The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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June 16, 2013

Blues salute

KMSU blues guru nominated for MN Blues Society Hall of Fame

MANKATO -- Mark Halverson is more than a blues aficionado.

The man who produces seven hours of blues programming every week on the KMSU airwaves on a strictly volunteer basis and has spent more than two decades promoting, encouraging and stewarding blues music to listeners in southern Minnesota may soon be a blues hall-of-famer.

The Mankato attorney is a nominee for the 2013 class of the Minnesota Blues Society Hall of Fame in the non-performer category. Society members have until June 30 to cast their ballots.

But for a man who has labored in relative obscurity -- even today, he said, people recognize him more from a public access, Grateful Dead-themed talkshow with former Free Press writer Joe Tougas than any of his radio exploits -- just to be recognized is a reward of its own.

"Especially by that group," said Halverson of the society that inducted its inaugural hall of fame class in 2007. "I know all the nominees in all the categories. There are some pretty impressive names. It's flattering."

Despite the anonymity, Halverson has become an impressive name in its own right.

Synonymous with "liberal ethos, a wry wit and mastery of Blues vernacular" -- or, so says his nomination biography -- Halverson's name has become inextricably linked with blues music in Mankato and beyond.

He began 22 years ago when a spot opened up at KMSU, then a much larger station with about 10 full-time staff members. Halverson and a college buddy who had a large collection of blues records auditioned for the station manager and were given a slot on Sunday nights.

Halverson continues in that slot still today with "Blues Before Monday" from 7-10 p.m. on Sundays. Over the years, he's added Blues Break (11:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays) and Blue Monday (6-7 p.m. on Mondays).

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