Mike Pengra

Program Director, Host/Radio Heartland
Minnesota Public Radio
(651) 290-1492

Mike came to MPR as a newsroom intern in 1988 and since then has been an audio engineer, mail delivery boy, overnight news host, production manager, program manager and producer with MPR News talk shows Midday and Midmorning. Most recently, Mike produced The Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole. A native Minnesotan, Mike was a touring musician around the Midwest before arriving at MPR and holds a B.A. in Music Education from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Mike Pengra Feature Archive

Molly Venter
New York-based trio Red Molly have enjoyed an 11-year career so far. They'll be taking an hiatus soon, but they stopped by Radio Heartland to perform songs from their latest record, 'The Red Album'. (05/26/2015)
Dan Chouinard and Prudence Johnson perform
The latest project from Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard is a collection of 18 tunes by George Gershwin. Prudence and Dan stopped by the Radio Heartland studio to perform some songs from their new album, <em>Gershwin</em>. (05/21/2015)
A fantastic musician, Rhiannon Giddens is also a great juggler: Fronting the Carolina Chocolate Drops, working with T Bone Burnett on film scores and on 'The New Basement Tapes', plus supporting her new solo album, 'Tomorrow Is My Turn', keeps Giddens busy. 'I am tirelessly promoting this obscure, forgotten music that is worthy of so much love and energy and attention,' she says. Listen to her full in-studio session, hosted by Mike Pengra. (04/28/2015)
Carson McHone got hooked on songwriting while still a high-schooler. She's been touring heavily on the strength of her self-titled EP, and she and her band stopped into the Radio Heartland studio while on tour road-testing songs from a forthcoming album. (04/15/2015)
Karen Choi is a wife, mother and musician. She recorded her first album after having two children and earning a graduate degree. Karen's songs are inspired by everyday life, and she recently stopped by Radio Heartland to play some songs from her debut album, 'Paper Birch'. (04/07/2015)
Trout Steak Revival have had a very good year: They recorded an album funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, won the best band competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and are now on tour supporting their album. Trout Steak Revival stopped at Radio Heartland to record this in-studio performance. (03/31/2015)
Tom Paxton's career has spanned more than five decades, and he's just as creative as ever. Tom has a new album, 'Redemption Road', and he stopped by Radio Heartland to talk to Mike Pengra and to play some songs off the new record. (03/19/2015)
Touring across Canada, Norah Rendell became steeped in the Celtic-music traditions that are so rich in that country. She captures that spirit in her latest album, 'Spinning Yarns'. While in the Twin Cities, Norah stopped at Radio Heartland to talk to Mike Pengra about how she's collected tunes during her travels. (03/17/2015)
Charlie Maguire is celebrating 40 years of songwriting Saturday night at the Ginkgo Coffeehouse in St. Paul. He stopped in the studio to chat about his career. (03/13/2015)
The Last Revel always bring intensity and energy to their live performances, and that comes across in this in-studio session at Radio Heartland. You can even watch videos of the band's performances. (02/04/2015)
The Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole (aka Tom Keith) made its final broadcast on Dec. 11, 2008. The live program aired from a packed Fitzgerald Theater. Here is the program rundown as well as a slideshow and other mementos from the event. (12/11/2014)
Erik Brandt of the Urban Hillbilly Quartet is also part of the Blood Washed Band, and he's the "guy In charge" at House of Mercy Recordings. Brandt stopped by the Radio Heartland studio to chat about a new music series at the 331 Club in Minneapolis and to play some tracks from the Blood Washed Band's latest album, 'Driftin' Along'. (11/25/2014)
Singer-songwriter Peter Mayer has a new album called 'Third Street'. His sold-out CD release show is Saturday, Nov. 22. Mayer stopped by Radio Heartland to talk to Mike Pengra about the new album and other upcoming shows. (11/20/2014)
Barbara Jean could have been a painter: Some of the lyrics on her new album, <em>Darker Than Blue</em>, conjure images such as stars dancing on the water or waves lapping on the shore at night. Barbara Jean and a band of seasoned performers stopped in to the Radio Heartland studio to chat and to play songs off the new record. (11/18/2014)
When Dennis Warner was in college, he studied music and philosophy. He neatly combined those two fields of study into a career as a singer-songwriter. Warner stopped by the Radio Heartland studio for a performance and a visit with Mike Pengra. (10/28/2014)