Midday was a news program, broadcasting a variety of public affairs programming covering politics, education, business, world affairs, and sports. Shows were a mix of call-in discussions, interviews, speeches, debates, special presentations, live coverage, and documentaries.
Midday 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 was featured, such as Spectrum, Sportfolio, MPR Special, Insight, Weekend, Forum, and MPR’s Mainstreet Radio, among others.
Local programming was featured, such as Westminster Town Hall Forum, Carlson Lecture Series, Minnesota Meeting, Minnesota Press Club, and Mondale Policy Forum, among others.
National outside programming was featured, such as 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.
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 16, 2019 — On this Saturday Midday, Catherine Watson, travel editor for the Star Tribune, discusses various world travel. Topics include Mexico, outdoor experiences, and handicapped travel. Watson also answer listener questions.
February 3, 2012 — Lou Bellamy and Paul Carter Harrison join MPR's Marianne Combs and today's Midday co-host T. Mychael Rambo.
December 23, 2011 — Stories of winter fairies and elves, from a performance at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
December 21, 2011 — Lisa See is the author of "Shanghai Girls" and "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan." Many of her books center on Chinese and Chinese American characters. She discusses her writing and the influence of her Chinese American heritage at the Hennepin Country Central Library in downtown Minneapolis.
December 2, 2011 — Jerry Dennis and Darby Nelson have written about lakes, great and small. What do we most value about lakes and what should be done to protect them? Guests: Darby Nelson: Author of "For Love of Lakes." Aquatic ecologist and professor emeritus, Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Served three terms as Minnesota State Representative. Former board president, Conservation Minnesota. Currently on the board of the Freshwater Society.
November 11, 2011 — Remembering legendary radio dramatist Norman Corwin. Norman Corwin has been called the poet laureate of radio's golden age. He died last month at the age of 101. Midday remembers Corwin with a short documentary on his career, and excerpts from his masterpiece, "On a Note of Triumph", which remains the most listened to radio drama in U.S. history.Later in the hour, author Tim O'Brien discusses his critically acclaimed short story collection on the Vietnam War, "The Things They Carried."
September 2, 2011 — Garrison Keillor, the host of public radio's A Prairie Home Companion, joins MPR's Gary Eichten on the Carousel Park Stage at the Minnesota State Fair to share stories and answer questions from the audience about his long career as a broadcaster and author.
September 1, 2011 — Midday presents an MPR special report from reporter Sasha Aslanian looking at a school that was held up as a model in St. Paul, but has since failed to meet federal standards. Following the report, St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva and Eric Mahmoud, founder of Harvest Prep and Best Academy, will discuss ways to improve the achievement of minority students.
August 19, 2011 — Architectural historian Larry Millett has written beautiful and informative books about Minnesota's most interesting homes and buildings. His newest book, "Once There Were Castles," describes 90 mansions and estates that have disappeared from Minnesota. Are there homes or buildings that you remember from the past? Some gems still standing?
August 4, 2011 — Best-selling author Lisa See on her bicultural heritage. Lisa See's novels include "Dreams of Joy," "Shanghai Girls," and "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," which has been made into a Hollywood film. Her stories offer a fascinating glimpse into different periods of China's history. She spoke at the Hennepin County library in downtown Minneapolis on how her writing has been influenced by the Chinese side of her family.