Midday, the longest running MPR news program, began as an extension of a daily half hour noon newscast called “Midday Report.” In September 1971 it expanded into various longer iterations, running weekdays, as well as encompassing some weekend programming. During this period, it was described as: “A program of news and information, a calendar of the day’s cultural events and the environmental report.” In January 1972 the name changed to Midday, and a month later it was described as: “A program of news, consumer and environmental information, discussion of public issues, and reports by the MPR and NPR news staffs."
Separate MPR public affairs programming were featured, such as Spectrum, Sportfolio, MPR Special, Insight, Weekend, Forum, and MPR’s Mainstreet Radio, among others. Local programming was also featured, including Westminster Town Hall Forum, Carlson Lecture Series, Minnesota Meeting, Minnesota Press Club, and Mondale Policy Forum. National outside programming included Options, Horizons, Communique, National Press Club, Chappaqua Lecture, Ford Hall Forum, Commonwealth Club, among others; and interview shows from the likes of Studs Terkel, William F. Buckley and Nancy Fushan.
As the years progressed, the “Interview” and “Call-in” would become a regular format for Midday. Beginning in the mid-1970’s until 1992, Midday was hosted by Bob Potter, after which, Gary Eichten became the permanent host. Many guest hosts also participated over the years. During the Eichten era, Midday became a daily two-hour program staple, running from 11AM-1PM. Midday ended its run in January 2012, when long-time host Eichten retired.
July 1, 1968 - Taking a break from his campaign for the presidency, Eugene McCarthy reads his own poetry to a group of students at a Minnesota university (possibly St. Johns).
July 11, 1968 - A conversation with Eugene McCarthy at St. Johns, in Collegeville. Gary Eicthen and Pat Smith asked McCarthy questions as he was taking a break from his presidential campaign.
November 1, 1970 - A report by John Keefe on the Cedar-Riverside and urban renewal project. Includes various interviews with local residents.
April 4, 1971 - Benjamin Spock speaking at Augsburg College. Address was in honor of the Minnesota 8, sponsored by the Minnesota 8 Defense Committee. Topics of Spock’s address were on politics, social injustice, environment, and health. Spock’s speech was initially interrupted by women right’s protesters, reading excerpts from his book that the protesters viewed as marginalizing women.
April 21, 1971 - Captain John Kerry at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings. Kerry appeared before a U.S. Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. Transcript: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Against_the_War_Statement
May 9, 1971 - Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand speaking at the Ford Hall Forum. Rand’s speech is titled “The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" based on a 1971 collection of essays, in which Rand she argues that religion, the New Left, and similar forces are irrational and harmful.
September 1, 1971 - Roberto Rossellini, Italian film director and screenwriter, is interviewed by James Blue and Al Milgrom at University of Minnesota event. Rossellini also answers audience questions. Mr. Rossellini was one of the directors of the neorealist film movement.
January 1, 1972 - MPR’s Marvin Granger and author/journalist Gerald Vizenor discuss the case of Thomas Whitehawk, and the civil right issues of Native Americans in the U.S. court system.
April 30, 1972 - Existential psychologist and author Dr. Rollo May gives lecture, entitled "The Courage to Create," at Central Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul as part of The Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research memorial ‘Paul Tillich: Celebration of a Life.’
May 7, 1972 - Dr. Rollo May, author, theologian and psychoanalyst speaks at a gathering in memory of Paul Tillich. He reminisces on his relationship with Tilich and delivers his address "Love and the Daimonic.”