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The Morning Show
The Morning Show

Morning Show Timeline

Audio | Scripts | Milestones
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April Fool's Day (4/1/1986)
I don't now how this happened, but we felt compelled to do an April Fool's joke and did not want to fall into the trap that some radio stations do, where they play humiliating pranks on each other or cause terrible problems for their listeners. One station announced it was "phone line cleaning day" and convinced thousands of people to take their handsets off the hook, thereby crashing the phone system. We wanted something funny but harmless, and settled on "We're Off The Air". It was an elegant absurdist ploy that immediately brought the listeners in on the joke.

Bill Holm (4/7/1987)
Four stories, some about life in China.
Writer and raconteur Bill Holm of Minnesota is a Minnesota treasure. I had the good fortune to meet him when I worked for MPR at station KRSW in Worthington. Bill's extended trip to China gave us the chance to see a previously closed part of the world through his eyes.

Shakespeare's Birthday - Live at the World Theater (4/23/1987)
I shake my head at this today. I had one Shakespeare class in college and thought I knew a thing or two. We enlisted some very talented people to play around with the idea of a Shakespeare celebration, and escaped without too much embarrassment. But I would never try this one today.

Briana on the Air
In 1987 and 88, we had a nine year old MPR volunteer, Briana Martinez, visit our show as a regular correspondent in what we called our "Summer Vacation Updates". Built on the premise that a kid's summer vacation ought to be a time of blissful idleness, we decided to keep track of what was going on during her time between 3rd and 4th grades. As we had hoped, the answer was "not much", though there were trips to the playground, and to Iowa and Chicago. At the end of the summer we had her come back a few times to tell us about school - a series we called "Fourth Grade Updates."

Briana was smart and charming. It was a pleasure to talk with her and our audience loved the segments. She grew to be a lovely young woman and mother. I'm sad to say she passed away in 2005, a cancer victim.

Pat Donohue (2/1/1988)
Pat Donohue plays ten guitar tracks. Feb 1, 1988. No talking or intro, or singing, just music.

Around this time our news and information people were spending a lot of time and energy enlisting ordinary people and experts to offer commentary on the news. We decided to ask Pat Donohue to do one minute guitar commentaries. The topic of each was known only to Pat, and there were no lyrics, so listeners were left to apply what they heard to the day's events.

A mental exercise, for sure. Or you could just relax and enjoy the music.

"Pa Poole" on the air for Father's Day (6/17/1988)
Pa Poole, Jim Ed's real father, appears on this Friday show with Jim Ed just before Father's Day.

Tom Keith's father, Jim Keith, shared his son's active imagination and love of radio. He had been a regular on KSTP's "Barn Dance" as a character named "Pop Wiggins". It was always a pleasure to have him visit.

The Morning Show Fifth Anniversary (10/7/1988)
A live, free morning broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theater with Boiled In Lead, Bruce Kurnow, The Groveland String Quartet, Prudence Johnson, Dean Magraw, Vera Jenkins, Roland Wilson and the New International Trio and Pat Donohue.

The Morning Show - More Bits (1988)
This is our one and only comedy membership giveaway - a cassette tape called "Our Greatest Bits," the first production project we worked on with our future producer, Mike Pengra.

Mock Opera Elvis (4/52/1989)
Mock opera. Uses Elvis Presley songs, also parlor music of the post Civil War era, and other music.

We tried to use songs out of the library to cobble together a preposterous story. I spent too much time listening to lyrics, trying to get this to make sense.

Manny's Trumpet Exam (6/1/1989)
Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Manny Laureano sat in for Jim Ed one day. He is a very funny man.

Steele Family Christmas (12/21/1989)
The Steele Family performs on the Morning Show in Studio M. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and contemporary song "This Must be Christmas". Dale and Jim Ed do interview. The promote show at the Cricket Theater. Dec. 21, 1989

The Steele Family performs on the Morning Show in Studio M. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and contemporary song "This Must be Christmas". Dale and Jim Ed do interview. The promote show at the Cricket Theater. Dec. 21, 1989

Bubonic Bassoon Quartet (1990)
Portion used on the Morning Show. First "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'". Then Peter and the Wolf done with bassoons, with voice narration.

I don't think the Bubonic Bassoon Quartet ever appeared live on our show. We were given this reel-to-reel tape by John Miller, bassoonist with the Minnesota Orchestra. He was also one of the Bubonics, and they all had a fine sense of humor about themselves and the instrument.

New Year's Show (12/31/1991)
New Year's Show at the World Theater (12/31/1991)

MPR's 25th anniversary (1/25/1992)

Morning Program 10th Anniversary Show (6/4/1993)

Worldly Goods sampler (1994)
Worldly Goods was our soap opera parody. This is where Bubby Spamden surfaced. I played Bubby's father, Mick. Christine Sweet was his mother, Dorothy. And the real glue that held it all together was classical music announcer Arthur Hoen, who appeared as "Nilo Saharin", a moniker given to him by Jim Ed, named after a sub-Saharan language.

Gus the Turkey Man (11/28/1996)
My son Gus appeared as a guest host one Thanksgiving. This is the raw tape we used to create the broadcast segments. It was 1996. He was 7 years old at the time.

Ruth MacKenzie and Friends (7/8/1997)

Titanic (1998)
An excerpt from Celine Dion's song from "Titanic" with the actual Titanic whistle mixed in. We did this because one actual proposal for the restoration of the Titanic whistle was to do a live duet featuring the singer and the machine in St. Paul the day the whistle was presented as part of a museum exhibit. Smarter heads prevailed and the duet never happened, so we made it up.

Irish Blessing with the Hermantown Youth Chorus (1999)
This is a bit we did at a live show in Duluth in 1999. I still smile to think of it, because the kids were so great and sang beautifully. Their director, Jerry Kaldor, did a wonderful job.

Best Bits (1998 - 2000)
A group of moments from our daily broadcast. The first piece, "Morning in Minnesota," was broadcast on the day Jesse Ventura was sworn in as Minnesota's Governor.

State Fair - (8/24/2001)

The Historic Fargo Theatre - Fargo, ND (4/5/2002)
The Morning Show presented a free, live, region-wide broadcast from the historic Fargo Theatre on April 5, featuring live music from Becky Schlegel, Peter Ostroushko, Dirk Freymuth, the Hard Bop Saxophone Quartet and the Harris-Coates Duo. Dr. Larry Kyle of Genway, renowned punishment expert Scott Scourge, and radio daredevil Nephew Thomas also made appearances.

Hibbing High School Audiotorium - Hibbing, MN (10/4/2002)
The Morning Show presented a free, live, region-wide broadcast from the historic Hibbing High School Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 4, featuring favorite Morning Show characters and musical guests Connie Evingson and The Mary Louise Knutson Trio, the LaPlant Family Trio from Grand Rapids, and Hibbing organist Vicki Lundberg Gornick.

Holiday Pageant (12/2002)
Our first in a series of three Holiday Pageants, taking a familiar Christmas story and twisting it beyond recognition. We started at the top, totally demolishing "A Christmas Carol" with the help of Peter Moore and Beth Gilleland. The musical guests were a local band, The Jaztronauts, and Canadian folk singer Connie Kaldor.

Worthington Memorial Auditorium - Worthington, MN (2/14/2003)
Dale and Jim Ed celebrated the day of love with music from singer/songwriters Neal and Leandra, and Peter Mayer. Neal and Leandra are happily married Morning Show regulars who have charmed MPR audiences for years with love songs. Peter Mayer has addressed some deep topics in his writing but claims he has "never written a love song."

The show also includes the results of our Some Enchanted Evening special, in which listeners were invited to send us the story of how they met their special someone. Dale and Jim Ed, and the rest of the Morning Show crew retold some lucky listeners' stories in song live on the Feb. 14 show.

Sheldon Auditorium Theatre – Red Wing, MN (5/2/2003)
This show included one of our best Nephew Thomas radio daredevil stunts. He covered his body in glue and rolled in seed, then allowed himself to be swarmed over by migrating birds.

The magnificent Beth Gilleland makes a guest appearance as sullen birding advisor Robin Finch. Long live the Red Billed Eye Poker!

Paramount Theater - St. Cloud, MN (6/20/2003)
A "Morning Show In The Evening" event with local favorites "The George Maurer Group", and from New York City, Suzzy and Maggie Roche.

Holiday Pageant (12/2003)
The second in the Holiday Pageant series, this time perverting "It's a Wonderful Life". We changed George Bailey to Georgia Bailey so Beth Gilleland could play the part.

The musical guests were Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.

Halloween Matinee (10/31/2004)
This was our one and only mid-afternoon show on a Sunday afternoon - for Halloween.

We told the story of a man whose transplanted leg was not his own, and enjoyed the music of Peter Mayer and Trout Fishing In America. Ruth Helgeson played the theremin.

Our intermission featured a Halloween Costume parade across the Fitzgerald stage for the kiddies.

Holiday Pageant (12/9/2005)
The third and final Holiday Pageant, brutalizing the lovely O. Henry story "Gift of the Magi".

John Gorka and Kate Campbell provide the music. Peter Mayer and Neal and Leandra make guest appearances.

Ukelele Gala (5/6/2005)
Over seventy audience members climbed onstage for the greatest Ukulele jam in the Fitzgerald Theater's history.

The Morning Show live - The Historic State Theater - Jackson, MN (7/14/2006)
A triumphant return to his home town for our producer Mike Pengra.

Rachel Reis and the Pines entertained.

State Fair (8/25/2006)
Ann Reed writes "Somewhere At The Fair" and The Brass Kings star as Leslie Ball and Ochen Kaylan make their first attempt to find Eric Ringham on the grounds.

Fitzgerald Theater Open House (1/21/2007)

State Fair (8/22/2008)
'Pert Near Sandstone, Ann Reed and Dan Wilson make the music and Ochen and Leslie and Eric have their final showdown on our last State Fair show.

State Fair (8/24/2007)


Virtual Relationships - (1/1/1996)
Strategic Golf Reserves - (5/7/1996)
Billy Marty Barry: Big Vegetables - (8/23/1996)
Cow Opera - (8/23/1996)
Genway - (8/23/1996)
Heartburn - (8/23/1996)
Complimentary Compliments - (8/23/1996)
Circuit, the Cyber-Dog - (7/30/1997)
Governor Body - (11/1/1998)
Green Egg on His Face - (9/18/1998)
Impeachment Time - (8/23/1996)
The Pet on the Net - (8/27/1999)
State Fair Romance - (8/27/1999)
Dennis Tito's Space Dairy - (8/27/1999)


June 1983 - Actor Theodore Bikel is our first in-studio guest
August 1st 1984 – MPR announces cancellation of The Morning Show, effective September 1st
August 24, 1984 – MPR announces The Morning Show is not cancelled after all.
November, 1986 – Our Ladysmith Black Mambazo recordings are translated by local Zulu language speaker Arlene Knutson
December 2, 1986 – Local singer Ann Reed makes her first appearance on The Morning Show
January 30, 1987 – Live from the St. Paul Public Library, complete with Overdue Book Amnesty in the last half hour.
February 27, 1987 – Pianist John Bayless takes listener calls and improvises tunes at their direction.
June 8, 1987 – We begin reading 100 year old news from a Minneapolis column called “Spray of the Falls”.
June 29th, 1987 – Noah Adams starts a Summer reading series on The Morning Show, offering excerpts from the work of Paul Gruchow, Antoine de St. Exupery, Michael Dorris, and the Autobiography of Joan Baez.
April 14, 1988 - "Neal and Leandra" make their first Morning Show appearance. I was on vacation and Brian Newhouse was the substitute host.
January 21, 1988 – The Cat Show
September 21 – October 20, 1989 – Dan Olson substitutes for Dale during his one month long paternity leave.
March 1998 – The Readers of The Minnesota Women's Press recognize Jim Ed & Dale as "Best Local Males on the Radio"
October 31, 1998 – Noel Holston writes in the Star Tribune that “the plug is about to be pulled” on The Morning Show.
October 2, 2002 – Actor Robert Goulet makes a guest appearance.
October 27, 2005 – Red House Records President Bob Feldman makes his last appearance as a guest host. Feldman died at age 56 in January 2006