by Todd O'Dowd
Last month, when long-time local radio mainstay Brian Oake announced he was leaving his morning show gig on Cities 97, many local culture watchers (including our own music writer Jon Hunt) wondered aloud what his next move would be.
Well, far be it from us to gloat but we totally called it!
In an announcement released this morning, it was revealed that Mr. Oake will be the new co-host in a rebooted version of The Current’s Morning Show, joining current Morning Show host Jill Riley starting March 7 (when she presumably returns from maternity leave). Mr. Oake will be replacing Morning Show co-host Sean McPherson, who will be moving on to serve as host of Saturday night’s Radio Free Current. Mr. Oake will be heard on the Current on Fridays 2-6pm and at various other times prior to his official debut in March.
“It’s hard to describe the exact feeling I’m trying to convey, but I feel like The Current comes closer to exemplifying everything I’ve ever wanted out of radio than any other station I’ve known,” said Mr. Oake in the announcement. “I’m so thrilled to join this station and its staff, and to become a part of the proud, passionate family of listeners and supporters.”
“Brian is smart, funny and enthusiastic about morning radio,” said Ms. Riley. “He’s also a total music geek and I’m stoked to have him as my new on-air partner. This is going to be fun and I can’t wait to launch the new show with Brian.”
While this is not the most surprising news (for it had been a lingering rumor ever since the news broke of his leaving Cities 97), it is welcome news indeed. After all, his resume in town is legendary; from his morning stints at Radio K, REV 105, and Zone 105, to his 17 year tenure at Cities 97, culminating in his Morning Show with singer/songwriter Keri Noble being that station’s most popular show. Additionally, this continues a streak of good news for the St. Paul radio station, coming as it does on the eve of Andrea Swenson taking over The Local Show. More importantly, this brings some stability to the Current’s morning slot, which has been slightly off since the departure of original co-host Steve Seel earlier this year. To quote our Jon Hunt:
… I can’t promise that Oake and Riley will have chemistry, of course. But an Oake/Riley pairing does a couple of things. Firstly, it brings Oake back to an audience that loved him when he was at Rev but didn’t want to listen to Imagine Dragons ten times a day. And frankly, Oake’s indie sensibility is on fleek — he was kind of wasted on a station like Cities to begin with, knowing his taste as I do (or think I do). And secondly, it gives Jill Riley a more challenging partner to play off of. The jovial but boring tete-a-tete she has with McPherson will have to go by the wayside as she’s forced to play against someone with as much personality as she has, which I can only imagine will bring out the best in her. If nothing else, maybe there’ll be some great musical arguments. And Oake has to be better at coming up with “coffee break” topics, right? (Better idea: ditch the “coffee break” altogether).
Congratulations Mr. Oake and we are counting down the days till March 7.
Photo Credit: Nate Ryan for The Current