If you’re from Minnesota, then you are familiar with the KQRS Morning Show. The popular, long-running radio morning show hosted by Tom Barnard and Terri Traen has been a staple of the Twin Cities airwaves for 25+ years. Although the quality of the show has diminished over the last decade in my opinion, it still has one of the highest ratings among local morning shows in America.
Many of us have grown up with the morning crew and have listened to the crazy antics and controversies over the years on our way to work and school. In 2009, Tom Barnard announced that he was retiring in 2012. A couple of months later, he decided to stay.
I have always thought that a tell-all book about the KQRS Morning Show would be a fascinating read. There are many questions I’d like to have answers to. Here are some of them:
1. Why don’t they ever cover sports? Sansevere gets, like, 30 seconds to report some scores, but it seems like he has to rush through it to avoid pissing off Tommy B. Does Barnard hate sports talk?
2. What was with the whole Crazy Cabé deal? Did the cast of the show know about the Brett Favre stunt that ultimately got Cabé fired?
3. What does the KQRS Morning Show cast really think of Howard Stern? When the Howard Stern show came into the Minneapolis market in 1997, Stern was just brutal with his comments towards the KQRS Morning Show cast. It was some of the most uncomfortable yet fascinating radio I had ever heard (wish I could find auido). The KQRS staff never uttered a single comment about the Stern show on the air. The strategy paid off. Howard Stern lasted only a year in this market, and I think it had a lot to do with Minnesota’s loyalty to our own. Had Howard Stern just done his thing without going after the KQRS cast, he may have lasted.
4. Does Tom Barnard hate Terri Traen? Tommy B has always made rude and mocking remarks to her over the years (mostly in jest), but it seems to be getting more vicious lately. She hardly gets to talk anymore, and fans of the show I have talked to speculate that she is being marginalized. How do they really feel about each other?
5. Does Tom Barnard really do the show over an ISDN line at his home in Florida? Rumor has it that Barnard is too good to conduct the show from the studio anymore and that the cast sees him just a few times per year. As you listen to the show you sometimes get the feeling that he isn’t there in the studio. You’ll often hear confusion when Tommy B. doesn’t know what he is supposed to read on his screen or when they reference something visual in the studio but Barnard seems lost.
6. Was Phillip Wise brought in as the token black guy? The Morning Show has had a reputation for pushing the boundaries on racial humor, so many think the station needed to bring on an African-American to act as a permission slip for Barnard to crack racial jokes without being boycotted. Since Philly-Dog brings almost nothing to the show to enhance it, I’d say there might be some truth to this.
7. When Barnard does hang up his mic, will the show continue without him? Who would you like to see take his place? Jeff Passolt?
What questions about the show would you like to see answered?
UPDATE: 9/4/13 – A fellow reader and fan of the KQRS morning show (Rick) emailed me to provide some color and answers to the questions I had listed on this post. He is not affiliated with the show or staff in anyway. I thought his comments were good, so am posting them here. I cannot verify the validity of any of it.
1. I am working on providing some MP3 audio of the old Howard Stern bits.
2. The Cabe thing – he went on the Stern show after he was fired and said that the morning show knew about the bit and that it was staged, and when the hammer fell- they made him take the fall. That’s just his side of it, I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it.
3. I don’t think Tom HATES Terri, if he did, she wouldn’t be around anymore. I think that- after 20 some years of doing it, one would assume that she’d get how the show flows, and she’s proven year after year that she doesn’t. Maybe that’s a part of the show, and they know that their lack of smoothness and “fights” afterward, are just part of the show, and that’s what works. That’s just my opinion.
4. Tom does, in fact, do his show from both his home in Golden Valley, and his house in Florida. He’s rarely in the studio. However, just recently (within the last few weeks) the station has asked him to come into the building to do the morning show, and he, surprisingly, complied.
5. Philip Wise was not brought in as the token black guy, although it’s easy to see it that way (remember Jay-Bee?). Philip and Tom have known each other since the early 70s, when Tom was “Catman” on KSTP and WDGY. After the Somali controversy (remember “Tom Brunart this is for you”?), opponents of the morning show, and other media outlets were calling him a racist. Philip, being Tom’s friend for almost 30 years at that point, decided that he needed to be there to support his friend, who obviously, was NOT a racist. Once Philip joined the show- a lot of the racist stuff calmed down.
6. Someone commented about Tony Lee- He had a contract dispute with KQ and it resulted in him leaving the show. The almighty dollar won again. He’s still friendly with the entire staff of the morning show- even coming aboard to co-host the Tom Barnard podcast starting late 2012.
7. I recently found out about Bryce. He left the show to take care of a sick loved one. He did not relapse into his drugging and drinking ways, he was not fired, and there was no contract dispute. He is missed, and Justin is far from a suitable replacement.
If you’re wondering- I’m not a representative for Tom or KQ, I’ve only met Tom twice in Vegas, and he’s a very nice guy. A lot of the info that I got, Tom talked about on his podcast- which actually resembles what the old Morning Show USED to be like, rather than the tightly run ship that KQ insists upon now. You can tell by listening that Tom is much happier doing the podcast with his family and running it the way HE wants to, rather than going thru the motions at KQ. He’s since said that he’s regretting his decision to stick around until 2016.