Radio In An Odd Time


Ben Holsen, one half of the now defunct Ben and Dana Show, on GO 96.3 FM (KQGO-FM) Minneapolis, wonders if radio is still in his future. The 39 year old got his first taste of the business at 15.

“My dad was an Operations Manager for a tri-state cluster in Sioux Falls. I was on most of the stations for 40 to 50 hours a weekend working the boards and even hosting an overnight country show.”

He moved to Minneapolis to go to college and worked at a few stations including KS 95 and on the 93X Morning Show. His dreams for his own morning show were realized at GO 96.3. But then COVID came, and things changed.

“I was super excited to be playing the music I love in the city I love. But you know over the last three to four months there hasn’t been a lot of people up and out and doing anything in the morning, especially before 9 AM.

“We’d drive to work and there was no traffic, the phones weren’t responding. We hesitated to do breaks where we needed phone heavy content because we didn’t know if anybody was going to be there.”

The handwriting on the wall unfortunately was really coming into focus.

“Nobody was there, I mean it was like how long can this last? We knew cuts were coming, we didn’t necessarily know it was going to be us.”

“Advertisers started pulling out, but fortunately none of our endorsements did. They were very loyal and we really appreciated that.”

“I was grateful our local owners held off as long as they did before pulling the plug.”

So as Holsen ponders his future, he has another challenge to face. After spending two weeks in his basement, this Spring, quarantined from his wife and infant daughter; he is feeling some after effects of the virus.

“I’ve started to feel some of the symptoms again. A little wheezing, heavy chest, a sore throat from time to time, a bit fatigued. I also feel like I’m colder now.”

So what are the Doctors saying? Are you undergoing any treatment?

“I’m basically a case study. I don’t have a fever anymore, everything is clear that they can see. They’ve done chest x-rays, the blood work has come back and everything is normal there. So it’s nothing really concerning to them. They tell me to keep an eye on it. It’s been quite a ride for sure.”

So where is radio as you look ahead?

“I have no idea. It’s such an odd time right now, I’m just super excited to hang out with my daughter and watch her grow up. Is radio in the future? You know I don’t know what that looks like.”

“I’m grateful to a couple of companies for reaching out to me to talk about potential opportunities here. Anything is possible right now, media relations, podcasting is going huge. (Laughing) I always wanted to be a pilot.”

One thing he is not laughing about is Coronavirus.

“To not take it seriously is really heartbreaking. To be honest, it makes me angry that some folks aren’t taking this seriously. I mean this happened to me. It almost feels like you are calling me a liar or not taking what happened to me seriously.”

“I don’t want anybody to ever have to go through what I went through. It’s painful, it’s awful; you are a pariah. You can’t go near loved ones or friends or family. You can’t really do anything.”

“I just ask that everyone please take it seriously. I would really like to go back to concerts, to restaurants and be able to hang out with my 93 year old Grandpa again.”

Thanks to Ben Holsen for sharing his story. You can reach him at: [email protected]


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