And The Charnley Goes To……

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 10:27 am
By: Doug Lund
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Other than the airport, Linda and I haven’t been to the Twin Cities in ages. We remedied that last weekend with a quick trip to attend the Northwest Broadcast News Association’s annual awards banquet. More about that in a minute. 

We used to go there several times a year especially when our daughter, Suzan was attending the University. Both she and her boyfriend (now husband) were in theater and I don’t think we missed many of the productions they were in. Plus we loved going to ballgames and out on the town afterwards to places like The Dakota Bar and Grill on Nicolett (Now Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant) which features wonderful food and terrific live music. 

mpls nyes And, Nye’s Polonaise Room a delightfully quaint corner bar and restaurant just across the river from downtown on East Hennepin. It’s the perfect place for anyone feeling nostalgic for the sixties. The place hasn’t noticeably changed since Al Nye bought it in the late forties. They still have a piano bar on the restaurant side and the world’s most dangerous polka band performs every Friday and Saturday night on a tiny stage at the back of the bar next door.  But we just didn’t have time on this trip to make it to either of them. It is nice, though, knowing they’re still there unlike the Prom Ballroom on University Avenue in St. Paul which went the way of the wrecking ball shortly after our first and only visit there in 1987. It was the last bastion for live big band music in the Cities.

We encountered heavy fog along I-90 Saturday morning and heavy rain and hail when we turned on 35 W. Big Red is still pretty resilient, though, and survived the ice attack without a dimple. I had planned our route to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Bloomington perfectly only to arrive and find out they didn’t have our reservation. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I’ve got a confirmation number right here so you better have a room for us!” “Ah, yes sir, but that is for the Crown Plaza AIRPORT which is East of here a few miles.” If I’d have had a tail it would have been dragging between my legs as I hung my head low and schlumped out of the lobby dragging our suitcase and cooler back to the car.

Well, we found the right hotel and had a delightful evening at the banquet where, for some reason, the Northwest Broadcast News Association saw fit to present me with the Mitchell V. mpls charnley award 009Charnley Award for lifetime achievement. My friend and longtime colleague, Jaine Andrews nominated me and somehow managed to make it flowery and glowing enough for the NBNA board to go along with the idea. Anyway, Mitchell Charnley was a brilliant journalist, writer and professor who spent much of his career at the University Of Minnesota where he taught the likes of Eric Severied, Edwin Newman, Harry Reasoner and Garrison Keillor. Past recipients of the award include Tom Brokaw and Steve Hemmingsen.  It was a great honor and I am humbled by..and grateful for it.


Here I am making my acceptance speech. Fortunately the audience laughed in all the appropriate places.

Here I am making my acceptance speech. Fortunately the audience laughed in all the appropriate places.

We chugged home on highways 169 and 60 which may be slower than the interstate but  a lot more scenic even at this time of year before the Minnesota Valley trees have had a chance blossom. Plus it gives me a chance to repeat that terrible old joke whenever we drive past the Jolly Green Giant billboard at Le Sueur. “Look, Linda, at the Jolly Green Giant as he stands over his corn and peas…ha, ha ha.” She always humors me with a little smile but I think it’s mostly out of pity for such a pitiful tradition.

I’m heading back out to the golf course today where, so far, my game is showing a few signs of improvement. Such wonderful things happening to me at this golden age of geezerhood.

My cup runneth over. (DD)


  1. Steve Kant says:

    Congratulations, you are deserving. I’ll never go past the Green Giant without thinking of you and that joke. Thanks for the laugh

  2. FOSH says:

    My wife and I were up there this weekend for a Twins game, and we actually stayed at the Crowne in Bloomington (NOT AIRPORT) at the HWY 100/494 interchange. I believe that would have been the one you initially went to. You didn’t miss much at this Crowne. They didn’t televise the games in the room so we had to watch Saturday nights game from the bar (clever idea if you ever run a hotel), which was less than steller. We went to Sundays game and it was the first time i had been to The Great Target Field! It really is quite the place.

    P.S. i took 60/169 both ways and the river north of St. Peter sure is high. They had sand bagged the right side of the northbound lanes for a short distance. I like that drive no matter what time of the year.

  3. Per Pål P says:

    Congratulations my friend….There is nobody more deserving of the award than you….You are truly among the best…..Again…thanks for staying in South Dakota so we all could enjoy your talents. Grant

  4. LeAnn says:

    What a Wonderful Wonderful honor, you SOOOOOOO deserve this!!!!!!!

  5. Steve says:


    Congratulations on your award. Well done!!

  6. Sweeps says:

    Congratulations on the well deserved Charnley award, Doug! As for Nye’s Bar, I don’t THINK I’ve been there, but it looks oh-so-similar to a wonderful little out-of-the-way corner joint my brother took me to a few years ago not too far from the University campus. My mother called me her “hamburger kid”, and this little joint had STUFFED hamburgers and homemade french fries! Oh my gosh! I died and went to heaven on that trip!

  7. Sweeps says:

    Oh, and as for the Jolly Green Giant, that joke went through our family, too … many times. Sorry, Linda, you’re not the only one who rolls her eyes!

  8. Judy M says:

    Congratulations, Doug – Class of 1964 is very proud of you.

  9. Bryan Bjerke says:

    Congratulations Doug on this well-deserved honor! I’m very happy for you. I knew a kid from Volga would grow up to do great things and then be honored for them.

  10. Peg says:

    Congratulations Doug…

    PS Could you let me know when you leave town in Big Red…I want to be sure I stay home…you don’t do well in the weather department for your travels.

  11. Jack says:

    Doug, Congratulations on a well deserved honor! I am sure Tom and Steve are honored to have their names next to yours on the Charnley Award.

  12. Glen Bren, Brookings. says:

    Hi Doug. I ran into Grant this morning and he suggested that I contact you on some KELO History. In Dec 1955 I appeared on a March of Dimes telethon on KELO. It was in, I believe the State theater. Dave Dedrick was the MC. I did a vocal of a Pop song called ( I Believe). The Kokonis sisters also appeared from Brookings. Their parents owned the original Pizza King. Could you find out if this was the First Telethon on KELO? If it was , I plan on doing that same song at our alumni banquet this summer, as it is our 55th class reunion. I would like to announce it as the first, if indeed it was the first. No hurry and thanks ahead of time for your time. I really enjoy you guys on the radio with grant.

  13. grouse says:

    Congratulations Duck! I didn’t realize this was such a hotsy totsy award, given out at the Crowne Plaza no less! Most broadcasting and journalism awards are usually handed out by some half in the bag executive in the lobby of a Motel 6. As a bonus, Crowne Plaza towels and silver will make a nice addition to the house. Of course the down side is that Crowne Plazas usually don’t have any of those little mustard and ketchup packets that can really come in handy. Once again, congratulations….and we’ll leave the light on for ya.

  14. Congrats Doug, a job well done, Dave would have been proud of you. Nyes was our favorite place to go. Is that piano player still there? You and Linda have to come over and see my new digs, maybe have a toddy or two? Congrats again. I like the way you sign off.

    Life is good,


  15. Denny G says:

    Congratulations, Doug. An honor well deserved. Over our years of friendship, I’ve seen the humor and creativity, that has made you the personality you are today. Keep it up! I mean, keep up the good work!

  16. Suzan says:

    Wow! How did I not know this was happening? Congratulations! You certainly deserve it. Wish I could have gone with you. I haven’t thought about Nye’s in ages. Love you!

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