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Armstrong returns to old job

Armstrong returns to old job

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Mark Armstrong returned to his radio personality roots this week for what appears to be a permanent basis. The Burleigh County commissioner has reunited with his “P.M.S. in the Morning” co-star Phil Parker for their early morning radio show that first ran from 1990 to 1999 on KFYR Radio. The show airs 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. on weekdays.

He said Wednesday that he “will keep the day job” — his full-time duties as communications liaison at the state Workforce Safety & Insurance Agency. He will also continue as county commissioner for the next 18 months. Armstrong said he won’t seek re-election to the county commission. “I don’t believe anybody should serve more than two terms in office,” he said.

As before, Armstrong said his radio duties will include reading the news every half hour and bantering with Parker on various topics and trends. He looks at KFYR Radio as a three-hour part-time morning job. “I am coming in about an hour later at the WSI and using some of my vacation time,” he explained Wednesday. After the 8:31 a.m. newscast ends, he heads to the WSI.

Armstrong estimates he puts in another 30 hours per month in his county commission, city planning commission and county planning commission duties. During the 2009 and 2011 floods, it took a lot more time, he said. He has served on the county commission since 2006.

“I’ve always been kind of a workaholic,” Armstrong said when he was asked how he balances it all. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a couple of years now.”

Radio has come naturally since he first started 40 years ago at age 17, said Armstrong. “People say they like my voice ... I was getting up at the same time (as the radio show) anyway and not working.” He said he is wired to be busy.

He doesn’t believe there is any real conflict of interest being on the air and being a local and state public official. “I’m reading the news. I’m not creating it. ... There will be some crossover now and then. Reading the news is fairly neutral,” he explained.

He said the station relies on Associated Press wire and other news sources to read from. He said there was more risk of conflict when he would guest-host for KFYR Radio’s “What’s on Your Mind.” “You never know what’s going to get thrown at you there,” he said.

Nor does he feel the show’s humor clashes with his public image or commission duties. “It’s always been a family-friendly show. We have listeners age 80 to 8. There is nothing off-color,” Armstrong said.

He said there has been positive feedback for the first few days since he and Parker reunited for the show.

Northern Metals

Northern Metals is negotiating the purchase of 8 acres of property at the Northern Plains Commerce Centre with the city of Bismarck. The Bismarck City Commission on Tuesday went into a brief closed meeting on Tuesday to discuss its negotiation strategy on the sale with City Attorney Charlie Whitman as allowed by state law. When the commission resumed its public meeting, they directed Whitman to negotiate as instructed but did not release any details or figures that Whitman will allow.

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.

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