by Cori Hilsgen
St. Joseph resident Cy Pfannenstein recently exhibited for KASM –WQPM AM and BOB FM radio station at the Central Minnesota Farm Show held at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.
KASM-WQPM AM1150 and AM1300 are the local agricultural news, weather, sports and information stations for central Minnesota and BOB FM 105.5 is the classic country station for St. Cloud and central Minnesota.
Pfannenstein hosts the “Music for Sunday Morning” show for KASM radio station of Albany. He has been involved with the show for eight years and plays gospel-inspirational, easy-listening, polka music and requested songs. Pfannenstein said it is common for him to answer 50 or more phone calls on a Sunday morning.
For his own personal listening, Pfannenstein likes music of Perry Como, Dean Martin, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
Pfannenstein also does a segment called the E-mail Corner where he shares a joke, story or other article. He also reads the news, weather, sports and funeral announcements of the morning.
After graduating from high school, Pfannenstein played the drums, trumpet and concertina for various bands for more than 35 years. When he began experiencing hip pain and could no longer drum, he started the “Cy Pfannenstein Music Service.”
Through Pfannenstein’s advertising of his Music Service on KASM, he became known around the station and was hired as a part-time afternoon and weekend announcer. Later, he was offered the Sunday morning position.
Pfannenstein enjoys working for the radio station and credits his parents for his musical abilities.
“My parents, Junior (Aloys) and Ginny Pfannenstein, made it possible for me to take concertina lessons from Betty Wolf for five years, starting when I was in the second grade,” Pfannenstein said. “They also started me on the trumpet when I was in fourth grade at the St. Joseph Lab School (and) then continuing at St. Cloud Cathedral for two years and finishing my junior and senior years, graduating from St. Cloud Tech High School.”
Pfannenstein played the trumpet for the Deutschmeisters and Ray Drontle bands. His father, who had been the original drummer for 10 years for the Deutschmeisters, taught him how to play the drums. Pfannenstein then played the drums for the Ray Drontle band, the Harlanders band and others.
“I thank my wife, Janet, for being a faithful stay-at-home mom (and) caring for our three children while I followed in my father’s footsteps, working days at the St. Joe Meat Market and weekends playing music,” Pfannenstein said.
Pfannenstein said his co-workers at the radio station have made him feel very accepted. He started without any experience on computers and said his co-worker, Joe Gill, had the patience to train him and continues to help him learn. He said he feels honored to have worked with Cliff Mitchell, who invited him to many radio events such as the Farm Show, Dairy Expo, Stearns County Fair and Agri Talk coming to Central Minnesota.
Pfannenstein said current station manager Randy Rothstein and his other co-workers make him feel like part of the team.
Listeners have told him he has made a positive difference to them by playing individual requests.
“It’s very humbling to learn of how many people invite me into their homes, barns, work places, business places and along on activities every Sunday morning to ‘listen in,’” Pfannenstein said. “I have been told by various people visiting at the different assisted-living (places) and nursing homes that it’s like stereo when you walk in because almost every room is tuned to KASM.”
Pfannenstein also works full-time at the St. Joseph Meat Market. He began working there for his parents in 1968 and currently has his dad’s former position of being in charge of the sausage department.
“We are now in our new sausage kitchen, and it is a dream come true to be able to work in it,” Pfannenstein said.
Pfannenstein and Janet have been married for 39 years. Janet is a daycare provider. They are the parents of three children. Their daughter, Tammy, died in 1989 of Batten’s Disease. Son Dwight works for the St. Joseph Police Department and also owns Pfannenstein Landscaping. Their other son, Kyle, works for Honer Excavating. Kyle and Dwight also own a party-bus business called “Pfannenstein Transportation.”
Pfannenstein, who will soon turn 60, is the oldest of nine children. He has lived his entire life in the St. Joseph area and said people often ask him how long he plans to continue to keep his busy schedule.
“I usually answer that at this point I don’t know,” Pfannenstein said. “The good Lord willing, I’ll continue for a good number of years.”
The Central Minnesota Farm Show usually runs for three days and has an average attendance of about 4,000 people. Ten percent of the annual revenue generated from the show is used to support agriculture in central Minnesota, such as Dairy Day in Sauk Centre, area seminars and expos. Since 1982, 162 scholarships totaling $62,000 have been awarded to individuals pursuing agricultural careers.