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May 25, 2006
NARN Loses A Friend

The Northern Alliance Radio Network owes a lot to a number of people for the success we have had over the last 27 months, including just about everyone who works or has worked at AM 1280 The Patriot. One of those people has passed away, Mitch Berg tells us, and he shares a few good stories about the NARN's first producer:

I worked with Joe twice - at KDWB-AM, back in 1990-92, and again for the first year when he was the engineer/producer for the Northern Alliance. He's most familiar to people in the Twins, of course, as Tom Mischke's producer "The Jackal", and especially as Jason Lewis' longtime producer and foil. ...

Joe had already been a "road warrior" when we met at KDWB-AM in 1990; he'd worked all over Minnesota. Contacts had gotten him a job as a board operator at KDWB-AM - a miserable,slumming gig, watching the needle bob and playing commercials during satellite-fed oldies programming from LA. It kept Joe in the smokes and drinks, barely. He was irrepressible, of course - the guy could drink Atomizer under the table and have room left over for another Frater of your choice - but he was a happy (if extremely boisterous) drunk, as I remember (and having been to a couple of KDWB Christmas parties, I do remember).

But it was there that Joe met Steve Konrad, program director at KSTP from 1991 to today (with a six-odd-year break in the middle). Joe was nothing if not a solid journeyman board operator, something KSTP hadn't had many of in years of hiring twinks just out of Brown Institute. Joe got Mischke started, and then moved over to any journeyman board jock's dream gig; producing Jason Lewis. The relationship was reportedly one of those that you dream about when you're plugging away at crap jobs like KDWB-AM - Joe had a solid role in the show's success, he was rewarded (by producer/engineer standards) well for it, and he developed a solid personal relationship with Lewis himself, truly a rare thing in the back-biting world of talk radio.

I met Joe the night I filled in for Bob Davis in 2003. It had to have been a personal peak; the money - for once in the straitened career of a road warrior - was mighty good, and the Lewis show was in peak form. Like all things in radio, it could not last.

The final segment for Joe Hanson apparently aired this week. For us, the relationship ended when the Patriot terminated his contract, but that business was mostly between the station and Joe. We all felt very fortunate to have been given our start with a man of Joe's talent for producing a talk-radio show, and while we've had good luck with our producers since then, Joe set a standard that was hard for anyone to top.

Thanks for taking us out of the break, Joe. We know that you're in a better place, but we miss you. Godspeed.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 25, 2006 10:15 PM

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