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Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs are used to generating laughs from their radio show by mangling words with more than 11 letters, begging celebrities for interviews on the red carpet and blabbing about sex like the censors were on a sea cruise.

But during a live show from Sip Better wine shop last week, part of their "Long Minnesota Goodbye Tour," the pair were also triggering tears.

"Thanks for messing up my makeup," said Cindy Spreiter, a 66-year-old St. Paul retiree, when asked about the afternoon-drive program she's been hooked on since it helped launch MyTalk 107.1 more than 20 years ago. "It's been my humor fix every day."

If you can't quite wrap your head around the hubbub over their June 27 retirement, imagine how you'd feel if the Minnesota Vikings moved to Omaha or the Guthrie Theater converted into an escape room. That's how much Barghini and Cobbs have meant to a certain demographic.

Over 80% of their audience is women, half of whom are between 35 and 64 years old. This past year, "Lori & Julia" has been the most popular afternoon-drive show in the Twin Cities for adult women, according to Dan Seeman, vice president and general manager for Hubbard Radio, which operates the station.

"They've been a constant in my life," said Karla Raway, a 53-year-old hospice worker from Farmington who credits the pair for helping her get through breast cancer and a divorce. She was at the wine store as her idols ad-libbed their way through one of their typical shows with Barghini fawning over R.E.M., Cobbs confusing a Champagne coupe with something you'd use to house chickens and both declaring Donny Osmond to be one of their all-time best guests. They weren't as sentimental about a phone call with comedian Chelsea Handler.

"She barely said, 'Hi,'" Cobbs said.

The celebrity most associated with the show might be Minneapolis native Melissa Peterman, who played Reba McEntire's foil on "Reba" and currently hosts the syndicated game show "Person, Place or Thing."

"Lori and Julia were the perfect duo for an audience talk radio wasn't serving at the time," said Peterman, who will reunite with McEntire this fall for the NBC sitcom "Happy's Place." "Their genius was their authenticity. They gave the listeners themselves completely and without fear. When I moved to Los Angeles, Lori and Julia and MyTalk became my connection to home. I could listen and feel like I was hanging with my family and friends."

Producer Grant Wenkstern tries to keep the show on the rails as Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs broadcast from Sip Better Wine Shop in Minneapolis.
Producer Grant Wenkstern tries to keep the show on the rails as Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs broadcast from Sip Better Wine Shop in Minneapolis.

Neal Justin, Star Tribune

There are plenty of upcoming chances to thank the pair in person. On Thursday, the 3-6 p.m show will broadcast live from Creative Hair Design in Hastings, followed by a free show at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres on Tuesday. Tickets are getting scarce for their final broadcast June 27 at Fillmore Minneapolis with guest appearances from Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris and musician Chan Poling, who will perform the duo's theme song, "Love Is the Law."

Brittany Arneson and Kendall Mark take over the time slot starting July 8.

"My 2-year-old is going to have a hard time not hearing Julia's voice in the afternoon," said Arneson, who popped by Sip Better to show her support. "Friends ask me what they are like in real life and I tell them, 'Well, what you hear on air is really them.' I don't think they realize the mics are on most of the time. They're not embarrassed to say they're running late because they're putting lipstick on."

Arneson acknowledged that she and Mark have a responsibility to continue what Barghini and Cobbs started.

"Radio moves at a glacial pace," she said. "It blows my mind that it's a big deal to have two women on the air. Who are the best talkers, you know? They're usually women."