Radio can be awful. Barb Abney is the best.

Jan 27

Pour out a sippy cup today for Barb Abney, who was unceremoniously let go from The Current today, just a few days after she was a big part of the station’s 10th anniversary celebrations.  I’ve been a sustaining member of the Current since day one, and this hurts.

I’ve known Barb since around 2000 or 2001, not long after we moved to D.C. She was then on the legendary WOXY (source of the “BAM! The future of rock and roll!” drop I use in one of our bumpers).  I listened online in my office as she played great music and emailed me about the Replacements and whatever else was on our respective minds that day.  I learned a lot about music and radio from Barb and WOXY.  After WOXY shut down (one of several times before it did so before its end became final), she was hired by MPR to join The Current.  I take totally undue pride in having been the very first person to email her at her address.

Barb is at once a true radio professional and someone who, you know, would be your friend if you just got a chance to hang out.  And, sure enough, I’ve gotten to hang out with Barb a few times, and I’m so glad to have her be my friend.

While at the Current, Barb launched Wonderground Radio, which, like us, mixes in a lot of not-for-kids’ stuff in to the mix.  (I’m glad to have been a small part of advising Barb on it when she was starting it up.)  I hope MPR keeps it going.  It’s a great alternative to other 24-hour services (online or satellite) and I have absolutely stolen playlist ideas from it.

In retrospect, I don’t know if I would have started up Spare the Rock if not for WOXY (and Barb).  In a time when radio frankly sucked, they were a commercial station doing interesting stuff, showing connections between songs, and not just listening to consultants.

I truly hope that Barb ends up somewhere else where I can hear her; I will tune in wherever she is.


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