THIEF RIVER FALLS -- A local radio personality was the recent victim of a prank by two comedians connected with the Howard Stern Show.
Mark Allen, the program director for KTRF-AM (1230 AM), was handling the morning "The Trading Post," a call-in show where listeners' used items are for sale, as he has done for 21 years.
On this morning, however, a call came from someone who was impossible to comprehend. The caller sounded like a mumbling elderly person with a bad phone connection and construction equipment running in the background.
Allen took three calls from this inaudible person, giving him a combined five minutes of air time to describe what he had for sale.
But the call actually was coming from the Richard and Sal Show, starring Sal Governale and Richard Christy, two comedians from Stern's show. Their act consists of stunts, song parodies and prank calls.
A frequent bit for them recently is calling radio shows such as the Trading Post, a routine they call Tradio.
Despite the difficulty in understanding the caller, Allen kept giving him a chance to make his pitch. He was polite throughout, although he said he was laughing on the inside.
"I was trying to be Minnesota nice," Allen said. "I let him go and go and go. I kept trying to figure out what he was trying to sell.
"It was a good radio prank."
There was only one thing he didn't like. At the end of the show, a female co-host commented that, because he didn't hang up on the caller, he must have "been desperate for callers."
Not true, Allen said. "We run the Trading Post for 25 minutes, and all four lines stay busy the entire time."
Mark Allen is his radio name. In real life, he's Mark Stromsodt, mayor of Middle River.
To listen to the prank, go to www.youtube.com and search for Richard and Sal Show.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to email@example.com.