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Are changes afoot at MPR?

APM's Jon McTaggart

Anyone who has read an internal memo that ends with "we cannot succeed with 'business as usual'"  knows what's probably coming: Financial cuts and layoffs.

That's the safe assumption to make after receiving a copy of an email sent out Monday by Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media, the parent company for Minnesota Public Radio:

The email, confirmed by at least one employee, reads as follows:

 “Between now and the end of July, we will be making changes across the American Public Media Group (APMG) that will enable us to focus our resources in ways that will create stronger and even better experiences for our audiences.  We will organize our work differently and set new priorities for how we spend our time and our money.  We will stop some programming and create capacity for new content and innovative audience services.  We will eliminate and change positions in some departments, and create capacity for new positions in others…Leaders in each area will implement their decisions and discuss details with you over the coming weeks. Collectively, these changes will enable us to expand our services in health, education and sustainability – adding to our current strengths in business and public affairs journalism, and classical and contemporary music. We will invest in distinctive on-demand offerings, in growing and knowing our audiences, and in developing new ways to earn greater support for our public service. We started this work two years ago when we launched Audiences First, and now we must accelerate our pace of change…We cannot succeed with “business as usual.”  

Ouch.

Some inside the public-radio walls are speculating that the reason for the siren has to do with the struggle to get institutional funding, a fairly common problem these days. An APM spokesperson denies that is the case. In fact, this person says, APM is growing and is working under a balanced budget.

While the Star Tribune has yet to learn of any household names getting the axe, some layoffs have already taken place in the last 24 hours, according to an insider.

Have any tips? Email me at njustin@startribune.com:

Look whoooo's back: Owl City drops '90s-themed video with Hanson

Owatonna's Adam Young was just a year out of high school when he shot to Owl City fame. / Photo by Pamela Littkyl

Owatonna's Adam Young was just a year out of high school when he shot to Owl City fame. / Photo by Pamela Littkyl

Minnesota’s top-selling recording artist of the past six years, Owl City, is back at it. The Owatonna electro-pop singer doubly known as Adam Young is about to drop his third album, “Mobile Orchestra,” on July 10 via Universal’s Republic Records. Today, he premiered a new single/video from the record, “Unbelievable,” which features another act that outlasted teen-pop one-hit-wonderdom, brotherly trio Hanson.

Suffice it to say Young hasn’t turned to making death-metal or singing about heroin addiction in his old age (he’s 28). The playfully animated new video finds the “Fireflies” singer and the “MMMBop” hitmakers name-dropping C-3P0, SpaghettiOs, Nintendo, “The Lion King,” “Jurassic Park” and other staples from their 1990s childhood. We've posted it below.

“Unbelievable” is the second official single from “Mobile Orchestra.” The would-be danceclub hit “Verge,” featuring guest vocals by Aloe Blacc, was issued a month ago with a video perfectly geared toward high-school graduation time. The clip is already up to 830,000 views.

For those who lost track after “Fireflies,” Young landed a second Owl City mega-hit in 2012 with the No. 4-charting slumber-party anthem “Good Time,” featuring Carly Rae Jepsen. He has issued new songs in major animated movies such as “Legend of the Guardians” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” He remains a big concert draw in Japan and many other overseas countries. He has also enjoyed crossover success in the contemporary Christian music world. Another new song, “My Everything,” sounds geared toward that market -- and its video has amassed over a million YouTube views.

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