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.