Former Cities 97 morning show host Brian Oake has a new on-air gig — as the morning show host for Cities 97.

That déjà vu scenario surprised Twin Cities radio listeners Monday morning, when Oake suddenly returned to the airwaves of the pop and adult-contemporary station where he worked from 2001 to 2016. The last five years were in the same 6-10 a.m. shift he's taking over at the iHeart Media-operated station.

"I'm about to start a new/old thing," Oake posted on his Facebook page early Monday morning with a photo of the Cities 97 studio door.

Speaking after his first on-air shift, Oake sounded elated about what he called "a crazy turn of events that prove you never know what life is going to throw at you."

"I love being on the radio," he said. "It's one of the few things I think I'm fairly good at. And I love the people I get to work with."

Oake left Cities at the end of 2015 to become morning co-host at 89.3 the Current, Minnesota Public Radio's modern-rock and adult-alternative station. His tenure there came to an abrupt halt in August 2019, however, after he was suspended over social-media posts.

The last of those had him railing against First Avenue staff for kicking him out of a show at the Palace Theatre after his daughter, then 20, was seen drinking from his cocktail glass. (Oake claimed it was empty except for ice.)

Returning to Cities now puts Oake on air opposite his former Current co-host, Jill Riley, who was among the hundreds of friends to "like" Oake's Facebook post with the news: "Aaaaaaaaaand, he's back!" Riley commented.

Cities 97 announced the news Monday morning with a tweet that read, "Please welcome Brian Oake home to Cities 97."

In his year and a half off the FM airwaves, Oake started a podcast, "The Brian Oake Show," and took a gig selling records — instead of just talking about them — at Mill City Sound in Hopkins.

He hopes to continue doing both. "I get to do in-depth interviews and blather more on the podcast," he said, whereas the Cities 97 job "is more about music, events and community than it is about me."

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658