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The Twin Cities' Newest Radio Station — 89.3 The Current — Takes to the Air at 9 a.m., Monday, January 24

Minnesota Public Radio's newest service draws from diverse genres that reflect contemporary society, with deep ties to the local music community

January 21, 2005

(St. Paul, Minn.) Jan. 21, 2005 — Minnesota Public Radio announced today that its new radio station — 89.3 The Current — will go live at 9 a.m., Monday, Jan. 24, with a line-up of well-known DJs and around-the-clock programming. [Bios and schedule included at end of release.]

"We're very proud of 89.3 The Current and the important contributions it will make to music in Minnesota," said Bill Kling, president of Minnesota Public Radio. "The Minnesota music scene hasn't had a broadcast stage like this before. The Current will make radio uniquely personal to local listeners."

89.3 The Current " also known under its call letters, KCMP " will establish deep ties to the local music community and will serve as a positive force in building the creative economy of Minnesota. The Current will entertain and inform audiences with the best music of today, drawn from a wide variety of genres that reflect contemporary society and our diverse forms of musical expression. The Current is committed to providing a venue for local musicians and bands " through recordings and live, in-studio performances " providing them wide exposure that would not otherwise be available.

Alongside the best new music, 89.3 The Current will play music that explores popular American music's influences and roots. Regular listeners will learn not only what new music is most worth listening to, but also what artists and musical traditions created the pathways to music today.

Beyond its broad musical palette, 89.3 The Current will bring news and information into greater focus for a new audience of public radio listeners. The Current will launch principally as a music station with a limited number of newsbreaks, interviews and special features. While the music itself will always be primary, over time the broadcast schedule will become more complex, with added commentaries, vox pop, reviews, live performances, and other features that will make the station increasingly distinctive and compelling.

"It takes a talented staff to create this new station, and we're very proud of the people who will bring The Current to our listeners," says Kling. "We've gathered people from within MPR and bright new voices in the community to create a unique format and a unique sound."

Effective Monday morning, Minnesota Public Radio's popular musical variety program The Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole, will be heard in the Twin Cities exclusively on The Current (moving from KSJN 99.5). Listeners to The Current also get a bonus hour of The Morning Show, which will start in the Twin Cities at 5:00 a.m. The Morning Show will continue to be heard beyond the Twin Cities on MPR's regional Classical Music network from 6-9 a.m.

Rochester

The Current will be available weekdays in Rochester on KMSE 88.7 beginning at 9 a.m. (Classical music runs on KMSE from 6-9 a.m.) In Rochester, The Morning Show will remain on MPR classical music station KLSE 91.7, weekdays from 6-9 a.m. MPR's news and information programming remains on KZSE 90.7 FM.

89.3 The Current
Full-time staff

Dale Connelly
Co-host, The Morning Show Dale Connelly co-hosts Minnesota Public Radio's musically eclectic and strangely comic Morning Show, which 89.3 listeners can enjoy every weekday morning. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Dale decided to concentrate on radio after he realized TV was "a lot of work." He joined Minnesota Public Radio as a journalist in the summer of 1976, but switched to the music department seven years later when it occurred to him that the news audience expected to hear stories that were true. Connelly is responsible for the creation of thousands of phony ads, hundreds of make-believe interviews, and at least a dozen recurring characters, all of them portrayed by Jim Ed Poole.

Jim Ed Poole
Co-host, The Morning Show On occasion, Jim Ed Poole appears on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion using his stage name "Tom Keith, providing the sound effects where needed. But he's much more comfortable as Jim Ed, co-hosting The Morning Show with Dale Connelly. A weekday morning radio program where the disc jockeys still pick the music, The Morning Show features music that may include, but is not limited to, folk, jazz, classical, show tunes, blues, rock, Cajun, zydeco, klezmer, country and assorted styles of yodeling and joikking.

Thorn
Music director/on-air host (9 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays)
Thorn's radio career began at Radio K, the University of Minnesota's college radio station, where he served as the station's first program director. He went on to write and produce for the National Alternative Network while spending his afternoons on air at REV-105, also serving as the station's assistant program director; a stint as associate program director/music director for Zone 105 followed in 1997. Thorn joined the Minnesota Public Radio family in 2001, serving as the director of distribution for MNN Radio's sports broadcasts of the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings and Wild. In 2004, he helped launch MPR's national distribution arm, American Public Media, serving as its production manager. Thorn's extraordinary passion and vision will help create the distinctive sound of 89.3 The Current.

Mary Lucia
On-air host (2-7 p.m. weekdays)
Mary Lucia has earned a large fan base with her work as an on-air personality, writer, actor and voice-over talent. Lucia began her media career doing nights at Rev 105, co-hosted mornings on Zone 105 and hosted a talk show on 1500 KSTP. From 1998 to 2001, she hosted the local music show Popular Creeps, a two-time Minnesota Music Award winner for "Best Locally Produced Show." In addition to writing a regular column for The Rake, "Soundtrack to Mary," she has also appeared in live theater productions at the Frank Theater and Theater 911. Lucia is closely identified with the vibrant local music scene and will help create the unique personality of 89.3 The Current.

Mark Wheat
Producer/on-air host (7 p.m.-midnight weekdays)
Mark Wheat, a native of England, is a well-established and active member of the Twin Cities music community. Wheat's previous on-air jobs include KFAI, Zone 105 and Radio K (where he has served as director of student programming since 1998). Wheat has been an advocate for local musicians, inviting dozens of local artists and bands into the studio for interviews and live performances. He won the "Best AM Radio Personality" poll in 2004 from City Pages; "Best Club DJ" in 2000 and 2001 by the Minnesota Music Academy. Wheat's KFAI program, Local Sound Department, was awarded "Best Local Radio Show" by the Minnesota Music Academy in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Steve Seel
Producer/on-air host (midnight-5 a.m. weekdays)
Steve Seel has worked at Minnesota Public Radio since April 1999 as a host and producer for both Classical 24 and for its regional Classical Music Service. Prior to coming to Minnesota Public Radio, Seel was the morning drive host on WUSF-FM in Tampa, Fla., and in the mid-1990s, he served as a classical music host for WNED-FM, Buffalo, and was the creator and producer of Present Tense, a weekly showcase for experimental music. He has a wide knowledge of music — from classical to rock, experimental and jazz — and is an accomplished singer-songwriter.

Annie Baxter
News reporter/producer
Annie Baxter comes to 89.3 The Current with a love of radio that ranges from hard news reports to playful storytelling. She's covered the general assignment beat as one of MPR's regional reporters, she worked as an arts reporter at Chicago Public Radio and she's schooled in the quirky "first personquot; style of This American Life, where she interned during her early days in radio. Annie also has two M.A.s — one in Rhetoric and one in Comparative Literature. She hopes to funnel her diverse background into the sound of 89.3 The Current to make sharp, lively, fresh-sounding radio.

Steve Nelson
Program director
Steve Nelson brings a variety of news and music radio experiences to 89.3 The Current. He started his broadcasting career as morning show co-host at commercial Twin Cities music stations during the mid-1990s. He also worked as production director and sound engineer at various Twin Cities stations. From 2000-2002, he was associate producer for public radio's national arts and culture show Studio 360 at public radio station WNYC in New York, where he helped to develop the sound and content of the show from its inception. Nelson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree. He helped create Radio K, the university's music station.

89.3 The Current
Part-time staff

Bill DeVille
Production/weekend on-air host (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Bill DeVille will be on the air weekends and will also help out with music and production. His deep musical knowledge will be a huge asset to the new station. DeVille has worked in radio for more than 20 years. You might remember him from his 12-year stint as the overnight host and music programmer on Cities 97. While there, he also hosted Minnesota Music, where he interviewed a number of local music legends: the Jayhawks, Semisonic, Mason Jennings and Soul Asylum. DeVille started his radio career in Sioux Falls, S.D., and also spent some time at KABL (a Minneapolis-based, cable-radio station).

Jill Riley
Producer/weekend on-air host (midnight-5 a.m.)
Jill Riley joins Minnesota Public Radio fresh from college, where she actively supported both the Twin Cities and St. Cloud music scenes while working for KVSC-FM, Saint Cloud State University’s college and community radio station. While there, she served as the station's production director and assistant news director. She is a former host of the Wednesday morning show, which featured new music and news and a jazz program, and also hosted a variety of news programs.

Tony Lopez
Producer, weekend on-air host (7 p.m.-midnight)
Tony Lopez is an announcer for the Radio Talking Book Network. He's worked there for more than seven years and has twice been nominated for the IAAIS (International Association of Audio Information Services) award for best magazine show. Five days a week he produces and presents a broadcast of the New York Times. Lopez is also an avid music lover, is married and has a four-year-old daughter.


Press Contacts:
Andrea Matthews
Minnesota Public Radio
651-290-1303
amatthews@mpr.org

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