Twin Cities radio king tweets his way into substance abuse treatment

After moving to the Twin Cities to work for the Pioneer Press in the mid-1990s, I was surprised to discover that the No. 1 radio personality in Garrison Keillor-land was a loudmouth, Howard Stern-wannabe named Tom Barnard who was constantly offending minorities. (Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J. sometimes referred to him as Tom “Barnyard.”)

Tom Barnard

Tom Barnard

Whatever happened to Minnesota Nice? I wondered.

Barnard has killed the competition in the mornings for about a quarter of a century with his “Minnesota’s angriest man” shtick. The Strib’s Neal Justin wrote in a 2010 profile that the radio king “is showing signs of cooling down and growing up” and “in the past year, he has quit drinking.”

It looks like things changed.

After putting out a string of profane tweets Thursday night, Barnard told his listeners this morning that he’s going to get treatment for substance abuse (wine and pills).

Here are just a few of his Thursday tweets. Twin Cities alt-weekly City Pages has compiled more.


* KQ’s Tom Barnard says he’ll get treatment but remain on the air (

UPDATE — The Strib’s C.J. tells Romenesko readers: “I guess I am not surprised by Tom seeking treatment. When I shot my video interview with him, I left with the nagging feeling that he was dealing with some stuff. …I’m not a doctor but I thought he seemed depressed. I decided that he was just tired.”