Ira Glass tells MPR story on Fallon, but is it true?

I’m not entirely sure why Ira Glass told a story on the Fallon website today about the time someone swore on the radio at Minnesota Public Radio.

Especially since I’ve never heard the story before in the 22 years I worked here.

That’s not to say we don’t have some stories about words that shouldn’t have gone out on the radio; I’ve just never heard that one in the passing of the MPR lore before.

(Update: Gary Eichten reports he would’ve been the host of All Things Considered back then and doesn’t recall any such incident. He acknowledges he might’ve repressed the memory, however.)

Update II: From Bill Kling, who is alleged in this story to have been the one to call. “There were probably things I called the control room about but that story isn’t one of them.”

He should’ve told the story about the guy who’s the future of news, instead.

Here’s his actual on-air interview with Fallon.

  • Robert Moffitt

    The man’s own dog bites him nearly every day. I wouldn’t believe a word he says.

    • Except about me being the face of the new journalism. Solid analysis there.

    • To be fair, his dog IS an a**hole.

    • Josh

      He should bite the dog back. That would be a news story!

  • L. Foonimin

    if one listens to Ira Glass you soon recognise his “stories” are all fiction, the voices are all actors, real people talk like that

  • Jeff

    I was an engineer at MPR 22 years ago. There was no 7-second delay and no button to beep out a word back then.

    • Right. The 7 second delay is a fairly recent addition. And I think most of us know the story that led to it.

      • Daniel Ducharme

        I don’t. Care to share?

      • Jeff

        Was it because of something that The Current aired?

    • Jim Camery

      I have to ask, Jeff. Why did the bee-boop tone at the top of the hour disappear? That was more integral to the MPR brand than Bob Edwards or Mindy Ratner.

      • johnepeacock

        Wasn’t that an indicator to tell the national/local stations that a switch was supposed to happen? An automatic trigger of sorts?

      • The beebop tones (first popularized nationally, perhaps by Mutual Radio) kicked off automation systems for inserts and the like. In Minnesota it triggered local breaks at network stations, or the weather.

        That still takes place only now the signals are silent.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FDqr7ruPxM

        • Veronica

          But I think they are still audible on Wisconsin Public Radio.

      • Jeff

        I was sad, Jim, when they went away. I agree that they were indeed a signature sound of MPR. I was at one time the person who triggered them during the BBC overnight service that MPR distributed to the rest of the country. If you want to simulate them, I think they are just two numbers on a touch-tone phone, like 4 and 1. Of course you have to have a touch-tone phone and a land line to experiment!

  • becca

    Whether or not it’s true, it’s not a new story of his. He told the same story in Minneapolis on the 2007 TAL “What I Learned From Television” tour.

  • Daina A

    Really, are we just going to through Ira under the bus? They swear all the time on the radio, it’s bleeped out of course, but I can see this happening before the delay was in place.

    • I think a pretty basic tenet of telling a story as true is that the story actually be true. But I’m old school.

      • tboom

        “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” –Mark Twain

        Of course Mr. Twain specifies good story.

  • Rob Hebzynski

    Yeah, This never happened. 1. No bleep button. 2. One doesn’t forget conversations from “The God Phone”.

  • Billy Batts

    I think it’s unfair to blame Ira for this one, considering he said he was told the story by someone else.