"In the deep valleys and river bluffs of southeastern Minnesota in the '70s, and in the early days of KLSE public radio, reception of any sort of broadcast signal was, at best, spotty," recalls Kevin Scattum. "I'd been drawn to classical music even as a boy, but it wasn't until I moved to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota that I was even able to hear it well, much less listen to it seriously. From my savings and the money I earned from my work-study program at the U, I was able to buy a Harman/Kardon 330A, not a bad receiver—and still in service, and the best speakers I could buy (that's to say, far from the best). But to compensate for any deficiencies I may have had in my set-up, I already possessed some of the most coveted equipment in all of high-fidelity reproduction: a perfectly balanced, matching-set of young ears (equipment, believe me, I wish every day I still had).
"So, after coming home after a long day of work and study to my rather shabby rooming house, I could turn on MPR and—with only the illumination of the red-lit power button and the rather ghostly green-lit tuning scale of the receiver—still feel like I was in a concert hall. That very same year I made another satisfying investment in my newfound passion for classical music and public radio by becoming a member of MPR, a practice I, and now along with my wife Leela, have sustained all these years which has, in turn, sustained us.
"In addition to the music, we cannot say enough about the importance of the roles the hosts play in presenting it. Some of the best driveway moments I've ever had have not been listening to music, but to one of the hosts finishing a story, relaying a personal anecdote, or bringing us up to date on the latest gossip of 1780. They are our intelligent and eloquent friends who have traveled far in physical terms and in the realms of musical lore and come back to enlighten us on things we would want to know but haven't had the time or the ticket to pursue for ourselves. It sometimes feels like a guilty pleasure making them do all the work. Every day they refresh us on the art and joys of civil discourse, make scholarly knowledge available and accessible without condescending to us, yet are never afraid to send us to Google or a dictionary to get their full meaning. We have travelled to many places in the country and found other talented people doing similar work, but nowhere found the same consistency across the board that MPR provides.
"Although we spend most of our time with classical music programming, we are fans of MPR News and The Current, as well. We like the way the news always tries to play it straight, veering neither left or right, yet never neglecting to let either side have their say. We appreciate their attempts and willingness to invoke honest emotion without trying to either sensationalize or sentimentalize it, and strongly believe it could serve as a model for any news organization.
"These are just some of the reasons we have chosen to include MPR in our estate plan and to establish an endowment fund for classical music."