One of the more prominent on-air personalities at 89.3 the Current, midday host Barb Abney, was let go from the station Tuesday for reasons not made clear. The news hit social media just a couple hours after she got off the air.
Jade Tittle, the station’s morning show producer and frequent late-night jockey, 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 e-mail. “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 announcement came in sharp contrast to the high spirits displayed at the station’s 10th anniversary celebrations, which culminated last weekend with two sold-out concerts 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 Theater last week.
The pioneering public-radio station faces growing competition from commercial rivals. The Pohlad-owned Go 96.3 FM hit the airwaves early this month with strong echoes of the Current’s modern playlist. Clear Channel also launched Alt 93.3 last summer, offering a heavy dose of ’90s alt-rock.
Abney, a native of the Cincinnati area — as she proudly noted when she played songs by hometown heroes the Afghan Whigs — came to the 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 kids-music efforts at the station, including the streaming service Wonderground Radio and the annual event Rock the Cradle.