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

erik koskinen mic
Although Erik Koskinen has released many of the songs on his live record on previous albums, it's hard to match the energy of a live performance. To celebrate the release of 'Erik Koskinen: Live at the Real-Phonic Radio Hour,' Erik stopped by Radio Heartland to talk about the album and to spin some tracks from it. (06/26/2015)
Olivia Chaney performs at Radio Heartland
Classically trained musician Olivia Chaney has been as influenced by Joni Mitchell and Prince as she has by Edvard Grieg. Chaney visited the Radio Heartland studio to play some songs from her debut album, 'The Longest River.' (06/24/2015)
Pine Hill Project performing at Radio Heartland
Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell have dozens of solo albums to their names. Now, finally, they're together as a duo, calling themselves the Pine Hill Project. Their new album is called 'Tomorrow You're Going' and they stopped in to the Radio Heartland studio to play some songs from the record. (06/16/2015)
Josh Rouse lives in Spain these days, but has a Midwestern background. His latest album is <em>The Embers of Time</em>, out on Yep Roc Records. During a recent tour, he passed through the Radio Heartland studio with his Martin guitar and his harmonicas for a chat and some live music. (06/09/2015)
North Carolina-based duo Mandolin Orange stopped into the Radio Heartland studio to play some songs and to talk about their career thus far. (06/03/2015)
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)
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)