Back In The Saddle Again

My friend Mike Pengra is very good at his jobs. He has several, but for the most part they all boil down to doing the same thing – Mike makes other people sound better.

As a producer, editor, music-picker and scheduler, Mike supports classical music programming at Minnesota Public Radio, and is the lone human behind the robot-powered rootsy music stream, Radio Heartland.

He’s also the drummer in a band called City Mouse.  In the music world, the rock band drummer is a character who is both essential and undervalued, so the role suits Mike well. He makes everything OK and distributes the credit elsewhere. Somehow people feel more competent when Mike’s around, and he’s too kind to reveal that it’s his doing, not theirs.

This is why everybody likes Mike.

Mike and I worked on Radio Heartland a few years back, and for a good stretch before that we were teammates on the weird three-legged stool that was the MPR Morning Show, Mike playing the silent partner like the multi-talented Silvester Vicic and the saintly Nora McGillivray before him.

Mike contacted me a few weeks ago and said a group of demanding baboons had made a bunch of music requests, and he wanted some help feeding tunes to them.

I don’t host radio shows anymore, but I was happy to oblige this time, knowing that as soon as I walked into Mike Pengra’s studio I’d become two times funnier and at least ten times smarter.

And believe it or not, that Mike Pengra magic still works.

You can listen for yourself to a Baboonish Request show today at noon, and again on Sunday evening at 7.



139 thoughts on “Back In The Saddle Again”

  1. Looking forward to it! And thank you to the unsung heroes like Mike Pengra (and Silvester Vicic – who for many years was the other, silent, presence for my on my drive home from work along with Eric Friesen). And an extra thanks to Mike – and Dale – for indulging a bunch of mostly polite, but occasionally demanding, Minnesota baboons.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. kids dont get it.
      wife and i went wednesday because last saturday was with daughter and sil and this saturday is chicago inlaws who alredy cant understand how we do it all day. What do you do?
      we laughed because no one else would get how interesting it is to watch the pig auction for an hour and then we walked out and lo and behold there was the llama races. how could you leave? we got home and ate and my son said how can you come home form the fair hungry. we didnt eat much wednesday. blloming onion, curds cheese on a stick corn falafel king it will all get done but theres no hurry to inhale it. a slow chew gets it done. then the chocolate milkshake either by the art buildng or the one over by the cows…. i love the fair.
      cant waif to go tomorrow. wonder if we are going to take two cars so a kid or two can ditch with the in laws after 8 or 9 hours before the action starts

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Young Adult usually gets it. But she made a critical shoe error when she insisted on wearing the new pair of Birkenstocks (purchased at the fair that morning). Even though I encouraged her repeatedly to change back her tennies, by the time she did, her feet really hurt.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Dale. Ironically, I won’t be able to listen today. Someone at Liam’s school was inconsiderate enough to die, so the place is shut down for the funeral. That leaves Grampy as the substitute care-giver, and the little guy isn’t quite ready to appreciate TLGMS music. Of course, I’ll be able to listen later, perhaps by visiting the RH site.

    Some people come to us in this world as gifts, as positive forces that make us feel good in spite of all the regrettable stuff. You say Mike is one such person, Dale, and I believe you because you are another.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. You did it again, Dale. Playing with my mind. Yesterday I was researching my grandfather’s saddle with writing a post for the TB about it. Then in my morning mail is your post’s title: Back in the Saddle Again. How do you do that?

    Yup. will be listening for sure while continuing to work on my potential post.

    ps. I fell in love with Mike when he was a mere producer on the Midmorning Show when Cathy Wurzel was the host and I was just a new hire at MPR. Silvester and Nora were two of my favorite MPR-ers, too. Such a privilege and pleasure to work with all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. special thanks to dale for breaking the rules. i know there was a rule never to step foot in the mpr building again after getting the bums rush but i sure do appreciate the exception.
    this is such a special haven. i am glad you get it too dale. sometimes its too close to realize the magic past and present that has been created.
    the trail has bumped and chugged along as the baboons have done the same.
    the celebration of the memory is overdue but it is bittersweet celebration. times gone by that will never come again make you choke up a bit dont they?
    we were there for that great moent in time and although we didnt realize it at the tiem . those were the best years of our lives. thanks for being there with me then and now.
    i love this blog and these baboons.
    what a great bunch of tunes memories smiles and tears.
    thanks vs mike dale and all the baboons that make this thing go on.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m doing the dishes (part one) and Tom Waits “What’s he doing in there” just played. I see one of the guys who is doing something to the house next door is sitting on the step right outside my open window.

    Let’em wonder.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Hi everyone.
    I’ve got an hour in front of the computer yet. (working on a scenic design). Then will miss the rest for now.

    Thank you Mike and Dale and everyone who suggested tunes.
    Thanks for making this happen.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Listening. AT 1:20 I must be at the eye doctor. I set this appt a long time ago. I will stream via phone each moment I can.! Rue the day I set that appt!


    1. I did put Ethel on the list, but there were 104 lines on the spreadsheet (I marked songs that were requested more than once) but it looks like she didn’t make the cut!


  8. I didn’t get home until 12:20 and was afraid I had missed the first part of this, but lo, the playlist has part one and part two listed. I clicked on part one and am hearing it from the start, albeit 20 minutes later than the rest of you.


  9. This is more than just slightly appropriate today, as I just found out that my very good friend that turned me onto the Morning Show back in 1986 is visiting Duluth. I’ll be going up north this weekend to see her.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Darn job (that I finally got hired onto)! But I can’t listen to RH at work — although I do write on blog occasionally. It’s so cool to be part of this community and to hear Dale and Mike together doing RH tunes again. I will have to listen Sunday night or whenever. Can’t wait! Thanks to all who made this happen!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. what a joy.
    maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder. i remember liking this stuff but today i really appreciate big picture.
    it was a special thing we all took part in . we didnt know at the time it was more than just a cool bunch of music and skits and smiles. today we realize the culture it spawned and the special people who were sharing it with us. lots dropped out as the distance got greater and the music went away (that was kind of a key part of the offering) but those who remained are what make me realize an exceptional culture survived the decommissioning of the tlgms. thanks for that baboons. thanks dale. what a great day….

    Liked by 5 people

  12. One interesting thing is, today I actually sat (with my hand mending) and listened to the songs. Back in the day, I rarely did that – I was making breakfast, or getting a kid’s backpack loaded for school… getting hubby out the door WHILE listening… As my mother would say, “Thank you thank you thank you!”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. We listened all the way from Steele to Fargo. I, too was tearing up the whole way. What a wonderful day! Who requested the Tom Waits? Just curious.


  14. This was the highlight of my day. Since 5am I’ve been lying on a bed in a room close to the bathroom so I was miserable and bored. By the time the broadcast came on, I was feeling good enough to listen but not do much else. I was able to listen to almost all of it (I did doze off a little). Thanks, VS for the idea, and Mike for executing it, and Dale for co-hosting. Like many of you, i had tears in my eyes and part of the reason was because of who wasn’t there – Jim Ed.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I enjoyed how Dale didn’t hide the fact he’s not such a fan anymore.
    To me I appreciate that glimpse ‘behind the scenes’. While most of us enjoy hearing the music again… I think to Dale, it must be a little like Christmas music to me; the masses enjoy it and I’m grinding my teeth.
    Does that make sense?

    (Now, I missed an hour in the middle. Probably the hour he talked about the songs he likes).

    His explaination of ‘Mold Love’ was thoughtful and sensitive.

    Liked by 1 person

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