Off Beat

By the Time We Get to Phoenix

What to do about The Hottest Governor's Race in History when your paper goes to press on election day before the polls close? As Off Beat was pondering this seemingly unanswerable question... something told us to call Peggy, a Shoreview-based psychic. Funny thing, Peggy said, she doesn't normally give much thought to politics, but she was thinking about the race the day before Off Beat called! Her first thought was that Jesse Ventura would prevail, but then she reconsidered. "I just keep thinking that Norm Whatshisname is going to win. See, I pay a lot of attention here, right?" she laughed. "I tune in more to people who died than people who are alive." When Off Beat noted that in the last days of the campaign some pundits wondered whether the Humphrey campaign had a pulse, she mused, "His aura's not looking so pretty," then made an intriguing suggestion: "If you want to talk to the old Humphrey, I could do that!" While Off Beat was dreamily envisioning the possibilities of a Hump séance, Peggy broke the mood. "You won't be at your paper for more than another year and a half," she predicted, and inquired whether Off Beat was considering a move to Arizona.

Because They CAAR

Off Beat has a penchant for sleeping in, but having perused the reams of press regarding Community Action Against Racism's recently resolved advertising boycott of KQRS-FM (92.5), the temptation to wake up and tune in to that zany, Hmong-loving zoo crew was too great to resist. What we heard was shocking: an ad for the Star Tribune's classified section. Of course, boycott or no boycott, the show has always had lots of advertisers (including, on occasion, City Pages). But we don't remember reading in the Strib's substantial coverage of the conflict any mention that the paper itself couldn't resist Tom Barnard's dominant ratings among 18-to-34-year-old males. And why's that? According to Strib business editor Scott Gillespie and editor Tim McGuire, both of whom signed off on stories chronicling KQ's struggle to keep high-profile advertisers--stories that specifically cited and sought comment from several of those advertisers--it's because they didn't know. "Had I known," Gillespie asserts, "I would've asked any reporter working for me to include a reference to the paper's own ads." In defense of his paper's failure to report a potential conflict of interest, Strib senior VP Frank Parisi makes a passing reference to the sacred wall between advertising and editorial, then gets down to business. "Our decision will be determined by the marketing department and the audience they're seeking to reach. That's as complicated as it gets," he says. "We're in the First Amendment business too, you know." In case you're wondering, they're hard at work protecting the Constitution over at the Pioneer Press too, although you wouldn't know it to read their stories. "I was not aware that we're advertising on KQ," concedes Pi Press media critic Brian Lambert, whose long piece about the flap failed to make reference to the paper's relationship with the station. "It would be worth mentioning, but the only time I asked anyone about it here, they didn't know either."

Mourning Show?

The latest spate of rumors of the impending death of Minnesota Public Radio's long-running Morning Show are premature, but perhaps literally so. Though he concedes that the eclectic music and humor program has always been "an unexplainable glitch" amid the symphonies and string quartets featured on MPR's classical station KSJN-FM (99.5), co-host Tom Keith (a.k.a. Jim Ed Poole) says the show will go on. At least for now. Keith's partner Dale Connelly is developing a satirical week-in-review program--working title: Lost Week--with the goal of taking it national. Keith, who also lends voices and sound effects to MPR mainstay A Prairie Home Companion, will likely be involved as well, and at this point both hosts are asking themselves how much work their schedules will permit. "If I had to pick, I guess I would want to do just the two national shows," Keith admits. For his part, Connelly says, "I'd like to keep doing The Morning Show, and that's my plan, but I'm not sure that I can do both. Right now I'm expecting to do both."

Off Beat is open for business and accepting tips. Call 372-3788 or e-mail [email protected] with any poop (political or otherwise) that's fit to print.

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