB Doubtless, Scott Johnson, Michael Brodkorb, Brian “Saint Paul” Ward, Chad “The Elder” Doughty, John Hinderaker, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey and, for the past eight years, Brad Carlson.  
And especially everyone that’s been tuning in all these years.  Thanks!
And yeah, we’re gonna have that tenth anniversary party.