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Dennis Huber, Published April 02 2009

Moment of silence for passing of mouthpiece - or applause?

A moment of silence for the passing of a local mouthpiece – or applause?

He crossed over the Mississippi back in the hippie days, attended college via a full ride from the state of Minnesota due to a God-given talent to air the football and a personal drive fueled by ego. He rode his success out of town to Canadian football, where, according to Wikipedia, he failed because he couldn’t adjust to the different rules.

His face adorned TV sportscasting for many years along with being the voice of the Bison. He scraped by the whiskey bottle incident and even survived the hunting dog tale. He traded in TV for radio, and the Bison for the Sioux. He didn’t survive calling the popular coach a jerk, and so his sports broadcasting ended. The Vikings considered him for the play-by-play. They chose the safe play and he stayed in Fargo. North Dakota state Republican leaders rejected his “bid” for Congress; he switched to becoming a “progressive” liberal.

At times he showed inspiration and determination. He was popular when he showed his love for America and its people after 9/11. He inspired us to action on local issues on his “live and local” broadcast. His efforts for the family farm earned a special place in our hearts. When he got out of self and into others, he showed passion. There was none better.

We grew to love to hate him when he lost his cool, like when he blasted a caller with the statement that he paid more in taxes than the caller made in a year. Unfortunately, the narcissism showed through the façade. Was his empathy a means to an end?

Some years ago, he traded North Dakota for Minnesota, a golf course view for a lake view, local for, well, trying to be local. He taxed himself to expand his national show while attempting to hang on to “live and local.” At times he showed an amazing ability to juggle local and national issues. At times he grew angry and vengeful.

Then the flood bloomed upon us with unusual speed. He raised his hot head in criticism of city leaders, of what they should have done, of what they should be doing. He ignored the carefully worded advice to residents and thought he knew better than the well-informed, competent and experienced leaders. He incited the listeners into disruptive behavior during a time calling for calm, collaborative cooperation. He was live, but not local.

He predicted the floodwater would attack the city through the Country Club, his old neighborhood. They installed a permanent dike after he left town. Live, not local, not informed.

The popular mayor fought back without even honoring his presence with a name. The citizens listened, and sanity prevailed over the hot head. The city and citizens took back the mood and took positive action to prevent a catastrophe.

His microphone was silenced. Like after the whiskey bottle incident, was he told to stay home a couple of days and think about it? He was conspicuous by his absence on the airwaves. Silence is not his style in the midst of personal tragedy. There was something fishy going on.

My money is on a “fill in.” Is it true you can’t fight city hall? Did MSNBC come through with an offer? Did KFGO decide they couldn’t afford the love-hate relationship? Will we ever know which came first?

The one thing we will never know is the terms of his termination agreement. We don’t really care. Let’s summon the volunteers to load the moving van.