Dear Sean Anonymous,
It’s me, Mina Moore: your friend and Local Current Resident DJ predecessor! You’ve by now accepted your invitation to host every Friday from noon until six for the beautiful autumn month also known as October. If you’re reading this, you are in what was my beloved editing suite for the last five weeks (hopefully they’ve emptied the trash), or you’re reading it on your phone at the bar or something. Either way, here’s what I thought you should know.
1. You’re familiar with more local music than you think you are
I actually didn’t realize the residency was for Local Current, and, like some of the other DJs before me, went through a minor panic when faced with the challenge of programming six hours of exclusively Minnesota music. But guess what? We’re musicians, dummy. We know people. You could play six hours of just the people you see at Icehouse. You’re fine.
2. You know nothing about Minnesota music
Minnesota puts out way more music than you thought. Also, did you realize that Minnesota existed before 1980? Turns out there’s music from the ’60s in our state’s catalog, and it’s not all Bob Dylan.
3. You’re an artist, so you can do whatever you want
Within reason. FCC rules and regulations still apply, BUT, as far as programming goes, you’re off the hook! Wanna play a six-minute song from a drone band? Do it! Wanna play a seven minute jam from Morris Day and the Time? Do that, too! Wanna play every ZULUZULUU song in the Local Current catalog every week you’re on the air? My friend, I have and I’ll do it again.
4. You can bring in your own music
Oh, and did I ever. It wasn’t that Local Current didn’t have Lifter Puller’s “Fiestas+Fiascos” or the Melismatics’ “Postmodern Rock” in their catalog. They just didn’t have the track I wanted. But I did. And I brought that sucker in. (Also, can you believe there wasn’t any Jonny Lang in there? C’mon! Adult Contemporary or naw, Jonny slays and I have proudly added my autographed copy of “Lie to Me” to the Local Current library. Workin’ on my legacy, fam.)
5. Kelsey is really nice
Kelsey is your on-site point of contact. She comes and meets you every week and brings you upstairs and asks about your weekend and stuff. But she doesn’t mess around with too much small talk — she wants you to make the most out of your time there, because she knows that you’re busy. She’ll give you helpful advice when it’s time to program, and when it’s time to cut vocal breaks, and she’s always nearby if you get stuck.
6. Everyone at The Current is really nice
During your residence, your desk will be next to Sean McPherson: the bass player, radio personality, Trivia Mafia co-founder, and guy I went to high school with. Kitty-corner from you will be Jade: radio personality, rainbow-ombre champion, and girl I went to middle school with. Dave Safar isn’t too far away, and every once in a while*, Bill DeVille** will compliment you on your new song he heard on The Local Show.
* that will happen exactly once
** you won’t realize it’s him until you get home and you’ll be like, “Oh no s—, that was Bill De-freaking-Ville, man I’m an idiot …” Real casual there at The Current. No last name with the introductions.
7. Tweet it from the rooftops
Let the people know what you’re up to, kween! Shove out a tweet every few hours mentioning who you’re playing. Your followers will see it, their followers will see it, random people will retweet it. Trust me, live-tweeting your own radio show is something every human, non-divas and the like, should do in this lifetime.
8. Play favorites
Hook up your friends! That’s it. Play your friends’ music. No shame.
During at least one of your days spent at the station, plan on being there all day if you can, and really comb through that catalog. Air at least one episode of which you’ve curated every damn song and could go to bat for, should anyone dare question your programming. Six hours is a lot of music. Plenty of times you’ll take a gander on something you’ve never heard before. Chances are, it’s a pretty decent tune, though it’s quite possible that if you took some extra time, you’d find something that you’ve still never heard before, but that you actually f— with. The more time I spent programming, the more times I came across those kinds of songs and artists, some of which I will gladly list for you here.
Siama Matuzungidi (Artist)
The Lewis Connection, “Higher”
Freddy Fresh, “Así Como Me Gusta”
The Monks (Artist)
André Cymone (Artist)
3. Keep your DJ logs
Every week, you’ll print out a log of what you’ve played. Keep those. As working musicians, we always keep a solid list of other local bands and artists whose music we genuinely like, right? Or at least we should! I think we should keep these logs though, so when it’s time to book the next release show, or to refer a booker to another band when you can’t play the show, you’ve got not just a solid list, but hopefully some names of people you wouldn’t have known about before the residency. I’m sure you’ve done that thing we all do, wasting hours — nay, days — trying to come up with the right band to fit the bill, just ‘cause we felt like we didn’t know any. Keep these logs, and you’ve got weeks worth of names.
And there you have it, Sean, 8 to 9 to 3 things I felt you should know as you embark on your fantastical voyage as a month-long-Local Current DJ. I realize you probably already know a lot of this stuff (you have way more Twitter followers than I do), but it’s an open letter and we gotta give the people what they want, right?
Love you, dude! Have fun, can’t wait to hear your show!
Every Friday from noon to 6 p.m., a Minnesota musician takes the mic as our Local Current DJ in Residence. Tune in to Local Current today to hear Mina Moore’s last shift as September DJ in Residence — then come back next Friday to hear whether Sean Anonymous follows her advice.