Jon Schober – Go East Young Man!
For the past three years, the Current has been fortunate to have Jon Schober be part of the team. Jon is a native Texan, who arrived in Minnesota in 2008 to go to the U and work at Radio K, and joined the Current in 2010 as an intern, adding responsibilities producing The Local Show, running the Local Current stream, writing for the blog and webpage, and being a host on the Current. This week we wave goodbye to Jon, as he’s headed to New York to become the Assistant Program Director for WYNC, one of the biggest public radio stations in America. Not a bad move for a recent college grad, and we’ll miss him, but we’re kinda like the Mafia here at the Current—once you’re in the family, you are in the family. Before he leaves town, we wanted Jon to share some parting thoughts with the listeners, artists and community that has been his home for the past seven years. —Jim McGuinn
When I graduated high-school in 2008 and told people I was moving from Texas to Minnesota, the quizzical look I almost always got in response became commonplace. “Where is Minnesota?” was the usual inquiry. I was excited to get out of the big, claustrophobic Dallas suburbs and head north to a climate that was more my fit—both weather-wise and culturally. And I was also going on a big whim: I had been listening to Radio K back home during my senior year and figured that it would be fun to one day hold a job in radio. I had no idea if that would ever happen, especially considering the University of Minnesota didn’t have a radio broadcasting major.
When I got to the Twin Cities, I didn’t know just how big a deal this radio market was. And while we’re not the largest by a longshot, we’re definitely blessed to be in one of the most influential. I worked for three years at Radio K doing the music and program director gigs; it became one of the most inspiring times in my college career. From there, The Current hired me on as I wrapped up junior year. I split time between both stations, getting a taste of groundbreaking college radio, as well as groundbreaking non-commercial, AAA radio. During my senior year, I left Radio K to work at The Current full-time. More than three years later, it’s bittersweet to close the chapter on a station that saw me grow up from 20 to 23 years old. Yeah, I’m still a baby—or Baby Schobes as the team affectionately deemed me—but I learned so much from my peers, and I couldn’t have gotten this new gig without them.
The Current became my surrogate family a thousand miles away from my actual family. They celebrated my first legal beer with me. They were there for me when my dad was going through a lot of health issues. They had faith in me to grow professionally and start taking on more responsibility. It’s difficult to leave them now, especially on the brink of so much good that’s about to happen in the station’s future. More than ever, the Current is poised to bring its trademark sound to the rest of the world. I’m glad I got to be a part of it for as long as I did.
Jim asked me to share a few things about my time at the station that are especially memorable. There’s countless moments. First, I’ve got to acknowledge the knowledge and guidance I got from music director David Safar, assistant program director Lindsay Kimball, and of course McGuinn. It will be difficult to find better bosses in my lifetime than those three. Much love to you all.
Every day was a highlight if Jade and I were in the office together. Our cubes face each other, and we gradually built up a collection of trinkets along our little glass sill that became embarrassingly large. And when Kimball sat by us, the amount of beer lining the top of the cubicles started getting crazy. You had to watch where you moved or else they would start falling all over Mike Pengra’s desk—who, by the way, is a trooper for sitting next to three chatty Current staffers for years. You rule Mike!!
David Campbell practically became my brother. I owe him a lot, especially for that long walk at 3 a.m. in downtown St. Paul over the summer. I could always count on Jill and Mary to have a good ol’ fashioned kiki. Swensson brought so much to the local team that I can’t imagine anyone doing my job without her. Derrick Stevens, our production genius, was always the level-headed one. I’m going to miss his professionalism and calm. There better be a clone of him at WNYC.
Some of the best Current moments in the office: Waiting for Lana Del Rey and then getting to meet her—say what you will about the music, but the girl’s a sweetheart. Chatting with Beach House for a bit in advance of the best Twin Cities shows I’ve ever seen. Working with David Safar on New Hot to grow the show, and getting a bunch of awesome sessions in the process, including meeting Nicolas Jaar and crossing that one off the bucket list. Oogling at Dan Savage. Everyone playing hookie when all the work was done on a Friday so we could head down to the Amsterdam for a happy hour soiree. Seeing Steve Seel dive under his desk in horror after we found a website that should never be found again. Interacting with fans in the best way possible during public music meetings. Helping to make the Local Show into a crazy, hap-hazard awesome mess with too many guests each week—but why the hell not… it was fun. And duh: Rock The Garden! And the birthday parties. And all the live broadcasts for the Morning Show. It’s nuts because I’ve seen so much on this fourth floor over the years, and yet now I can’t even remember it all. It was the same when I left Radio K.
Speaking of the Local Show: I want to say a huge thanks to all Minnesota musicians. Collaborating with so many of you has been incredible. I think we’ve all built the strongest community together in years. That’s not going to change anytime soon. When you come through New York, feel free to reach out and let’s grab a beer with all the other expats hanging out there. I want to keep up with how everything is going. Don’t worry, I’ll be watching from afar.
This is just a rambling disaster now, and the clock is ticking before they shut off my e-mail and lock me out of the building forever. But here’s what the future has in store: I’m hopping a plane with one bag and three boxes, squatting for four weeks while I find a place to live and will begin work at a public radio station in the largest market in the country. Music will now be my hobby again; I’ll be working in news at WNYC. That’s kind of a breath of fresh air. It’s sad to think about all the people I can’t put in my suitcase and just relocate them with me. But this is the next chapter, and I gotta go at it alone. Minnesota, I love ya. See you soon. But first, let’s party Friday and Saturday night at First Ave. —Jon Schober