In their second major move in less than a week, the Minnesota Twins are planning to move their radio broadcasts from KTWN (96.3 FM) to Minnesota Public Radio's alternative/indie-rock station The Current (89.3 FM).
"We know it's sudden, but we really wanted to focus on attracting the local trendsetters, scenesters and disaffected white kids who can't get enough of bands with ukuleles and that one Lumineers song, the one with all the ‘Heys' and ‘Hos' and whatnot," said team president Dave St. Peter. "We're looking to build a buzz around the team, and this is the direction we're going."
The sudden switch comes as a shock to almost all local media observers, coming as it does mere days after the Twins moved from ESPN1500 AM to the Pohlad-owned KTWN.
"This type of thing is unprecedented. It's stunning, to be honest," said David Brauer, media reporter for MinnPost.com, a general-interest lifestyle website for South Minneapolis baristas.
"We're aware that it's quite an about-face," said St. Peter. "But the fact is the Pohlads control both the Twins and 96.3, so they call the shots. And I know Jim (Pohlad) said he just wants to hear (British-born Current DJ) Mark Wheat say ‘Darin Mastroianni' and ‘Samuel Deduno' in that amazing accent of his."
Twins announcers Cory Provus and Dan Gladden, along with studio host Kris Atteberry, will maintain their roles with the club, but the team says that they will integrate the station's on-air talent into the team's broadcasts.
"We'd be foolish not to utilize the on-air talent at the station," said St. Peter. He added that there were plans in the works to have afternoon-drive mainstay Mary Lucia do a pre-game show with Ron Gardenhire. "I don't think she's much of a sports fan, but admit it: you would listen to those two talk about anything. She'd ask him about the post-Brian Eno Roxy Music albums, he'd be dumbfounded, then they'd talk about dogs for 10 minutes."
Current music director Jim McGuinn said this isn't the first time the station has crossed paths with the Twins.
"A couple years back, this guy kept calling in and recommending these really out-there bands that, like, Pitchfork or Stereogum hadn't even mentioned," said McGuinn. "Finally, Mac (Wilson, Current DJ) took one of the calls, and he could hear baseball chatter and batted balls in the background, so he just asked as a joke if it was Kevin Slowey. Guy on the other end says, ‘Yep, that's me. You guys should play more Cut Copy. You probably haven't heard of ‘em, but they're on the Modular label out of Australia. Got a real nice electropop vibe.' And he hung up."
The team says that no further changes are anticipated, but St. Peter left the door open for future moves. "I was in line at Dogwood Coffee, and the guys in front of me were complaining about how The Current was too rigidly formatted and how they just listened to KFAI (90.3 FM) and Marc Maron podcasts now. They were wearing ironic Crocs, so we definitely have to pay attention to what they're saying."