89.3 The Current launched in Minnesota back in January 2005. For our 10th Anniversary we're answering your questions about what it is really like to run a radio station in today's world of abundance of musical choices.

Why do some songs or bands get played but others don't? Is the office really like WKRP? What's the Minnesota music scene like today? How do we find new music?

Ask away!

Program Director Jim McGuinn, Music Director David Safar, and Assistant Music Program Director Lindsay Kimball from thecurrent.org will answer your questions Wednesday Jan. 21, 2015 2-5p ET

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152521051342657

Thanks for all the questions, guys! This was a lot of fun. Here's to 10 more years!

Comments: 172 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

edenperry42 karma

Hi Jim, Hi David, Hi Lindsay,

Thanks for doing this AMA! I want to preface by saying I hope my comment comes off as more of a concern than a criticism, as that’s the way I feel about it. I also want to say that I feel the Current has had a pivotal role in improving the quality of social life in the Twin Cities, and for that I am grateful, but I feel as if the Current isn’t what it once was.

I’ve listened since 2005 and have been a member since 2009 or 2010 but recently I have found that my listening time has shifted more to Radio K, and I fear that my membership may soon make the same move. I feel as if the Current has lost its sense of adventure; it is no longer the advocate for new and unheard music that it once was.

That’s not to say the Current doesn’t play new music – New Hot (great program) is dedicated almost entirely to this idea. But that is once per week and late in the evening; there was a time when I would hear a song I’d never heard before every hour, if not more often. Over the past few years I feel like this has occurred less and less frequently. Now I tune to the Current expecting to hear indie megahits or Doomtree. Most new music that gets played is new music from established artists – Weezer, Sleater-Kinney, OK GO, Robert Plant – artists that don’t NEED exposure from the Current like a new artist does. Doomtree doesn’t need the Current anymore.

I don’t mean to say don’t play this music, obviously it’s very popular. But it feels as if these musical plants have grown so large they’re absorbing all of the sunlight and suffocating smaller plants trying to grow. As our musical gardeners, perhaps you ought to trim the big guys to let the little ones grow more?

So my question is: what plans do you have to continue/renew the spirit of musical adventure and exploration upon which the Current was founded?

TheCurrent89311 karma

First, glad you like New Hot. That's one great way we bring new music to listeners. We strive to add the right new music for our audience, which is really a diverse continuum of music knowledge and tastes. There are many people who are just discovering Sleater-Kinney for the first time this week and that's exciting. There are other people who have an enclycopdic knowledge and for them we try to add features like Song of the Day & New Hot.

Thanks for introducing this idea of the station being a musical gardener, we're going to hold that idea and think back on this

bigdubb249125 karma

Can you give some clarification as to why over the past 10 years that the number of unique artists has declined nearly 20%?

source: http://minnepixels.com/thecurrentplaylist

edit: fixed redundancy in the question

TheCurrent8933 karma

We tightened the library in '08 but the number of unique songs (minnepixel is measuring songs here) have since continued to increase.

Unfortunately some of our speciality shows & playlists aren't tracked.

It blows our mind that someone created this piece of software to track us - this is so flattering.

bigdubb249113 karma

This doesn't really answer the question. Why tighten it up? Clearly the diversity is what drew people to th current. Not the perpetual playing of doom tree, trampled by turtles, and Jeremy messer smith. I go months without hearing anything jazz related, Coltrane, Davis, Mingus, etc. no old blues.

TheCurrent8931 karma

Monday I played Mingus and Robert Johnson, wish you would have caught it. Please keep the suggestions and requests coming. -Jim

the_original_cabbey19 karma

As a founding sustainer, one of the things I miss the most about the original current programming is the deep and eclectic variety that was played. A new modern hiphop track would be followed by some 10 year old piece of R&B that the artist said influenced the new track, then a 30 year old piece of jazz that influenced that old piece of R&B. Or the DJ would play some old eclectic piece of rock and then follow it up with some modern local music that is just the same kind of vibe and feel and they flow together perfectly.

These days there seems to be a much smaller variety of music that is played much more often. It's not as bad as top 40 playing the same 40 tracks over and over... maybe more like top 100 it feels.

How many different songs do you play in a day/week?

Is there any chance of being able to go back to those old days, maybe even just as a single daily show?

TheCurrent8932 karma

Well, wow. We play about 350 songs a day, times seven... we play about a thousand different songs per week. I think it's around 15,000 different songs a year? Sorry, this is LIVE math.

We juxtapose more now, rather than clump three indie rock songs in a row like before. We still play all the genres you mention, but maybe not in the same order you describe. We've been adding specialized shows like New Hot, and H2 and Transmission and United States of Americana to give a focused look at a style or genre. We also have Local Current, Wonderground and Radio Heartland. But just yesterday Mary played three punk songs in a row while talking about Billy Idol, so yeah, we break our own rules.

Please be sure to request songs, it's one of the ways we add them.

squipple0 karma

I've requested the band Braids many times. From searching the playlist DB it looks like they did get played once two years ago. How many requests actually get played? Do requests need to meet some requirement?

TheCurrent8931 karma

We get a lot of requests. We try to fulfill as many of them as possible. They do not need to meet some requirement (besides being in our library). Every Saturday night on Radio Free Current, 4 hours of all requests, we always get more requests than we can fit.

Sometimes DJs fulfill requests based on their mood and theme of their show — that's up to them. Requests also have to work for the larger audience.


Will you ask Mark Wheat to record a voicemail greeting for me?

TheCurrent8939 karma


Thanks for the member thank you gift idea!

marsist10 karma

Lindsay Kimball's voice on Friday mornings right before 6am makes me smile as I go to work. Are you guys worried about the new Go 96.3 station at all?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Awww. Turning red here. - Lindsay

(she really is.)

We're not worried - we love our listeners, and we're going to continue to work to make The Current the best station it can be. We have to do that whether there's competition or not.

DrColossus6 karma

One thing that always frustrates me when listening to the current is you will play a promo for CD of the Week but almost never play a song from that album after it. I'm always excited to hear more but then there's a different artist that follows. Is this a possible change that could be made or is it too difficult from a programing perspective? I have to imagine other people feel the same way.

TheCurrent8934 karma

The album of the week artists actually get more exposure because we don't schedule the promo with the song.

It's a good idea and we'll think about changing up the promo and syncing them - thanks for that!

Trivia add: Almost every week our album of the week ends up in the top five of sales at Twin Cities record stores. We think the promo and review help expose some of the best music we play.

franklin_stubbs6 karma

I love the current...except from 9-5. I find the music played during the day to be incredibly boring. It's all the same stuff. Can you add more variety during the day?

TheCurrent8939 karma

We looked at the playlist just now and the last played (in this order) D'Angelo, Bon Iver, the Barr Brothers, Aphex Twin and Laura Marling... so...

captainbeaver5 karma

Does the station have a set playlist from a music director? Do your ratings affect your budget?

TheCurrent8931 karma

We're the programming team for the station and we collaborate with the hosts to pick music. It could be features, new songs, requests from listeners... but no, there isn't a single person who picks all the music for The Current. We are able to (and often do) change the music on the fly and in the moment. i.e. Snow songs!

Ratings are one way of measuring how people are listening. More listeners, more members!

caroline_5 karma

Hi guys. In 2009 I heard you (Jim) talk about your young son and who his favorite musicians are, and because of that, I became a sustaining member and have been ever since. I've attended Rock the Gardens, and Current B-days, and a ton of other sponsored events. I have friends at the station and it's always on in the background in my house.

That said, I find myself more frustrated with the day-to-day programming than excited. Used to be I could listen to The Current for only an hour and hear something I’d never heard before. These days the playlist is entirely predictable, and lacks any sort of variety. Is there a need to push certain singles from certain artists? For example, why play the same Beck or St. Vincent song 4 times a day, when they have such rich and detailed back catalogs? My understanding of The Current was that it’s open format. You will hear anything, and are more than likely to get a deeper cut every hour.

Now you are celebrating your birthday with 10 days of events. If you want my sustainer opinion, that is outrageous. A radio station that once had humble beginnings has transformed into (excuse me here) a self-congratulatory conglomerate, and a mold of a media establishment it claims to reject. What other radio station would throw itself a 10 day party?

For the record, there are things I love which I feel force the DJs to get creative: Time Machine & A-Z Weekends. I love New Hot,Transmission and Teenage Kicks and you ARE a major mouthpiece for local talent, though there's more to the scene than Doomtree and Jeremy Messersmith. I say all these things out of love for the station. If I didn't have so many warm feelings for you guys, I wouldn't feel so let down.

So, finally, will The Current, once a bastion of diversity in music, ever return to those more humble beginnings? Are you yourselves aware of this change in the station?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Glad you love when hosts get creative and the local music! We don't play the same song four times a day but you might hear the same artist if you listen non-stop. Some listeners only can listen for short periods during the day and we want them to hear the new St. Vincent too. Balancing the musical needs of heavy and light listeners is something we think about all the time.

The 10 days of events was to be something for everyone - in the past not everyone has been able to be a part of the party, so we tried events like tubing so families could join and the public music meeting / karaoke so more people could participate.

We debated doing things all year long or a concentrated 10 days and get back to work. 10 years wouldn't have been possible without our listeners and we want as many people as possible to have fun. We hope we'll see you at one of them or tune in to hear the highlights on the air!

Smeez5 karma

I've been a sustaining member for years now and would like to donate more but my income doesn't really allow it. I've always been curious though - do you have any volunteer opportunities? I'd love to help support the station more and simply become more involved.

Also, how do I get my free tour of the station?

TheCurrent8934 karma

Volunteer contact is here: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/support/individual/volunteer.shtml there are always some great opps and events...

Okay here's how to schedule a tour http://www.publicradio.org/applications/formbuilder/user/form_display.php?form_code=eab9ef7e71e4

TheCurrent8932 karma

YES! Yes we do.

Hang on we'll get you links.

zongballyhush5 karma

During in-studios, I'm always impressed by how little time there is between a band introducing their next song and the first note. Are they really that good at starting their song so quickly, or are the songs recorded beforehand and then spliced into the interview?

TheCurrent8936 karma

If it's pre-recorded, we tighten it up a bit. When it's live, it's usually that tight, too. –LK

MentallyLostContext5 karma

What is your favorite "off the beaten path" venue in the twin cities? (if it's in the first ave calendar you're not doing it right!)

TheCurrent8933 karma

There's a ton of awesome venues around the Twin Cities, it's hard to pick. The Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre is great. It's small, and those intimate shows can be really special. –LK

TheCurrent8932 karma

There's a ton of awesome venues around the Twin Cities, it's hard to pick. The Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre is great. It's small, and those intimate shows can be really special. –LK

Matronix4 karma

When someone comes on to do Thief of the Dial... do they have any limitations of what they can or cannot play?

bigdubb24916 karma

You should open up a theft of the dial to a listener once in a while. You'd be surprised what people might show up with. Might be kind of cool.

TheCurrent8931 karma

That's a cool idea.

TheCurrent8934 karma

Generally, no, but if the content is inappropriate then we may ask them to pick another song. We've only asked artists to pick different songs twice in the history of Theft of the Dials. — LK

the_original_cabbey1 karma

so that brings up an interesting question... what did they want to play that you felt you couldn't allow?

TheCurrent8936 karma

One of the songs had, like, 20 swear words. The edit wouldn't have sounded good on the radio. –LK

sajimo4 karma

Did you find Barb's hiccups on-air today hilarious or was it just me?

Love what you do. Been a member for a few years. I bet you are all exhausted from the 10 year celebration. Thanks for all your hard work.

TheCurrent8932 karma

At least you know it's a real live human behind the mic!

Exhausted? Nah! More like exhilarated! And maybe a little exhausted too.

Ready_Set_Ex3 karma

How does your job affect your personal life? Seems like you're frequently working during "non" work hours.

TheCurrent8935 karma

Jim here I'm going to take this. This job is my life, and my life is awesome. The hours vary, but so often I'm pinching myself saying, "This is my job!? I get paid to do this?" Usually that's when I'm 8 feet from my favorite artist or realizing I've spent the last hour debating which Thin Lizzy is the best.

I do make sure to make my family a priority. Minnesota is pretty awesome so we use our two kayaks and five hockey sticks every chance we get.

doubleasterisk2 karma

Which Thin Lizzy is the Best???

TheCurrent8935 karma

Jim here. Jailbreak.

TheCurrent8931 karma

But wait! Special add - Live and Dangerous, BEST. LIVE. ALBUM. EVER.

See this is why discussions keep happening.

zongballyhush3 karma

When I'm listening to the online stream, every so often a promo and a weather update will play back-to-back. It usually comes in at the end of a host's sentence, then when the spots are done, the host comes back and introduces the upcoming song. How does this work timing-wise? Does the host control when those spots are played? When the spots are playing on the online stream, are the hosts still talking on the FM broadcast? (I've meant to listen to the FM broadcast and the online stream at the same time to investigate this). Also, I've noticed that the station identification spots at the top of the hour are not on the online stream either. Same thing?

TheCurrent8933 karma

You are reallly perceptive. We have a special button that cuts from the live host and plays other content like local weather on the stream...the host has a countdown clock and the stream rejoins after 60 seconds. Sometimes everything works, sometimes...errr not so much.

Thats a great question. - Jim

45degreesnorth3 karma

My wife and I love your station. Over the years, The Current has opened our ears to more and more previously unexplored artists. We would like to hear more world music. Maybe from time to time focus on specific parts of the world. Is this possibly an option?

TheCurrent8931 karma

We have some great artists in the library new and old like Bombino, Tinariwen, Omar Souleyman, and more. The Coffee Break will sometimes also highlight a region or country...but we'll talk about this.

Who would you like to hear?

NatureEater3 karma

Hey there! Huge fan. Living in Fargo, North Dakota, I am constantly streaming your show to spice up my intellect as much as possible.

Have you ever set up an interview or guest spot, and it went in a completely different direction or they unexpectedly took your breath away? I love these moments!

TheCurrent8937 karma

Well.... (Lindsay here) Mary Lucia was interviewing Frank Black as Black Francis and he was telling this story...well, it was about LEMURS and... I was producing it and wondering if I'd have to edit this whole thing out, but just as we thought this was going absolutely nowhere he wrapped the whole thing as how he wrote 'Velouria'.

small_town_moon3 karma

Congrats on 10 years! I love The Current and I'm proud to be a sustaining member.

If money were no object, who would your dream Rock the Garden lineup be? (You could even bring back people from the dead to perform)

TheCurrent8936 karma

Johnny Cash opens for Johnny Cash, two days in a row. –DS

Pint Floyd with Sid Barrett, Iggy and the Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, the Clash and Ziggy-era Bowie. –JM

Led Zeppelin, the Avett Brothers, Patsy Cline, Spoon (dream came true), and Bon Iver (dream came true again). –LK

thomfountain3 karma

Do you ever fear the Current getting too big or too popular that it would affect your work/message?

TheCurrent8935 karma


Hopper133 karma

Hello from Mankato. First of all, I love The Current. And as a former radio jock, I really appreciate how lucky we are to have a station like it. With that said, I have two questions:

1.). Can you please find a way to have one, working signal down here? Both signals are very weak and rarely can you drive more than a mile without static. Also, because the signal is so weak, we are stuck listening to a horrible classic rock station at work.

2.) Any chance that Teenage Kicks and United States of Americana can become 4 hour shows? They both make my weekend that much more enjoyable.

Thanks and keep up the great work.

TheCurrent8933 karma

Jim here - We'd love to have a great signal there too. The translators are the best we can do right now.

I love those shows too! As a 40-something parent, I'm up at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and those shows feel right at that time and that length. Thanks for sharing your weekend mornings with us!

M_Librarian3 karma

Do you ever worry that you're too "cozy" to some local artists to view their work critically? More pointedly: if an artist does a Current-hosted album release or participates in-studios and member events (which are mutually beneficial to station and musician), can you post an album review to the website without their being a conflict of interest?

I want to add that the station does AWESOME work promoting local music. I just think the online album reviews are suspect.

TheCurrent8932 karma

Maybe our Minnesota Nice is showing? We don't see the value in reviewing or heavily playing albums we don't like.

Thanks for acknowledging our work promoting local music!

beatitbox2 karma

Listening to The Current while on Reddit is my favorite pastime, so this is like a dream come true :) I just want to say hello all the way from Croatia. My girlfriend and I have been streaming your station for a few years now and we love it. The music is excellent and your talk about snow and cold weather make me feel good about the winter in Croatia. Happy 10th and keep up the good work.

Can you play some Decemberists?

TheCurrent8935 karma

Hi from Minnesota!

Decemberists are our album of the week so yeah, catch it!

Frajer2 karma

when you have an in studio performance do you know what they will perform ahead of time ?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Sometimes, and sometimes we're surprised about what an artist might cover. Or the instrumentation might be a surprise. And sometimes a host will throw a curveball and ask the artist to play a specific cover on the spot, and sometimes the artist will! When Jake Bugg was in, he was soundchecking with an Everly Brothers tune, and we could hear it throughout the building, so in front of the audience Mark Wheat asked Jake to do the song and he did! And Cathy's Clown is now on Live Current Cover to Cover album. - McGuinn

celliott962 karma

Love the station, what is the coolest moment that has happened to you while working at The Current?

TheCurrent8935 karma

The cooooolest moment of working at The Current? Too many to describe just one, but most recently I got to meet Robert Plant. He was a childhood hero of mine. - David Safar

Bluth-President2 karma

Any chance of MN Music on a Stick vinyl (or any format) releases in the future?

Also, I just want to say, watching Purple Rain at Films at the Fitz was THE most fun I've ever had watching a movie. And I'm not just talking about the whole evening (which was fantastic - I loved the format of the live music), but the film itself...I've never been to a movie with so much crowd interaction. It was amazing.

What I'm saying is, happy anniversary - but please let Films at the Fitz live on past your anniversary celebrations!

TheCurrent8932 karma

AWESOME. We were all there at the movie and it was fun and we should do it again.

We try to do more than just play music on The Current and streaming new music, but when the stars align and there's an opportunity to package music in a physical format like vinyl, we do. Good example is the new 10" record the staff assembled: http://www.thecurrent.org/events/2015/01/16/951/the-current-makes-a-record-the-hold-steadythe-suicide-commandos-10-release-party/

ScaryHariet2 karma

What is your favorite in-studio session from the last 10 years?

I stumbled upon the Current probably within a few months of it starting 10 years ago. I've since moved out of state and it's just not the same riding in the car without it. I still stream as often as I can though. Thanks so much for introducing me to so much great music!

TheCurrent8933 karma

PamOpticon2 karma

i've been a huge fan of minnesota radio for years and years - radio k, rev 105, the current - even though i live out of state now, i feel that listening to mn stations keeps me connected to those roots.

what effect, if any, does streaming have on your programming or costs? are out-of-state listeners a demographic that fits into your planning, or are we a bonus/hindrance?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Bonus! Obviously!

Streaming is a cost - but we plan for it as part of our operating budget so if you're outside of the broadcast area, its worth it because it makes our community larger. (See the fan from Croatia)

How else would Mark Wheat do a global shoutout?!

cantey772 karma

Nikki Lane - Right Time. What was up with that?

TheCurrent8932 karma

Any day or night time. It's always the right time. Did we do the wrong thing?

Ready_Set_Ex2 karma

Who are your predictions for 2015's break out artists?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Tough to predict, but here are five artist that David Safar is watching: Leon Bridges, Seinabo Sey, Bully, Tobias Jesso Jr. and RONiia.

BarefootScientist2 karma

Hey folks, love the station! Been listening since 2008, but had to switch to streaming in 2012 when I moved to Houston Tx. My question is, I noticed a few months ago that the quality of the stream seemed to be much lower than it was previously. I thought that perhaps this was just my iPhone, but the quality sounds the same on my laptop...did you guys lower the quality of the stream? Thanks!

Shoutout to Barb for letting me know this was going on!

TheCurrent8932 karma

Thanks for listening! We are always working to provide the best experience for our streamers. We did make some changes recently to address some issues with loudness consistency, but it shouldn't have affected the encoding quality. We do think it sounds better, but we'll kick the tires again just to be sure.

Getinthevandude2 karma

First thank you guys for doing this AMA. My question for you is how do you discover new music you've introduced me to so much cool stuff! Los compasinos, Bon Iver, and many more! I heard a DJ once say that the least of their time is spent on air. Is there a process to music discovery? I'm from Florida and moved here three years ago. You guys were my first/ best friends since day one sincerely, thank you!

TheCurrent8936 karma

Hey Florida, how do you like the winter?

Each DJ has their own process for prepping and finding new music and preparing for shows (specialty shows or otherwise). Most if not all of our DJs are really diligent about responding to listeners. They interact with them on a daily basis.

Thatsjusthogwash2 karma

I moved to Minnesota from upstate NY and swore I'd never find a radio station I'd love as much as my one from home. I was proven wrong as I've set my station to the Current and haven't moved it in three years.

My question is for Lindsey, how likely is it that you'd be able to get me in to meet Seth Avett in March. Not likely you say? Well shit.

TheCurrent8934 karma

So here's the plan: You come to MPR. Knock on the door 4 times. The secret password is "Elliott Smith." We'll sneak up the staircase at the Fitzgerald Theater. After soundcheck, you hide in the bass drum and I'll hide in the guitar case. Start stretching now — we'll be ready for Cirque du Soleil after this. After the third song, we'll jump out and join Seth and Jessica for "Needle in the Hay." This is a good plan. I think this is going to work. –LK

agentcarmichael12 karma

How does it feel contending against CBS and ClearChannel?

Also, who was your favorite guest to interview.

Finally, what has been the oddest request you have ever gotten from a listener?

TheCurrent8932 karma

That's the business and we do our best.

I once asked Tom Morello what he would say to President Bush and his reply was "You're under arrest for treason." After a five minute tirade, he followed up with, "Isn't that what you'd say?" That was awkward. –JM

I really liked talking to Adele. I could have beers with her. –LK

I had a listener ask me on a date once. –LK

Woohooirulelol2 karma

Hey guys, big fan of the station. Excited for the ten year anniversary stuff. simple question: what song/band do you wish the current played more of?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Lindsay Kimball here - I could listen to Bon Iver every day of my life but I'm a superfan.

smakola2 karma

How tall is Mark Wheat?

TheCurrent8932 karma

Barefoot or with slippers on? We're gonna go with 6'2". – LK

Bluth-President2 karma

Any plans for guest DJs in the future - similar to P.O.S.'s situation?

TheCurrent8933 karma

We talk about it all the time - stay tuned.

ZuesAndHisBeard2 karma

The Current always claims to have such a unique playlist, but I have a question for you - does The Current actually keep tally on how many times it plays a track? And if so, has it been considered to reference that tally when playing the top charts? I remember in 2012 hearing the song "Default" every time I got into my car, and recently I can recall a time where I got into my car at three different times in one day and heard "Take Me to Church" on all three trips.

By the way, I love the Current - I've been a sustaining member for 3 years now. I adore Jill and Steve in the morning.

TheCurrent8932 karma

Thanks for being a sustaining member! We like Steve and Jill too!

Yes we keep a tally of how many times we play songs, does that affect The Chart Show? No -- it's a listener voted chart.

We started playing Hozier in the summer and we responded to our listeners who rated it highly and requested it frequently -- it was our number one song of 2014 on our Top 89 poll. Now that it's getting played everywhere we will probably play it less, or play other songs by Hozier like "Jackie and Wilson" and "From Eden."

JigsawJones2 karma

Hey guys, huge fan and can't wait for the show on Friday!

Who decides what songs get played and how often? Do specific DJs have any input into what songs go on air or is it just a computer program?

TheCurrent8933 karma

We're the programming team for the station and we collaborate with the DJs to pick music. It could be features, new songs, requests from listeners... it takes a village to program The Current. (But you probably don't want us to collectively raise a child)

_forthisAMA2 karma

What do you look for in new local artists to add to your rotation? I know more than a handful of local musicians and bands who are making great music – they send it in, distribute digitally, and play very well attended shows in the area. However, they still never seem to make it onto the radar... any other tips/insight?

I like the musical gardeners metaphor that edenperry used to talk about The Current’s presence in the scene, it communicates what I wanted to say before I could find the words. Any advice for seedlings?

TheCurrent8932 karma

That's an awesome question.

We have multiple platforms for highlighting local music -- The Local Show, Local Current stream and Local Current blog are all places (in addition to 89.3 FM's regular rotation) where artists can be heard and can connect with us.

You are correct that we can't play every band locally or nationally -- whether they're from our community or not. We're making our decisions based on what we think will appeal to our listeners -- some of whom go to live shows, many do not. We play about 600 local artists a year -- we try to keep tabs on as many things as we can, but things do sometimes fall through the cracks. A lot of artists reach out to let us know what we're doing, and that helps inform our process picking music.

We are looking for artists who are making great music and who have a fan base through gigs and/or press.

But the most important thing is to just reach out.

Man_Flute1 karma

What's a normal 9-5 day look like?

TheCurrent8933 karma

Email, email, email. Meeting, meeting, meeting. Listen to music. Discuss the latest viral video with Jill Riley. Talk prog-rock with Steve Seel. Pick up an artist at the airport. Dance in the studio with Mary Lucia for the 4 PM No Apologies track. Pitch Rock the Garden appearance by _____. Write a promo. Make radio. Other duties as assigned.

CampBenCh1 karma

Thank you guys for everything you have online. As a Minnesota-born, I miss the state. Being able to stream is greatly appreciated. I've had multiple times I've called in for Radio Free Current, or woken up early enough for the Coffee Break. I've also discovered great music through the free song of the day.

My question is- if you could bring back bands "from the dead" to play a zombie Rock the Garden, who would it be???

(Also I love it when Bob Collins and Mary Lucia do their 420. Please do more!)

TheCurrent8932 karma

We did a dream RTG with no living limits, but a all-zombie line up might include

Ramones. The Carpenters? Queen? Nirvana. Bee Gees experiences dissent: (early stuff only) (disco only!) Big Star!

cough Replacements?

TheCurrent8931 karma

We love Bob and Mary at 4:20 too!

inspireandrelease1 karma

Is there any particular reason you guys only make videos for one song when an artist performs live? Would it make Nate and Michael's hair start on fire attempting it?

TheCurrent8931 karma

Good question. We've been talking about this quite a bit recently. It started out as a resource thing, but we've gotten better about turning videos around more quickly. Right now, the question is more about what our audience would like to see. What would you like to see? Full sessions? Interviews? Something completely different? Let us know!

inspireandrelease3 karma

I really like how KEXP runs their YouTube channel, making videos for each song but having the full performance available as well. I learn a lot more about the artists as well as the hosts by watching their interactions rather than just listening, it's a more intimate experience in my mind.

TheCurrent8931 karma

Thanks for doubling back on that.

incubeezer1 karma

What are your favorite ways of exploring new music outside of The Current?

TheCurrent8931 karma

We're music fans - anything and everything. Inbox, and mailbox, music blogs, record stores, youtube, soundcloud, word of mouth and more!

Cheddar_Curtain1 karma


TheCurrent8931 karma

We try to figure the best line up we can mixing in touring artists, local musicians, and artists with new albums and the elusive surprising cool. We work with the Walker, it's a great partnership. We start with a huge wish list but so many things have to align to make it work!

Did you see the save-the-date? June 20-21, 2015. We'll announce line up March 31st, tickets April 2nd for members, April 7th public.

rihanoa1 karma

Hey, I've been a huge fan of the station since day one, been rocking the window cling on my car for almost as long. Back in the day, there was talk of expanding the station to other places in the state, are there still plans to do something like that or is management fairly happy with the current (heh) coverage area?

Also, where is the best place to get new gear, outside of the website? There was the MPR shop in the MoA for the longest time but that disappeared a few years ago, and along with it my easiest way of getting new stuff.

TheCurrent8932 karma

Show us the cling! #currentswag

We want to be awesome and everywhere, we're always interested in expanding, but it's radio and that's tough with the finite nbr of licenses. We're glad we can stream / have the app for anywhere listening...

We'll have a bunch of gear at our 10th Anniversary events like Amsterdam and First Ave, and other than that it'll be events like Rock The Cradle. Sorry no store!

Th3me1 karma

With the emergence of Go96 do you think you'll alter your playlist at all? Or could you just stop playing Lorde please?

TheCurrent8938 karma

We played Lorde when she wasn't widely known and she was our #2 on our listeners Top 89 of 2013. We're not K-Lorde and playing her as much as we used to but we're not gonna stop playing her just because others do.

A good record is a good record.

baan05021 karma

As a local artist, what is the best way for us to get our music to you other than just uploading it to your site?

Thanks and love the station!!!!!!!!

Getinthevandude1 karma

Didn't Jeremy Messersmith just hand them a cd in an envelope?

TheCurrent8932 karma

That is true, he did. But easiest way is to upload or send it to us the old fashioned way:

The Current Minnesota Public Radio 480 Cedar St. St. Paul, MN 55101

supremelord1 karma

1) Do all of the music directors have hilarious nicknames? I know that David's is "Light Roast," so I'm wondering what Jim and Lindsay's nicknames are?

2) On a serious question: I think it's safe to say that a lot of local artists consider The Current to be a gateway into the larger music industry as a whole. I know some local folks think that getting played on The Current has made the careers of some noteworthy bands. Where do you guys see yourselves fitting into the larger industry as a whole? Do you get additional respect when you are at large events, or are you still looked at as just another public radio station?

TheCurrent8931 karma

cough Lindsay goes by Goofnuggette.

The Current has been a launching pad for more and more artists over the last few years - we love local music so much we want to share it with everyone. Our peers in the music world have noticed the impact a station like The Current can have in the community by highlighting local music.

We're seeing more of our peers embrace more local music too! If we played a role in that, awesome.

abcdefghijklmnopq3390 karma

Do you play classical music?

TheCurrent8934 karma

Our sister station ClassicalMPR does more than we do.

nordeast_yah0 karma

It seems like about half the songs played on The Current are some variation of Beards With Banjos.

Do you see this folk revival dying off any time soon? And how do you decide when to hop on/off of a bandwagon?

Big ups to Barb and POS and Jake for adding some much-needed musicgeekery to things.

TheCurrent8932 karma

Someday people will shave and plug in a guitar.

JimmyGoldenrod0 karma

Hi guys. Was the private plane commissioned to fly Billy Idol in for his six-song acoustic set at the Turf Club paid for with MN Legacy funds or funds from listeners like me?

TheCurrent89311 karma

Nope, neither. We paid Billy a fee from tickets sold, how he got here? On his dime.

mattsledge-3 karma

Can you play Freebird?

TheCurrent8935 karma

Yes, we can.