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Twin Cities radio station's 'scoop' on Pitt-Jolie split goes viral

107.1 FM, the Twin Cities gossip station, doesn't normally make international headlines. Then again, it's not every day that a tongue-wagging incident involving a celebrity couple happens in Minnesota.

Both tabloid and mainstream media have gone into overdrive since Angelina Jolie filed for divorce earlier this week from husband Brad Pitt. Most outlets, including the Star Tribune, have reported that the split may have been triggered, in part, by Pitt's unruly behavior during an international flight that stopped in International Falls.

But 107.1 FM went a step further Friday, reporting on a juicy anecdote involving alleged bizarre, possibly criminal, behavior by the actor on the tarmac. The story has been picked up by a number of gossip sites, including Radar Online and Entertainment Daily U.K., with full credit going to the afternoon on-air team of Colleen Lindstrom and Bradley Traynor.

So why am I not jumping on the bandwagon and passing along the tale?

Because the item doesn't meet Star Tribune standards. Not even close. As Lindstrom confirmed Sunday, the information is based solely on a listener whom neither host has ever met. Second, it's a second-hand account -- she claims her friend witnessed the antics. And third, management at the Falls International Airport put out a press release earlier this week that said there have been no incidents, accidents or out of the ordinary events in the past 10 days. My colleague Pat Pheifer confirmed this stance Sunday with an airport employee.

Gossip Cop, another website that feeds off celebrity tidbits, posted Sunday morning that the 107.1 FM item is B.S.

If you think Lindstrom is going to defend the caller's account, think again.

"I'm not a journalist. We are entertainment radio and our job is to entertain," Lindstrom said Sunday by phone. "I'm not reporting this as fact by any stretch of the imagination. This is what the caller said and we are just passing it along, just like you would tell a story that you heard to your neighbor over the fence."

Despite the doubters, the 107.1 team is going full steam ahead with the story. Early in the weekend, Lindstrom taped an interview with the source, one that she plans to air around noon on Monday. She has gone so far as to disguise the caller's voice.

The account seems fishy to me, but if you must know the details, go to mytalk1071.com or catch the "Colleen & Bradley Show" from noon-3 p.m. weekdays.

An emotional Sheila E. says show will honor Prince's 'quiet' philanthropy

Star Tribune photo by Matt Gillmer
 

In announcing the latest Prince tribute, Sheila E. pledged that hers would reflect his quiet philanthropy, its proceeds funding programs for Minneapolis' young people.

Prince's former drummer and fiancée told reporters Friday morning that when they were on tour together for "Purple Rain," Prince would make time to play music for children, turning a hospital cafeteria into a concert hall.

"Prince loved helping people without saying anything, without ever telling anyone or call[ing] the press," Sheila E. said. "He just did it quietly."

She outlined the details of the Oct. 23 concert at Orchestra Hall at a press conference in the Sabathani Community Center, surrounded by young musicians in a room lined with records. Tickets -- which range in price from $43.50 to $153.40 -- go on sale Monday.

Proceeds will boost the Purple Philanthropy Fund, which will be administered by the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project. That fund will benefit arts nonprofits and foundations that were important to Prince, Sheila E. said.

"Now that he's gone, there is no money flowing into his foundations now," she said. "We're here to help."

After Prince died April 21 of an accidental painkiller overdose, Sheila E. said she would spearhead a Prince concert at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. But once things evolved with Prince's estate and its administrator, others took charge of that concert's planning.

"Everything kind of dissipated," she said Friday. The family changed the date of that concert, she said, which will now be held Oct. 13 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. By the time it was booked, Sheila E. had a show planned for that night in suburban New York City.

"We were already booked eight months ago," she said, and "couldn't get out of it."

"I try to keep my word."

Sheila E.'s father, percussionist Pete Escovedo, will play the Oct. 23 show, as well as young local musicians. There might be "couple other special guests," she added. "It's just one big family."

She's been playing plenty of Prince tunes on her tour, she said. "Him and I have written so much music together, and we've played together on a lot of stuff. I just feel it's a part of me."

Every few sound checks, she picks a new tune or two, she said: "Man, I remember this song, let's play this song." Audiences appreciate it, Sheila E. said, and it's fun.

"It gets emotional," she added. "It's hard sometimes." She paused, blinking quickly as her eyes filled with tears. "All of it is hard."

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