Minnesota Public Radio's alternative music station 89.3 the Current wasted no time turning the page on a troubled 2020 and announced two new on-air personalities coming to the station in 2021.
Zeke Salo, part of the Go 95.3/96.3 staff laid off ahead of those stations' sale last month, will soon join the Current's DJ team along with Maddie Schwappach, a former music director at University of Minnesota's student-run operation Radio K.
Salo worked behind the scenes and sometimes on air at the Go stations, particularly the hip-hop outlet Go 95.3. Schwappach has already been making a mark at the Current as an intern and contributor.
"The Current was one of the driving forces for me becoming immersed in the local music scene as a teenager growing up in Minnesota," Schwappach said in Monday's announcement from the station. "At a time when that community is more critical than ever, I'm excited and humbled at this opportunity to connect with other music fans over the air."
The new hires' schedules are still being determined and will be announced in the coming weeks.
David Safar, the Current's managing director (and a Radio K alum like Schwappach), also said in the announcement, "I'm thrilled to have these two passionate music fans join our team."
The Current has been working without a full-time weeknight DJ since last May, when Mark Wheat retired after 15 years during a series of buyouts as the pandemic hit MPR's bottom line. Then in September, the station fired one of its rotating DJs, Eric Malmberg, following sexual misconduct allegations brought to light by MPR reporter Marianne Combs, who resigned amid reporting on Malmberg.
Last month, staff at both the Current and Classical MPR (99.5 FM) voted to unionize, citing the need to add more diversity and gender equity to its ranks. Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of MPR's St. Paul-based parent company, American Public Media, also announced in September that he is stepping down after nine years.