MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you don’t recognize his name, you most certainly recognize his voice.
Generations of Minnesotans have heard John Hines on the air for more than 42 years.
He graduated from Minneapolis Roosevelt in 1971 and went to Brown Institute just three days later.
His first job was in Bloomington-Normal, Ill., but, as he says, he was only there 13 months, three weeks, four days and 37 minutes before coming back to Minnesota.
John Hines is now at home at WCCO Radio.
For five years he’s taken calls from listeners and interviewed experts on nearly every subject.
It’s much different than some of the stunts he pulled early in his career when he was paired with Bob Berglund for a decade from 1981-91 at now defunct WLOL.
“For a little bit of time we had an impact, we made an impact,” Hines said.
The two broadcasted from billboards and outside the Metrodome.
“Any real success that I’ve had over these 40 years, or so, is because I’ve been with really great partners,” Hines said.
After WLOL, Hines went to two other stations that included one great partner.
“I went to 1500 KSTP, the music station. Ended up partnering there for a long time with Charlie Bush,” says Hines.
The two shared laughs there in the mid-seventies, until Hines went to host Twin Cities Today for a short time.
“I didn’t like shaving and putting on a tie every day,” Hines said. “So I thought lets go back to radio as quick as possible.”
Hines then went to K102, where he and Bush were paired together again.
It was short lived, however, as Bush passed away from cancer shortly after.
“It happened when we were reunited in 1991, but that was tough,” Hines said.
He says it’s his only low point.
In fact, Hines is very positive. He’s favorite phrase is “cool beans.”
He seems to take painful moments and turn them into memories.
“When I was 9-years-old fishing at my grandfather’s place up near Sartell, Minn. past St. Cloud on the river, I went back and put a number two fish hook so deep in my leg that when the doctor came in to look at it to have it removed, the doctor went “Oh jeez!” And when a doctor winces, you know that’s no good,” Hines said. “So, just to commemorate, I thought ‘I’ll get a little ink.'”
You can now see that hook on the back of his leg. But the tattooed man, who once used to hang out with rock stars, sold his motorcycle to buy a bicycle.
He sometimes rides more than 30 miles.
He’s been at it seven years, and most summer days commutes to WCCO Radio on two wheels.
“I love it because if you commute by car the guy in the car next to you never rolls down his window and says, ‘Hey, hi. How’s it going,'” Hines said.
Hines always finds ways to connect to people.
Perhaps that’s because he grew up in such a large family in South Minneapolis.
“I’ve got a great family with seven siblings and my mom is still with us,” Hines said.
He now has two sons, grandkids and a few ex-wives.
When asked if he’s single now, he replies “yes” with a laugh.
He can laugh at himself, and he uses that self-deprecating humor to entertain listeners.
“You don’t hurt anybody else’s feelings when you make fun of yourself,” Hines said. “And after this many years, if there’s something you don’t know about me then you haven’t asked.”
Feel free to ask away, especially if you recognize his voice.
“Say hi. Unless I have a mouth full of food, then don’t do that,” Hines said.
Because while Hines keeps it real, he’s also very Minnesota Nice.
Hines also has done a lot of work for charity.
He went to Iraq with troops in 2004, prompting his participation in Tee It Up For The Troops.
He’s a board member of Wishes and More, and won the Tom Rivers Humanitarian of the Year by the County Radio Broadcasters in 2008.
John Hines is on WCCO Radio every day from 9 a.m. until noon.
Jamie Yuccas gets to check in with him most weekdays at 10:40 a.m. to talk about the four things you need to know.