Local Current Blog

Jade: Making music happen, from college to The Current

Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR

“I’ve always been a big fan of music,” said Jade as we sat in the Minnesota Public Radio atrium last week. “I’ve never been able to play instruments, though—and I have a horrible singing voice.” Short of actually making music, though, Jade has spent her career doing just about everything else possible to get awesome sounds out there into the world.

As we celebrate Member Appreciation Week at The Current, I asked Jade to share with our members the story of how she came to be a radio host.

Jade grew up in St. Paul and, like David Campbell, attended Sibley High School. She then went to the University of Kansas, where she majored in journalism.

“I got super into the music scene in college,” said Jade. “I got involved with the campus radio station—I did the local show, and I helped book bands like Spoon and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings to come play the college.” Jade briefly worked for 2024 Records—another connection with David Campbell, who was also working for the Minneapolis indie label, home to bands like Romantica, Valet, and Fitzgerald.

“After I graduated in 2007,” Jade continued, “I moved back up here to Minnesota and started working for Tinderbox Music, doing promotions. I was also doing marketing for City Pages—but then I realized that I just missed radio.”

Jade told this to a friend whose band she was selling merch for, and he suggested that she send an audition tape to The Current. “I went and read from a magazine in his basement. While recording I messed up, but I used that recording anyway. I thought, ‘When Mary Lucia messes up on air, she just corrects it and keeps on going.’ Two weeks later, I got a call: they found a spot for me doing overnights.”

The first day Jade came in to work, she was greeted by Mark Wheat—who she’d been listening to for years, first on Radio K and then on The Current. “Wheat came out of the studio and said, ‘Jade!’ Hearing Wheat say my name in his voice felt like the coolest thing.”

When Jade first started at The Current in 2008, she was live on the air from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., four days a week. “I’d get crazy,” she remembered, but it was an unforgettable experience. “Nobody else was here overnight, and I felt like I ran the station. I’d always leave the phone on, and I’d have long chats about music with people who would call in.”

Later, Jade became the producer for The Current’s Morning Show. Explaining her role as producer, Jade said she was responsible for coordinating just about everything except the words that came out of the hosts’ mouths. “I did a lot of behind-the-scenes prep work: getting guests, researching fun stories, writing blog posts, doing social media.”

In addition to her work at The Current, Jade keeps busy out in the community: she’s a trivia host, she books shows, she runs an event planning company. For years, she was the principal employee at the Minnesota Music Coalition. Among the things she did there was to run a tour that, she said, “brought local music acts out to Greater Minnesota, connecting them to emerging artists.”

Jade now hosts the 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. shift on weekdays, and said she enjoys interacting with The Current’s members. “I love Emily,” she said by way of example. Emily, a high school student, is one of our most devoted fans and came to every one of our “ten random acts of musical kindness” during The Current’s tenth anniversary celebration.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Jade said about her job as a host on The Current. “It’s kind of a dream gig.”