Paul Allen Should Start Caring Again or Retire His KFAN Radio Show

Photo: Dan Myers

Paul Allen (or PA for short) has been a fixture on the Minnesota Sports scene since 1998 when he got his big break at a small-time Twin Cities AM radio station (1130) with the call sign KFAN, which eventually upgraded to the FM frequency (100.3). Then, in 2002, Allen was named the new radio play-by-play voice of the Minnesota Vikings. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, PA is known around the NFL as one of the best and most unique voices in football. His calls of the Minneapolis Miracle in 2017-18, Blair Walsh’s missed field goal in 2015-16 and Brett Favre’s across the body interception in 2009-10 — among many many many others — are branded into Vikings fans brains forever. There’s no doubt, at this point in his career, that Paul Allen is one of the best and most unique broadcast voices in all of sports.

Paul Allen and KFAN weekday sports radio

From 1998-2008, Paul Allen co-hosted a Monday through Friday sports radio show on KFAN called the “PA and Dubay” show. In 2008, Dubay was charged with crack cocaine possession and subsequently fired from KFAN. That’s when the local sports show was renamed “92Noon with Paul Allen”, which is the branding its held ever since.

For two decades, the 9 AM to Noon timeslot at KFAN is what has allowed the station to keep up its reputation as a mostly sports radio outlet. “The Power Trip Morning Show”, which precedes “9 to Noon”, has found substantial success with their humor over sports strategy.

“The Common Man” Dan Cole hits the airwaves after PA. “The Progrum” touts itself as a renaissance show that focuses on anything the host seems interested in that day. Usually that starts with his golf round from that morning and devolves from there.

Then, the legendary sports writer, turned radio personality, Dan Barreiro, takes over the mic from 3 PM to 6:30 PM. The “Bumper to Bumper” show covers hot-button political and/or sports topics equally, depending on what is more pressing that day.

Paul Allen doesn’t care about Minnesota sports anymore

So, that’s where I want to start this blog. I have been listening religiously to KFAN since 2014. But for decades, KFAN has had an addicting mix of sports, humor and news talk, which is how they have grown up to be one of the most successful sports radio stations in the country.

That has changed over the last couple of years, however. Not because The Power Trip, The Common Man or Dan Barreiro have mixed things up. Instead, the noticeable change has come from “9 to Noon” and Paul Allen, who doesn’t seem interested in keeping up with the local Minnesota sports scene any longer.

That’s not an exaggeration. I’ve listened to PA on an almost daily basis for nearly a decade, a commitment that has only grown stronger since creating MinnesotaSportsFan.com and developing it into my full-time occupation.

paul allen kfan radio minnesota sports vikings
Photo: Dan Myers

And with every episode of “9 to Noon” that goes by, it becomes more and more clear just how bored the host is with Minnesota sports. He doesn’t seem to watch games, read about results or keep up on rumors/news regarding any of the local pro or college teams.

Most days, PA uses “9 to Noon” (specifically his producer, Eric Nordquist) as his catch up time where Nordo can fill him in on everything he’s missed since he last left the studio. Nordo does the prep, then reads off questions and news stories to PA for him to react.

Honestly, I’d be surprised if Paul Allen could tell you the last time he picked up and read a sports piece from the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press or The Athletic. Again, that’s not sarcasm. He openly hates being on Twitter too, where almost all sports news is reported.

PA struggles with Vikings’ offseason to-do list

The latest examples of PA’s ignorance came earlier this week, but really, this is just par for his course these days. The Vikings are the biggest team in town and, as previously mentioned, PA is their radio play-by-play voice. But nobody told PA that the NFL no longer has an offseason because, throughout Monday and Tuesday, he made it clear that he has not been following the team this offseason.

On Monday’s show, it dawned on PA that (EDGE) Danielle Hunter’s contract — which calls for him to make just $5 million in cash this season — could become a problem that needs addressed before fall. PA carried his concern into Tuesday’s show, where he couldn’t even concentrate on other topics, it was bothering him so much.

“Are we sure Danielle Hunter is not afraid to stare you down? And, if he stares you down regarding that $5 [million], because you need [all the money] you can get for [Justin Jefferson] and [Christian Darrisaw]… maybe some other things coming down the road. This defense, whether it’s a stand up outside guy [or] hand in the grass left defensive end — which Danielle Hunter is, at his very best. No matter what it is, he’s needed and he knows he’s needed. And [the Vikings] know he’s needed. Then you got that cash-strapped thing (Vikings salary cap problems). I’m not saying it’s lingering and I’m spitballing and I have no steam that this may be a thing. So I may be talking out of my metaphorical butt. I’m just asking, are we sure everything is square, copacetic and hunky dory with Danielle Hunter because that’s a defensive a topic for B-Flo (Brian Flores).”

Paul Allen – KFAN Radio on Tuesday

Oh if only there was information out there that would help PA understand what kind of headspace Danielle Hunter is in. Does he want a new deal? Does he need a new deal in order to play the upcoming season?

Lucky for PA, there are reputable reports, articles, podcasts, videos and blogs all over the internet confirming that Danielle Hunter is unlikely to play for the Vikings under his current contract. In fact, we aggregated a Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) report two months ago that disclosed that exact information.

Since then, I’ve written three more blogs on Hunter’s unhappiness and whether or not he will play for the Vikings next season. My most recent blog, written on May 4 and based on insider reporting, portrayed optimism that Danielle and Kwesi will find common ground on a new contract before the season begins.

But Danielle Hunter’s contract situation isn’t the only Vikings offseason news topic that Paul Allen has avoided like the plague over the last few months. On Tuesday’s episode of “9 to Noon”, Nordo dove into the contract situations of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins.

PA cannot understand why the Vikings would extend JJ and not Kirk Cousins, even though the Vikings have already passed on their most obvious opportunity to sign Cousins to a new deal. Does that mean he won’t get one before the season starts? Not necessarily.

But one thing we can be pretty damn sure of (because it’s been widely reported for multiple months) is that Kwesi & Co will absolutely use this offseason to extend JJ, before he is even more expensive next summer.

NORDO: “If it was up to you, would you allocate the money to Justin Jefferson — as part of a massive [contract] re-do and extension or would you allocate that money to Danielle Hunter to make sure #99 is happy into 2023?”

PA: “Excellent, excellent, excellent question… because you didn’t press me on ‘after June 1st, what would you do with Dalvin’… I’m glad you didn’t do that. Without knowing exactly, or even close to exactly, how [Rob] Brzezinski “the money magician” can move those shells around… it’s a difficult question to answer. But the the overarching question that I will pose, in wonderment: Is there a chance Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins both head into the season without new deals [or] in the final years of deals… and what will that mean?”

Oh, and did you know the Vikings could release Dalvin Cook post June 1 and save an additional $9 million against the cap? If you follow Vikings news at all, like here, you probably did. But PA had no idea when informed of such information on Tuesday.

NORDO: “[The Vikings] have $9 million in cap space.”

PA: “Geez…”

NORDO: “Now Dalvin [Cook], should they look to move on from him — let’s say, with a post-June 1 designation — the team may add another $9 million to the mix.”

PA: “Wow…”

NORDO: “So, let’s call it $16-17 million that they got to play with.”

PA: “Damn, man… June 1 is in a week and change. It may be the love we lost in a week and change… that’s soon!”

9 to Noon – KFAN on Tuesday

These are only the most recent examples of how much Paul Allen refuses to keep up with the local MN sports scene, something that is not a sin for most people. But for PA, keeping up with Minnesota sports is literally his job.

Get back in the game… or move on with your life

And given the fact that PA works with so many people inside the Vikings organization, it can be argued that he should know more about the offseason storylines of Dalvin Cook, Danielle Hunter, Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson than any media personality in town or nationally.

With the connections he has, PA should be helping us decipher Vikings’ news and notes throughout the year. Instead, he’s the last one to know about everything and most of his daily topics have already been run into the ground by others, by the time he realizes such topics exist. How does that happen? Because he doesn’t care to stay updated.

PA seems to be at a point in his life where his job as a daily sports radio host at KFAN is falling to the backburner of his priority list. He is devout in his christian faith (see his Twitter bio), and commits a lot of his off time to preaching gospel. He also headlines as the main track announcer at Canterbury Park, which he loves doing.

There’s nothing wrong with a change in priorities. It happens to the best of us, for a variety of reasons. But sometimes those priorities no longer align with what you’re doing in life. And if Paul Allen no longer follows or cares about Minnesota sports, it’s difficult to host a radio show that focuses on Minnesota sports.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan