The Power of Love, or the Power of Public Radio? For These MPR Members, It's Both

Mar 6, 2017

Public radio is part of one couple's daily connection.

Jocelyn and Brendan engagement photo
Jocelyn and Brendan engagement photo
courtesy Jocelyn and Brendan

As part of our 50th anniversary, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the many people who make MPR happen every day. Throughout the year, we'll be sharing the stories of MPR Members, staff and volunteers here and on our social media channels. We also want to hear from listeners. Tell us what MPR means to you.

The Power of Love, or the Power of Public Radio? For These MPR Members, It's Both

By Michael Popham

When Jocelyn Mogren first started dating Brendan Kennealy, she wasn't so sure about his taste in radio stations.

"I had him pegged as a major nerd because he listened to MPR News", she says.

But over time, the stories and interviews got to her. Now, she's not only the owner of a "It's 7:01 and the News is Next" T-shirt and a big fan of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, she even dances to the Morning Edition theme song.

Is it the power of love? Or the power of public radio?

Jocelyn insists that it's all perfectly reasonable. "The stories on MPR", she says, "make me want to do more and learn more and be more involved in my community". Every day she hears about books she'd like to read, ideas she wants to follow up on and live events she'd love to attend.

Now that she and Brendan are engaged, it's become an important part of the household routine. They'll listen to Fresh Air together if there isn't a ballgame on. She finds herself looking forward to coming home each night and talking to Brendan about some item that she heard on the radio that day. It's part of their daily connection.

She feels a connection, too, with the voices on the air.

"As I've been listening for the last 3 years", Jocelyn says, "It feels like the personalities on MPR have really become familiar and even comforting -- a regular part of my day".

For Brendan, the appeal is getting news from a trusted, unbiased source that presents all perspectives in a calm manner.

"That last part is huge for me," Brendan says. "I don't want the news to spin things or try to persuade me or rile me up. MPR validates the things I care about, and helps me discover new things worth exploring, and it provides a community full of people I trust and appreciate".

His favorite MPR moments include meeting Jonathan Franzen and Richard Ford at Talking Volumes, and hearing a 2014 story about the last remaining Negro League Umpire.

The most recent, however, occurred just weeks ago. Brendan started a new job in late November, and one of his duties is to write 15-second spots detailing his employer's support for MPR.

"You know the kind of message," Jocelyn says. "'Programming is supported by such-and-such company, makers of such-and-such product...'. Anyway, I was driving my car with Brendan in the passenger seat, and during a break in Fresh Air one of these spots came on. Brendan and I both realized right away we were hearing something Brendan had written, read live on MPR -- and yes, there were some happy tears."