The Current to launch broadcast relay station in Duluth

The Current logoMinnesota Public Radio announced in a news release today that Duluthians will soon be able to hear its album-oriented alternative music station, the Current, on 90.9 FM. A mix tape of music by artists from northern Minnesota began airing on the station today. At 9:09 a.m. on Feb. 1 the switch will flip to the Current’s live broadcast from the Twin Cities.

The low-power station will broadcast at about 99 watts, with an expected coverage area spanning from Hermantown to Superior. MPR purchased the 90.9 FM spot on the dial in 2015 from Family Stations, a national Christian network, which had aired programming as W215CG.

Duluth Current

From the news release:

Cementing its strong relationship with the area’s music scene and its countless fans from Duluth to points north and east, The Current will broadcast on 90.9 FM and 100.5 WSCN HD-2, beginning Monday, Feb. 1.

“The Current has always had a special relationship with Duluth – its vibrant music scene and the community of music-loving fans,” said Jim McGuinn, program director for the Current. “Duluth is at the center of northern Minnesota’s burgeoning music scene, and we want to support what makes the music community thrive – whether it means giving a band their first spin on the radio, promoting their first gig, or helping spread the word for their first tour.”

“Our listeners have told us for years they wanted the Current in Duluth,” said Patty Mester, MPR’s Duluth regional manager. “We are thrilled that we are finally able to provide the Current to our Twin Ports audiences.”

In addition, the Current will hire a Duluth-based radio personality who will host a weekly Duluth Local Music show with the opportunity to create additional programming specific to the region. This position will play a key role in connecting and collaborating with the music community, creating deep relationships with artists, venues and community leaders. Funding for the Duluth Local Music show and its host are made possible by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Interested individuals can apply at The deadline to apply is Sunday, Feb. 14.

“Since the station’s launch in 2005, we’ve supported the area artists like Low, Trampled by Turtles, Charlie Parr, Southwire, Tin Can Gin, Actual Wolf, Red Mountain, and Sarah Krueger,” said Lindsay Kimball, assistant program director for The Current. “And now, with a presence on the dial in Duluth and the hiring of a Duluth host, we’ll be even better positioned to discover the next generation of artists coming out of Duluth, the North Shore and the Iron Range.”

Fans of the Current who would like their own 90.9 the Current bumper sticker cling can sign up at Plans for a large-scale community event to celebrate the new station are underway and will be announced in March.

The Current brings listeners the best authentic new music alongside the music that inspired it, from local to legendary, indie to influential, new to nostalgic. The Current began broadcasting in 2005 as a non-commercial, member-supported radio station. From the start, the Current has received numerous accolades, including FMQB Triple A Conference NonComm Station of the Year and Jim McGuinn Program Director of the Year for several consecutive years. In 2015, City Pages readers named it “Best Radio Station” in its annual “Best of the Twin Cities” awards. Also in 2015, David Safar was named FMQB Triple A Conference NonComm Music Director of the Year and the Current’s online music coverage earned two Page One Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The Current and its hosts have also been honored by the Minnesota Daily, Women’s Press Awards and Vita.MN. Its stellar broadcasts of in-studio performances have been featured online at Pitchfork Media and Prefix Magazine.



about 8 years ago

Any word on how many watts the broadcast will be?


about 8 years ago

How wonderful! A new platform for hipsters to play their Sesame Street music on, mixed w/ Nat King Cole and Sinatra.  Duluth will finally be recognized for the bustling metropolis/world leader it is, and we can hear the end of it now.  Thank you Current.


about 8 years ago

Do you think we'll actually get to hear some Low or Charlie Parr now?   I almost cried the first time I heard them.  And what about TBT? They play faster than my horse.

Special K

about 8 years ago

Hallelujah!  I can finally listen to something in my car other than the same Top 40, Oldies, or Rock stations that suddenly become old time country stations overnight.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Zeito, I asked about the wattage and have added that info to the second paragraph.

Joe Moore

about 8 years ago

Estimated coverage map per FCC.

***I have no idea what I'm doing and this could be old data! It looks current to me though per September 2015 filing.


about 8 years ago

What the Current's move into Duluth means for KUMD

This MinnPost article has the wattage at 250 (up from 90).

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

PDD's source for the 99-watt figure is Jen Keavy, senior communications manager at MPR, who got the number from "broadcast engineers."

MinnPost puts the station's power "in the 250­-watt range" which is maybe an attempt to ballpark it.


about 8 years ago

Call me a hipster if you want: The Current is my favorite radio station!  So jazzed about this development, MPR!

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

The reception seems good in my kitchen, but I get a lot of static driving around West Duluth. Perhaps it will be better in February.

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