KQRS signs Morning Show host Tom Barnard to new long-term contract

The brash host will be sticking around until 2028.
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Tom Barnard

Well-known Twin Cities radio host Tom Barnard has signed an extension with 92 KQRS that will keep him on the airwaves for another eight years.

The 68-year-old has become one of the best known voices on radio since making his debut in 1971, and his employer Cumulus Media announced on Wednesday it has signed him up until 2028.

The Minneapolis native has been with KQRS since 1986, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

The news comes just a few days after Barnard spent some time in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where he met with President Donald Trump this past weekend.

"With pride and pleasure we celebrate the news that Tom will continue to broadcast from the place he most belongs, KQRS," said Cumulus Media executive VP of content Brian Philips.

"Tom is the Twin Cities’ hometown-born morning king, and Cumulus is immensely proud and protective of our long relationship with him."

In an interview with the Star Tribune Wednesday, Barnard said he is still enjoying his radio career, adding that he hopes he's "grown into being a voice of reason" at a time when "there's all this hatred out there based on people just not agreeing with each other."

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Barnard's time on the airwaves has not been without controversy.

In 2018, he attracted attention when he described public and member-driven stations like KFAI and MPR as "welfare radio," before intentionally butchering the pronunciation of some of KFAI's hosts with foreign ancestry.

In the late '90s, offensive remarks he made about the Hmong community led to calls for a boycott and a loss of major advertisers.

In 2007 the station issued an apology after he and then sidekick Terri Traen made offensive comments about the American Indian community, which saw Barnard criticize the Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community for not doing more to help the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, commenting: "I wish someone would fly a plane into Mystic Lake Casino."

As well as working for KQ, Barnard also hosts a podcast on weekdays, The Tom Barnard Show, featuring his family.

On Wednesday, Barnard said: "I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the KQ Morning Show for the past 34 years.

"Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me. I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown. I can’t ask for anything more."

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