Local Current Blog

Al Church signs off as Local Current DJ in Residence

Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR

I’ve been to The Current several times in the past few years, whether for an in-studio session or to drop off a new project at the front desk in the hope that it gets to the right people and, if I’m lucky, on the air. This time, it was different. The studio doors were open to me in a new way. It was a radio takeover where I had no rules and could play whatever I wanted. It also turned out to be a collaboration.

Could I play an obscure Space Camp jam? Yep. “Purple Rain” in its entirety? Absolutely. I had the airwaves to pay tribute to the Sacred Heart Music Center’s former organist Joan White Connolly, who saved the church from being demolished; play bands that recorded at the Sound Gallery, which will end its glorious reign at the end of the month; and highlight hometown bands that I love. It felt like my middle school days of having my own radio show on my Duluth deck (with the addition of some sweet microphones, computers and, importantly, an audience).

“Welcome aboard, Al,” said Bill DeVille in his classic radio timbre as I passed him in the hallways on my way to lay down my six-hour set. Later, Dave Campbell let me in on some secrets, including “the sweet spot,” to getting good radio voice levels. Then, I sat in on an impromptu gathering with the Local Show crew about their upcoming broadcast in Duluth and recommended some favorite up-and-coming bands to play it. It was a pleasure to see how open people were to ideas and working with one another.

My experience being the DJ in Residence for the month of July was awesome. It was a great reminder that what we have here is magical. In this town, we have world-class musicians, songwriters, producers and sound engineers—and listening to Local Current will make that clear. Thanks to Kelsey, David Safar, Martin Devaney, Sophia Eris, and everyone at The Current. Stay tuned for the DJ in residence for August, Reina Del Cid!

Al Church‘s last shift as Local Current DJ in Residence will run from noon to 6:00 p.m. today, July 31, on our Local Current music stream. Hear all-local music 24/7 on Local Current, and tune in every Friday afternoon to hear a local musician serving as guest host.