Though I was born in Minneapolis and raised in St. Paul and Duluth, I missed the Current’s zeroth birthday. When Minnesota Public Radio’s new station launched on January 24, 2005, I was in Massachusetts, attending graduate school at Harvard University. I knew that something pretty exciting had happened in Minnesota radio, but I had my nose buried deep in dense cultural-analysis texts in a windowless office in Cambridge.
I only came to really appreciate the Current after I finished grad school and moved back to Minnesota in 2007. The voice of Mark Wheat chatted on through those long winter nights, assuring me that there were people in my reclaimed home town who appreciated the brilliance of the new Tegan and Sara album and who were just as excited as I was about the upcoming Gogol Bordello show at First Avenue.
In fall 2007 I became arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet; as I learned more about the local music scene, I came to appreciate how crucial The Current is for our music community—and our Twin Cities community generally. Every local music community across the country has its own distinctive culture, but the Current also gives our scene a voice. Many local artists can sell out First Ave’s Mainroom in part because of the Current’s support; the Current DJs serve as ambassadors and connectors at diverse events across the Twin Cities; and touring artists can build their audiences with studio visits and live session recordings at the Current. The fact that the station is listener-supported means that it takes its mandate from the community, and that sense of community support and investment is happily obvious.
I was excited when the Current expanded its online programming last year to include a Local Current blog updated daily by Andrea Swensson; I’m even more excited to now be joining the Current team myself. My job title is “digital producer,” which makes me feel like I’ve finally grown into the Premiere-inspired suspenders and pegged pants I wore to my eighth-grade graduation. What it actually means that I’ll be working with Andrea and our colleagues to get more writing (and video, and photos, and audio) on the Current’s site. Much of my job will be working with student journalists I’ll recruit to write for us, and I’ll be chiming in myself with news, views, previews, and reviews of music relevant to The Current audience. (I’ll also be contributing to the Classical MPR site.)
I’m still getting my bearings here on Cedar Street (David Campbell‘s christened me “New Guy!”), but you’ll be hearing more from me soon—and I’m looking forward to hearing from you too. What do you want to see on our blog? Leave a comment and let us know!