89.3 the Current faces backlash over DJ firing

Barb Abney
Minnesota Public Radio
Barb Abney

The Current’s current issues: The Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider writes about what he calls MPR’s 89.3 The Current’s “troubled week.” “Minnesota Public Radio’s modern/indie-rock outlet went from a familial fortress to a broken home in the time it took the news to spread on social media — about as long as a Ramones song. Predictably, the station’s abrupt firing of the working mom [DJ Barb Abney] and well-liked music-scene personality was met with boos. The breadth and fervor of the backlash, however, was surprising.” He adds, by way of advice, “Don’t be so corporate. Nixing Abney came off as a cutthroat move that didn’t look right for a community-oriented nonprofit. Worse, MPR reps issued a formal decree to volunteers on what to tell listeners about the move — corporate-spin PR that could have come from the Clear Channel playbook. Sample line: ‘Please refrain from making any disparaging comments about MPR, the Current, Jade or Barb, on social media or any other outlets.’” Telling anything related to MPR not to be so corporate is like telling a squirrel not to chew nuts. It’s a DNA thing.

At The Daily Beast Ted Gioia gives Bob Dylan’s new CD — covering Frank Sinatra non-hits  a favorable review. “Despite all the incongruities, this album succeeds—but does so on its own terms. The performances are almost painfully heartfelt and direct. Recall that Bob Dylan’s biggest-selling hit singles include very few love songs. In fact, when he did sing about relationships during his youth, Dylan was better at soliciting sex (‘Lay Lady Lay’) or breaking up (‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’).  He was the least lovey-dovey of the singer-songwriters of his day. But now, under the guise (perhaps a disguise?) of a supposed tribute album, Dylan exposes a raw emotional vulnerability that jumps out at the listener. You can’t do this stuff with Auto-Tune.”

Uh, oh. Stephen Tellier at KSTP-TV tells us, “How fast do you drive on the highway? Do you push the speed limit by five, or maybe 10, miles per hour? Right now, in Minnesota, certain highway speeding tickets won’t go on your driving record. The law, often referred to as the Dimler Amendment, states that speeding convictions that are less than ten miles per hour above the speed limit in a 55 miles per hour zone, or less than five miles per hour above the speed limit in a 60 miles per hour zone, are not kept on the driver’s record. But a new Minnesota Department of Transportation report said that’s putting public safety at risk. The findings could prompt a change in that law, which would potentially impact thousands of Minnesota drivers, most of whom have never heard of the law in question.” How about we concentrate on the drunk and distracted crowd?

Here’s KARE-TV’s Trisha Volpe on the coming court fight over what to do with sex offenders. “More than 700 civilly committed sex offenders are suing the state in a class action federal lawsuit that alleges, among other things, that it is unfair and unconstitutional to keep them locked up indefinitely. They also allege the program does not provide adequate treatment. … The MSOP’s population was 703 as of Oct. 1, 2014. According to the Department of Human Services the cost per day per client is $341. That amounts to more than $124,000 per year to house and treat each client.”

Good luck with this. The AP reports, “A projected budget shortfall could force the Minnesota Zoo to go beyond layoffs and close some of its exhibits this year. Officials say the zoo is facing a budget crisis due to declining attendance and increased costs. A spokeswoman says the zoo is now asking lawmakers for $1.5 million in emergency funds.”

These kids are how old? The AP says, “Four middle school students are facing criminal charges after authorities say they recorded themselves at a so-called sex party that took place at a Brown Deer [Wisconsin] home during winter break. Police were called to Brown Deer Middle School earlier this month after a student told a staff member about the gathering and videos recorded by partygoers. Four students were arrested by police after questioning and police have recommended they be charged with first- and second-degree sexual assault of a child.” 

According to Tom Webb at the PiPress, the farm land bubble is still expanding. “Steve Taff understands the coffee shop chatter in rural Minnesota, that weakening crop prices have finally ended a 20-year-long boom in the price of farmland. ‘The buzz is, people are saying “Ooooh, the market is down, prices are down,”’said Taff, an associate professor in applied economics at the University of Minnesota. ‘And the data is saying, “no.” Those numbers say that Minnesota farmland prices rose again last year — up 5 percent — to a record median price of $5,440 an acre. A decade ago, the median price was $1,637 an acre.”

This is two weeks old, so my apologies. But the Chicago Tribune editorial board has weighed in on us trying to re-brand ourselves “The North.” “The problem is that geographic terms, like most nicknames, aren’t easy to popularize. They are more likely to be imposed by others than self-declared. No kid ever said, ‘Call me Peanut,’ and no one in Rockford ever asked that the city, 85 miles to the northwest of Chicago, be labeled here as ‘downstate.’ … Minnesota’s regional identity is already firmly established. The dialect Minnesotans speak is Upper Midwest, and that’s the region’s ID in weather forecasts when meteorologists predict a foot of snow … in April. So good luck with your marketing campaign, Minnesotans. But don’t feel you need to rush off. That’s our Midwestern hospitality talking.”

A couple of women who I’m guessing aren’t exactly your average get-a-life football fans offer up a drinking/eating game for watching the Super Bowl Sunday. At City Pages, Tatiana Craine and Jessica Armbruster write, “A drinking game. Sports and binge drinking go together like football players and models. Get everyone, football fanatics or not, to play along. …

Fill up your plate with carbs during any super patriotic speeches about America accented with fade-outs to the flag and fighter jets. …

Drink every time someone stifles a laugh at your party when announcers talk about ‘tight ends.’ …

Pour yourself a new drink every time they show a topless man with the body of Santa Claus covered in paint. Right on, dude. This is your Christmas and Halloween, and you’re living the dream. …

Take a shot and give some side-eye if Katy Perry manages to diss Taylor Swift during her performance (it’s rumored they are fighting over some lame ex-boyfriend. Meow!)”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/30/2015 - 06:12 pm.

    The Zoo should quit with the Million Dollar Merry-Go-Rounds and in ground spurting kiddie playground fountains and go back to simply doing what they’re there for – preserving animals in a natural setting for visitors to learn about and enjoy.

  2. Submitted by Susan Lesch on 01/31/2015 - 12:52 pm.

    The North

    The Chicago Tribune said: “And, they note, there’s an opening on the map: The country has an East, West, South and Midwest, but no North.”

    What happened to Alaska?

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