One of the more prominent on-air personalities at 89.3 the Current, mid-day host Barb Abney, was let go from the station Tuesday for reasons not yet clear. The news hit social media just a couple hours after she got off the air.
The Current’s morning show’s producer and frequent late-night jockey Jade Tittle will replace Abney in the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. slot, the station reported.
“There's just not much to say, sadly,” Abney responded via email. “I was let go and that's pretty much all I know. I loved that job so, so much.”
Minnesota Public Radio publicist Jen Keavy said the dismissal of Abney was “a programming decision made by the Current's management.”
Keavy provided this statement on behalf of the rest of the Current’s staff:
“We are sad to see Barb go, and we sincerely thank her for her contributions to and passion for The Current. At the same time, we're excited for what we know Jade will bring to her new role as midday host.”
The timing of the staff change presents a sharp contrast to the high spirits and communal attitude displayed at the stations 10th anniversary celebrations, which culminated over the weekend with two shows at First Avenue. Abney was featured on stage at First Ave and served as the main host for the station’s “Purple Rain” tribute at the Fitzgerald Theatre last week.
The news comes amid growing competition against the pioneering station, as the Pohlad-owned Go 96.3 FM hit the airwaves at the start of the year with heavy echoes of the Current's Playlist. Clear Channel also launched Alt 93.3 last summer, offering a heavy dose of '90s alt-rock.
A native of the Cincinnati area -- as she proudly noted nearly every time she played the Afghan Whigs (which thankfully was often) -- Abney came to the public radio station in 2006 with a more commercial FM background. She previously worked at Cincinnati alt-rock station WOXY.
At the Current, she was known for her “Cover 2 Cover” and “Tonal Recall” segments, spotlighting cover songs and –‘90s music. A mother of two teenagers, she also helped steer Wonderground Radio, Rock the Cradle and other kids-music efforts at the station.