Jacquie Fuller says goodbye to The Current, and hello (again) to Texas

by

Jacquie Fuller
Jacquie Fuller (Nate Ryan/MPR)

This fall would have marked my 10th year at Minnesota Public Radio, but I won't be here for that anniversary. In May, I'm returning to the place that made me — Texas — to work as the assistant program director at KUTX, Austin's version of The Current. Austin is a cool town, but there are a lot of things I will miss about the Twin Cities and Minnesota.

In April 2005, my fiance (now spouse) and I were both students at New Mexico State University, where I deejayed at the student-run radio station. My fiance visited the University of Minnesota as a prospective grad student, and when he returned, he told me about a brand new station in the Twin Cities. It was called The Current, and it was "the kind of music you play, but public radio." In May, we got married, sold half our stuff, packed the rest into a U-Haul, and headed to a new life in Minnesota. Before we'd even left, I knew The Current was where I wanted to be.

We arrived at a tiny apartment we'd taken sight unseen. On the top floor of an old building perched atop Lowry Hill, it was like a birdhouse — so small, we couldn't fit a bed into the "bedroom" (we slept on an air mattress in the living room). We were happy, though. We enjoyed an incredible nighttime view of downtown Minneapolis. We walked hand-in-hand to Liquor Lyle's for happy hour, bought toilet paper at the old Burch pharmacy (where we now go for fancy steaks), ate ice cream at Sebastian Joe's, and spent evenings listening to Mark Wheat on The Current. One night, we heard a car blasting the Decemberists on Hennepin Avenue below our kitchen window, and knew we'd definitely moved to the right city.

I had two jobs then: I taught a section of Chicano Studies at the U of M, and I supplemented my income as a cashier at Surdyk's (having to sell beer to your college students = awkward). In November, I got a job at MPR as an administrative assistant. We celebrated by buying a futon for the living room — no more air mattress! I spent my days filing, copying, collating, and finding every excuse to chat with my favorite Current hosts.

Within a year, an on-air position opened at The Current. I made a demo and applied, knowing good and well I didn't have enough experience. I didn't get the job, but Steve Nelson, then The Current's program director, said he liked my voice and had me record some promos. They weren't used, but in 2007, he had a need for some overnight shifts to be filled, and offered me a slot: 4-5 a.m., the hour between Jill Riley's overnight and the old Morning Show. Eventually, this turned into Saturday mornings, and when Jim McGuinn became program director, we launched Teenage Kicks, which I've hosted for five years. Through all of this, I've also worked full-time for MPR's development department.

My new job is not only an amazing career opportunity; this move will put me closer to family — an imperative since I had a child in 2013. Fans of Teenage Kicks should rest assured that they'll still wake up Saturdays to the retro music they love: the show will continue with a different voice (Jim McGuinn's, for now). On Saturday, April 25, I'll bid you farewell with two hours of my favorite Kicks-era songs.

I'll miss friends and MPR colleagues. I'll miss my favorite restaurants and music venues, biking on the greenway, the excitement of Rock the Garden, hunkering down in winter. I'll even miss snow (but not ice; I will never miss you, icy sidewalks).

Most of all, there are two things I'll forever sing the praises of when it comes to Minnesota: the amazing support and passion its citizens show for public radio, and its warm, inclusive music scene, which has always embraced newcomers and non-Minnesotans. Know that Minnesota music, old and new, has a very vocal new cheerleader, deep in the heart of Texas.


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