A few weeks ago I was out watching football with some buddies. I was talking about my new car and how I was disappointed it didn’t have Radio Data System built in, which shows you the song name and title when listening to the radio. “Who still listens to the radio?!” he said. I replied, “I listen to The Current! We have one of the best public radio stations in the country!” A week or so later, he forwarded me the Arbitron ratings locally to debunk my statement.
As The Current celebrates its ninth birthday, City Pages has published an Oral History of The Current. Featuring former and current employees of Minnesota Public Radio and the station, they talk about the founding of the station; the highs of getting it off the ground; the lows of the rating crash a few years later and bringing in a consultant; and the success they’ve had with both the station, supporting new artists and especially their support of the local music scene. It’s a fantastic read and gives you a rare behind the scenes look at running a radio station.
And to my friend who wanted to argue with me about having one of the best radio stations in the country, the opening paragraphs back me up:
This week, 89.3 the Current celebrates the start of its 10th year, having become the model for cutting-edge radio throughout the country. Not bad for a station built from the ground up in six weeks.
Before the Current hit the airwaves in January 2005, local FM radio was a dead zone, and 89.3 was home to string orchestras. Flash forward to today, and the Current has revitalized the local music scene and been named the country’s best non-commercial radio station by industry peers for four years running.
Happy 9th birthday, 89.3!