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.  

4 thoughts on “Sweet Sixteen

  1. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 03.06.20 : The Other McCain

  2. Congrats on 10 years, Mitch.

    Saturdays are usually pretty hectic for me, so haven’t always been able to tune in, but thanks to iHeart, I’m getting better.

  3. It’s great to have an outlet like that for your interests, and good for us that you do.

    i once described my blog as being the garage band I had always wanted to do – despite the fact that I can’t sing and don’t play an instrument. It’s very satisfying to know you are using your skills and interests to connect with people, and that it resonates.

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