Oral History of 89.3 the Current: Minnesota music community says thanks

Categories: Radio
Brother Ali photo by Marshall Franklin; Caroline Smith photo by Mark N. Kartarik

This week, 89.3 the Current begins its 10th year on the air. Not only has the station been a score for Twin Cities music fans, but local musicians, labels, publicists, and every part of the ecosystem have been positively affected too. While preparing this week's cover story, 89.3 the Current: An oral history, we were left with a lot of extra material that was fascinating, but we couldn't squeeze it in. Over this week, we'll try to remedy that.

Today, we have testimonials from artists like Brother Ali, Jeremy Messersmith, Caroline Smith, Dan Wilson, Chan Poling, Lizzo, Lazerbeak, Low's Alan Sparhawk, John Munson, Rhymesayers CEO Siddiq, and so many more. And though former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak isn't technically a musician, he'd done enough stage-diving to be included here.

See Also: 89.3 the Current: An oral history

John Munson, Semisonic and the New Standards: I don't think that I will ever forget the day that the Current came on the air. I was standing in my kitchen and hearing the the hiss of noise between channels turn into Atmosphere and static becoming a radio station. This serves as an apt metaphor for what the station has done in the music community: filling a hole that really needed filling.

The station provides a goal for local musicians. It's hopefully a way station on their journeys out into the larger world of music. In an age when people might question the relevance of something broadcast, the station continues to make itself an important piece of the music scene here. Deep appreciation for what they have provided.

Brent "Siddiq" Sayers, Rhymesayers Entertainment: I really don't remember much more than being told they were going to make one of our songs "Say Shh..." the first song the station played and thinking, ahh cool. I think we had become pretty accustomed to not receiving radio support and didn't really think about the statement that a choice like that made. Not only had they decided to make a rap record their first song but in hindsight I think they really affirmed their commitment to the Minnesota local music scene. Minnesota has such a rich musical history and for us to have had that honor was really special.

The Minnesota music scene has such an ally and outlet with the Current that many other markets don't have. The Current is a reflection of our rich and embracing music scene, as well as a key contributor to it. I think you would be hard-pressed to find another scene of this size, where local artists have the opportunity to get their music played on a station with an audience reach and loyal listener base like the Current. The Current has opened their airwaves to upcoming artists and established artists of all genres capturing the beauty of Minnesota's musical talents, while providing music for the diverse ears of us Minnesotans.

Chan Poling, the Suburbs: All I can say is I feel that the folks at the Current are like family. They've been a great support to me and my music over the years and my every interaction with them has been warm and friendly and fun!

Ryan Young, Trampled by Turtles: As a musician and citizen of the Twin Cities, I am fully aware of how lucky I am to live in a place that has a radio station like the Current. Long live the Current.

Collin Ward, Observer Drift: I live a quiet life in a suburb of Minneapolis and write music out of my basement. Upon starting my music venture, I never thought many people on the outside world would hear me or give it a second listen. After self-releasing my first album, within three months of its release, 89.3 the Current was spinning my tracks on The Local show and even in their regular rotation. They drove out to my house for an interview and even had me in the studio for more questions after my second album release. The Current takes an interest in the little guys like myself, and see the potential in everyone that catches their ear. They give local musicians the chance to be heard and to tell their story that they thought no one would ever hear. I owe so much to the Current for the exposure they've given me.

Manchita, GRRRL PRTY: Many musicians in this city have the Current to thank for much of their local success (and their egos, haha). For both my ego and my airwave exposure, I am grateful! Thanks to a wonderful team of hard-working individuals who all obviously love and value music as much as the artists who make it. As an artist and a music-lover I applaud the one and only 89.3!

Former Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak: The launching of the Current will be seen as one of the most important developments in the history of local music in Minneapolis. That's not an exaggeration. Almost every part of local music infrastructure is great here. Radio has sucked for decades. We have not had enough stations playing enough new music, and certainly not enough local music. The Current has dramatically changed the equation. First, for its own listeners, and second, by forcing others in the market to get hipper and more local.

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