One of 89.3 the Current's preeminent on-air voices now has a lot more say in what goes on behind the scenes.
Jade Tittle, who hosts the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekday shift at Minnesota Public Radio's alternative music outlet, has been named the station's new music director. The role puts her more in the driver's seat to steer fresh songs and rising artists into steady rotation.
A DJ at the Current since 2008, Tittle is not giving up her midday shift on air to take the new gig.
The Current's music director job has been vacant since August 2019, when her predecessor David Safar was bumped up to managing director. She will work alongside another longtime staffer, program director Jim McGuinn.
Asked what she might bring new to the role, Tittle pointed to an Equity, Inclusion, Diversity & Access template that she and Safar recently worked on with their peers at MPR Classical.
"I want to make sure that we're showcasing music from a wide spectrum of artists and continuing to champion artists that we believe in," she said, suggesting the station's core value of "music discovery" won't go away but will be rethought.
"Music discovery also works backwards: What is 'music history' according to the Current? That involves finding stories and artists that were initially looked over because of who had the power to make or break artists."
Minnesota Public Radio faced public scrutiny and a social-media backlash last year after firing the only Black DJ at its classical station, Garrett McQueen — and then for not immediately firing a Current DJ, Eric Malmberg, whose sexual misconduct allegations led to MPR News reporter Marianne Combs' resignation. Tittle was one of the first of many women on staff at MPR and the Current to voice their support on Twitter for Combs and the women behind those allegations.
A Minnesota native who came back to the Twin Cities from the University of Kansas, Tittle has also been involved in curating and assisting other organizations and events outside the station, including the Minnesota Music Coalition, Summit Backyard Bash, 2024 Records and Wing Young Huie's University Avenue Project.
Safar said of the new music director, "From supporting local artists to hosting events in Minnesota and broadcasting from festivals across the U.S., she brings to the role a commitment to connecting listeners with emerging artists. I'm excited to have her as part of the programming team at the Current."
The Current also recently recruited two new voices to join its on-air team: Former Go 95.3 and 96.3 producer and jockey Zeke Salo and Radio K alumna Maddie Schwappach will each settle into steady rotation in the coming weeks. The station is celebrating its 16th anniversary this month but had to put off its usual birthday bash at First Avenue due to the pandemic.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658