A familiar name in the Minnesota music scene is taking over the afternoon time slot that used to belong to the most familiar voice at Minnesota Public Radio’s rock station 89.3 the Current.
Jessica Paxton, a regional radio veteran who also works as a venue talent booker, will take over the 2-6 p.m. weekday shift at the Current. She already has been serving as a part-time on-air host at the station for a year.
Paxton’s hiring for the afternoon shift comes a year after the Current’s best-loved DJ, Mary Lucia, quit the station after a final on-air shift conspicuously highlighted by a spinning of Margo Price’s equal-pay anthem “Pay Gap.” Now a columnist at the alt-weekly newspaper/news site Dispatch, Lucia raised concerns of “equity and fair treatment” for women at the Current upon exiting.
With Paxton’s addition to the full-time slot, the Current’s regular weekday shifts are now entirely run by women, including morning host Jill Riley, midday jockey Jade Tittle (also the station’s music director) and nighttime presenter Ayisha Jaffer.
Paxton called her new gig her “dream job.”
“I love music and being able to share what I love with listeners,” she said. “I’ve been a supporter and member of the Current since its inception, and I’m so excited for this opportunity with this incredible team that shares my same passion for bringing great music to this community.”
Among her part-time duties at the Current, Paxton took over the Saturday morning Gen-X-retro show “Teenage Kicks” from former program director Jim McGuinn, who was let go from the station minutes after Lucia’s final shift ended. McGuinn now serves as assistant program director at the kindred station WXPN in Philadelphia.
Alongside her Current stint, Paxton also has been serving as a talent buyer at the Parkway Theater in south Minneapolis. She served a similar role at venues in Northfield for more than a decade while also working as a drive-time host at the college town’s own independent radio station, KYMN.
In both her radio and booking roles, she was known to be an especially avid supporter of Americana/folk/alt-twang artists, much like one of the Current’s o.g. DJs, Bill DeVille.
“Jessica’s passion for music and ability to connect with people jumps out of the radio every time she’s on air,” said Lindsay Kimball, program director at The Current.
Paxton is due to begin her new role on April 10.