Surprise news out of Minnesota Public Radio HQ today. 89.3 the Current program director Jim McGuinn posted a blog this afternoon stating that DJ David Campbell, a fixture at the station since 2007, had resigned "effective immediately."
Campbell "decided to move on and explore other opportunities," writes McGuinn, adding, "I know we'll all miss spending our Saturday nights with him. We are grateful for his many contributions to The Current and wish him well in his next chapter."
Known for his easygoing, cool-cat demeanor, Campbell, 40, served as host of The Local Show and Radio Free Current. New Hot host David Safar will fill in as temporary host of The Local Show; MPR and the Current will announce plans for the future soon.
City Pages caught up with Campbell by phone late Friday afternoon. For almost two years, he says he struggled to maintain hosting and production duties on The Local Show following the departure of producer Jon Schober, putting in "ungodly amounts of time to keep up."
Two months ago, Campbell sought the help of a specialist who discovered brain injuries, possibly ones stemming from childhood concussions, impairing his executive functions. The specialist found his IQ to be very high, but processing speeds to be low. Campbell says the Current was accommodating following the diagnosis, but, ultimately, his role with the station was not manageable.
"The Current has been really great working with me. I just still haven’t been able to do the organizational stuff," Campbell says. "My on-air hosting stuff was limited because of the accommodations. The thing I want to do most is host. When that’s all I’m focusing on it, it’s really easy. But multitasking for me is like you trying to do 10 things at once.
"I’ve been failing at this going on two years. It’s frustrating for them; it’s frustrating for me. All I wanted to do was be [exclusively] a host on the Current, and that work was not available. They spent so much time on it, they stuck with me longer than I would have stuck with me. I’m thankful they stuck with me. It’s a fucking dream job you know? But it was also making me miserable. I couldn’t fail anymore. I need to find a job that works out for me."
Campbell's Local Show, which served as huge booster to Twin Cities bands at all levels of the music scene, won our Best Local Music Broadcast award two years ago. Previously, he worked at Twin Cities radio stations KQRS and Drive 105. Campbell spoke openly and powerfully last year about his battles with addiction. He was also a member of the delightfully cheesy Electric Light Orchestra tribute band E.L.nO.
Campbell says he's unsure of his next career move, but that he will absolutely stay in town ("Twin Cities forever," he added).
It's been a rough year at American Public Media, owner of MPR and the Current. In July, APM laid off nine employees and canceled Wits, its millennial-geared syndicated variety show. The Current fired DJ Barb Abney, a listener favorite, in January; DJ Mary Lucia went on temporary leave of absence in April after being stalked by a listener; Morning Show host Steve Seel, citing health concerns, took a three-month leave from the station, returning in June.